The following is an excerpt, Chapter 2, from my new book — Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement
“In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
Ronald Reagan was the president of the United States the year I was born. The Berlin Wall fell when I was 2 years old. As I grew older, world affairs continued as did the news cycle. It all ran on a consistent theme: The sky is falling, but don’t worry, we’re here to save you.
After Reagan, we had Clinton. Then we had the Clinton scandal. Next came Bush and the Iraq War. After that was the “hope” campaign by Barack Obama. And this book was published in January 2020, so you know who the president is now.
Why am I bringing all of this up? The experiences of my life were mostly colored by my upbringing, circumstances, decisions, relationships, and important moments, not geopolitics and the events on the news.
The media, politicians, advertisers, basically all the institutions that pull your psychological puppet strings, want you to feel like you have no responsibility for your life. The end goal is to make sure that you have no autonomy and falsely believe your fate belongs to someone other than yourself. And we’ve taken the bait.
Look at our current discourse. Is it about upward mobility, personal responsibility, self-education, and agency over our own lives?
No. It’s about social justice taken to the extreme, choosing the right politician to save us, railing against the institutions of our society, and placing the blame everywhere else except ourselves. I saw a picture of a park filled with a bunch of littered picket signs. They were from youth protestors who came to “combat climate change.” It’s gotten to the point where simply acting like you care suffices. You don’t have to practice what you preach at all.
This isn’t to say social justice isn’t important. There are plenty of political movements that have succeeded in improving the lives of everyday citizens, like the suffrage and civil rights…