Albertans prefer self-reliance to government reliance
Rick Strankman MLA, Drumheller Stettler
Member of the Official Opposition United Conservative Party
In 1965 the great American radio broadcaster Paul Harvey, delivered one of his greatest and most prophetic commentaries entitled, “Freedom to Chains.” In this 53-year-old historical piece, he points out that through history citizens have been led to believe that they should trade their freedom for security, something that inevitably will always link itself to higher taxation by the state.
Harvey relates the story of what he calls the “Pioneer creed: “I believe in God, my country and myself.” That acted as inspiration for early settlers to North America. These guiding principles were all the incentive they needed as they set out with no security into a vast unknown territory. These courageous settlers clearly were not looking for someone else to look after them; they were only looking for the incentive to seek what they saw as an opportunity. They didn’t demand anything; they saw only the optimism of the situation and set out to grasp what they saw as an opportunity that lay in front of them.
In his 12-minute broadcast, he traces the history of escalating taxation and the role it played in the devastation of the once great civilizations in China, Spain, Greece, and the Roman Empire. He makes the connection and explains how these civilizations succumbed to the lure of security through taxation, a security that they ultimately never achieved. They didn’t want opportunity, they wanted security, and the government gave them chains, and they were secure!
Incentive for individual achievement isn’t fostered by government providing anything other than the opportunity to realize a person’s abilities and full potential. One of the most tragic things in life is unexplored potential and ability. Without that incentive to explore an opportunity, unfortunately these things are all too often wasted.
The recent Alberta NDP budget has further diminished any incentive, by moving further down the path towards government reliance that eliminates opportunity, as the burden of Alberta’s record debt mounts. A tried and true principle is that debt has never been conducive to providing opportunity, which in turn, limits the investor incentive required to ultimately create opportunities.
Albertans had a lot in common with the early pioneers who set out with little more than an opportunity and a wagon loaded with incentive. History has shown that the people of Alberta will, when given the incentive, use the freedom of opportunity to create their own security and provide for themselves. Further continuation of the NDP insistence of an increased tax burden will only serve to escalate a downward cycle that will seriously deter any incentive towards self-reliance.
There’s no disputing the fact that some principles are timeless when it comes to being successful; principles that will undoubtedly always apply. A key principle on the road to success relates to being proactive, you can wait for opportunities to pop up in life. Or, you can go out there and create your own opportunities. The latter is definite and much more empowering.
Like principles, Albertan’s desire to be self-reliant will never change, but in order to be self reliant, incentive has to exist.