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Drew Hastings Guest columnist

Drew Hastings Guest columnist

Let me just jump right in — it’s obvious that we no longer live in an America that’s conducive to success. I don’t mean that the overall economic climate is quashing success, I mean that the cultural climate is killing it. And when I say success, I mean the kind that hardworking people strive for, that usually entails moving up a ladder toward something they have set as a goal. You might define that as The American Dream.

The American Dream is generally defined as the aspirational belief in the U.S. that all individuals are entitled to the opportunity for economic prosperity and upward social mobility through hard work. Achieving those things is called success.

To me, it’s obvious that we no longer live in an America that’s conducive to that success. It’s not the economic climate that’s quashed it, that’s a temporary situation. What is killing the ability of Americans to succeed is an orchestrated plan designed to kill the very concept of excellence in America.

Let me illustrate by giving you one example: pooling tips. This is the policy where all the waitresses at a given restaurant dump all of their tips at the end of the night in a big pile, then divide it up evenly between all of them. Any hardworking waitress will tell you that they hate working anywhere that has a policy of pooling tips because the restaurant takes her money and gives a chunk of it to the slacker waitress who comes in to work late and gets high out back by the dumpster on her break. Or, if I want to be more warm and fuzzy, I could simply say that the hardworking waitress who is saving to buy a house is forced to share her tips with a waitress who has no such ambitions, and thus works at a pace more conducive to her laidback demeanor.

And yes, I’m aware that waitresses “tip out” back of house workers and busboys, but that gets into a whole separate discussion. Anyway, our hardworking waitress gets discouraged because this pooling tips policy has essentially thrown a set of spike strips down in front of her work ethic. She ends up quitting. The new servers that the restaurant hires are attracted by this pooling tips policy, and customers drop off because the servers no longer have any real incentive to perform, and the restaurant ultimately closes down. To many of you, that cycle of downward performance brings lots of examples to mind, like school choice — an issue that leftist culture hates because it essentially turns a school into a version of our hardworking waitress described above — schools become competitive and accountable to those they serve.

I’m not a policy expert or political know-it-all. I’m just a guy from Ohio, but I know what I can see from here and connect the dots over the years. So, why would the Ruling Culture want to kill the idea of excellence? Simple — because the ideology of the Democratic Party assumes that for every person succeeding, someone else is being deprived. In their mind, the idea of someone working hard and getting ahead must mean that someone else is being harmed, even if that simply means that the “harm” is that person feeling bad about themselves.

Of course, whatever aspect of excellence has not been reined in by policy, mandate, or legislation, is finished off by the enforcement tool, that favorite tool of the dominant culture — political correctness.

The extermination of achievement, excellence and accomplishment in America is being achieved on a scale far bigger than my simple waitress example. You will never see the words achievement or excellence anywhere in the leftist handbook, just as you will seldom see the word individual, because the concept of the individual needs to be abolished, for if there are no individuals then how can excellence be measured in someone?

But I’m getting way ahead of myself and frankly coming off as a little paranoid making a case that there’s a plot to eliminate the very idea of American individualism. That’s absurd. To accomplish an idea that crazy, you’d have to cover every single American’s face with a mask or something.

Drew Hastings is a former Hillsboro mayor, a longtime standup comedian, a new dad, and sometimes farmer. Follow him on substack at:

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