John L. Lewis (1880-1969), a powerful head of the United Mine Workers, said in 1940 that there are two great material tasks in life. The first is to achieve or acquire something of value or something that is desirable… The second task is to prevent someone or something from taking it away from you.
Lewis’ second task means adopting a defensive battle position. Economics, law and politics are all brutal facets of human warfare. After attaining economic victory on the offensive battlefront, it’s time to focus on defense.
The first of Lewis’ tasks is acquiring the good life. Building something desirable or valuable is not just about financial wealth (although it starts with that). There are more important good things in life. A close, success-oriented family, a strong mind and fit body, a creative outlet or developed artistic skill, athletic achievement or expert knowledge at something interesting and, of course, the psychological well-being of not needing to worry about making ends meet, which enables a focus on self-actualizing, not just survival. Once one has achieved this valuable sense of agency, he or she must be vigilant of threats to it.
Excessive taxes, burdensome regulation, economic volatility and political instability are threats to the good life. What happened in the presidential election was the “unprotected people of America, who have to live with Washington’s policies, rebelled against the protected, who make and defend those policies and who care little if at all about the unprotected”. Peggy Noonan, The Wall Street Journal 11/12/16. Policies that favor and pander to the weak, vulnerable or powerless, to the detriment of the strong and secure, have been suspended for a while.
When growing segments of the population are painted as victims (the poor, blacks, Muslims, homosexuals, immigrants, transgendered, etc.), then a victimizer is required; and by process of elimination, it’s financially secure white people – heirs to the hereditary aristocracy. They are tired of being painted as oppressors and just want to be left alone, not unduly judged and saddled with the financial and emotional burden of past injustices.
Our political economy is pushing back hard against Leftist progressivism. Trump and Brexit are just the most recent changes in everyone’s economic battle position. Keep safe and secure while the war rages on by stocking your War Chest with assets and awareness. And don’t let the media, politicians or progressive thinkers make you feel guilty about it. Give thanks this Thursday for accomplishing Lewis’ first material task and then go to work Monday on the second task of defending it. Happy Thanksgiving from the Estate Planning War Chest.