As I pointed out last Saturday, a tiny faction of Missouri conservatives prefers Missouri’s pathetic status quo to true leadership and positive change. Those people apparently approve of Missouri’s horrible economy, weak schools, and declining stature in the country. And nowhere does Missouri’s decline stand out like San Diego, California.
Last week, I spent a few days bumming around San Diego with my son. He is stationed there in the US Navy. Almost every block in downtown San Diego has a sidewalk closed for construction. New buildings are going up. Old buildings are being renovated. It’s like a city coming to life.
I saw the same rejuvenation in Chicago and Atlanta in recent weeks. A constant turmoil of growing into the future. A never-ending rebirth of these cities. Signs of life that are completely absent in the greater St. Louis area. Completely absent in St. Louis.
Sure, St. Louis has spots of construction, mostly funded by huge federal government projects. But there’s no competition for space in St. Louis. None. Even in the city’s most exciting neighborhoods, vacancy abounds.
Democrats who’ve run St. Louis since the Depression deserve most of the blame for the city’s ruin. And those Democrats deserve some blame for the state’s decline. But Democrat incompetence alone isn’t enough to destroy a once-great city like St. Louis. Those Democrats needed help from crony Republicans.
Missouri ranks 47th out of 51 (including DC) in economic growth according to Business Insider. Missouri ranks 49th in education. St. Louis is one of the most dangerous cities in the world, especially if you’re black. And that’s not because of police—that crime is because of the destruction of families. And the family is decaying because our government and our society have replaced meaningful work with meaningless subsistence.
Eric Greitens’s formula for renewing Missouri is the same formula he used to renew veterans through The Mission Continues, a charity he founded. That formula can be reduced to two simple ideas as old as philosophy:
- Good intentions do not compensate for bad results.
- People need meaning and purpose, not just food and shelter.
Intentions vs. Results
In his masterpiece on living, Resilience, Greitens described the problem of our “morality of intentions” perfectly:
The “morality of intentions”— which would measure our goodness in terms of what we hope to accomplish rather than what we actually accomplish— tells us that our thoughts and feelings count for something in their own right. It’s an appealing philosophy to those who exist, or want to exist, in a world of pure thought or feeling.
But it can also be a selfish kind of morality. It elevates the helper above the one who should be helped. It says, “What matters is the fact that I have the right opinions, not what good my opinions do in the world. What matters is what I hope or intend, not what you deserve or receive.” In fact, a morality of intentions— even the best intentions— can distort your view of the world in a way that leads to great harm.
Greitens witnessed the great harm of good intentions with his own eyes. In Bosnia, the United Nations, with the best of intentions, herded orphaned children into large resettlement camps. These camps became magnets for the lowest child-abusers in the region. Plus, these camps encouraged parents to abandon their children, just as Obama’s open borders for children encouraged Central American parents to ship their babies to Texas.
The road to child molestation is paved with good intentions. Greitens knows that, and he’s determined to demand excellent results for Missouri. Greitens, like you, knows that good intentions are never enough.
Meaningful work is more important than money. Far more. Money without work leads to every type of social problem, from drug abuse to crime. And this money for nothing is at the heart of St. Louis’s and Missouri’s problems.
Greitens explained the intrinsic value of work in his book Resilience:
Maybe you’ve heard this saying: What you work on, works on you. People are shaped by what they do. People who do work that hurts understand this: ask a roofer about his forearms; ask a waitress about her feet. But the work we do has an effect on our minds and our souls as well. A good writer will become more finely attuned to the way people use words. A good rabbi will learn to recognize pain before people say a word.
If your “work” involves watching television or swiping through Facebook, what will your work make of you? Many people in Missouri, and especially in St. Louis, are idle. They receive subsistence allowance from our great wealth and generosity. But our generosity ruins them. The work the world does on their souls eats away the meaning and purpose of their lives.
Greitens is a man of great compassion, but he recognizes compassion often demands emotionally painful action. When we increase benefits to able-bodied unemployed people, we hurt those people but we feel better about ourselves. That’s not compassion; it’s selfishness.
Missouri Needs Eric Greitens
That tiny remnant of conservatives who oppose Eric Greitens are selfish. Think about it. We are on the verge of making Missouri great again—with a conservative philosopher and Navy SEAL as governor, Jay Ashcroft as Secretary of State, Josh Hawley as Attorney General, Eric Schmitt as Treasurer, and Republican super-majorities in both Houses of the legislature. Missouri is poised to zoom from 47th to at least 24th. History has conspired with us to Make Missouri Great Again.
Yet these remnants want to keep Missouri miserable? Why? Why would those selfish conservatives do that? Because they’re afraid they won’t get the credit?
So let’s fix that.
All the great things that will happen to Missouri when we elect Eric Greitens Governor are the result of hard work by grassroots conservatives for decades. You built that Republican majority. You knocked the doors and made the calls. You donated your hard-earned pay to candidates you believed in. And all that work is about culminate in the kind of state you’ve always wanted to live in.
Now, go support Eric Greitens and the rest of the Republican ticket. Happy days are here again.
If you need to know more about Eric, please read Resilience. And share it with someone you know who needs hope.
Also published on Medium.