I worry that we assume that somehow because someone won the jackpot to become a billionaire that they must somehow have enormous wisdom and value, whereas someone like my dad who worked hard but never struck it big has little wisdom or value.
It is almost as if we have a cult of success going on — that somehow anyone who makes it must both be deserving and somehow extraordinary (beyond of course luck and money).
After the Depression and WWII there was a sense that everyone had value, not just the people with so-called great ideas or great wealth. My feeling is we need to gain that middle ground again otherwise the unspoken assumption is that of Social Darwinism. I’ll repeat this line from Billy Bragg again:
“Just because you’re better than me, doesn’t mean I’m lazy.”
Finally, while “rags to riches” does happen in America, when I jokingly asked my best friend what mistake I had made that I wasn’t rich, his answer while perhaps not 100% accurate was relevant: “You made the mistake of being born in the wrong family.” What percentage that contributes to most success I leave the audience to figure out, but I think we conveniently forget just how much of a factor it still is. Sure maybe we are not born on 3rd thinking we hit a triple, but we were at least born on one of the bases.