City Journal Winter 2016

Current Issue:

Winter 2016
Table of Contents
Tablet Editions
Click to visit City Journal California

Readers’ Comments

Stefan Kanfer
The ABC’s of Self-Reliance « Back to Story

View Comments (14)

Add New Comment:

To send your message, please enter the words you see in the distorted image below, in order and separated by a space, and click "Submit." If you cannot read the words below, please click here to receive a new challenge.

Comments will appear online. Please do not submit comments containing advertising or obscene language. Comments containing certain content, such as URLs, may not appear online until they have been reviewed by a moderator.

Showing 14 Comment(s) Subscribe by RSS
so is there a difference now that Obama is in charge? There are still wars and more wars
As much as I agree with the idea of the article, some of the names the author referenced kind of shocked me.
John F. Kennedy was born into one of the most politically connected and wealthy families of his era; Bill Gates was born into a very wealthy family in Seattle and went to a very upscale private school where he met Paul Allen (the real genius behind Microsoft) then went to Harvard. He never tinkered in a garage.
Good article--not very good references
Social Security was meant to prevent old people from becoming destitute for what was, essentially, the last five years of their lives - not a 20 year gravy train.
Alena Hromádková November 15, 2011 at 9:32 AM
Non-Communists in Central/Eastern European countries had more or less to relay on their private sources - especially those who were defranchised.
Paradoxically,the global crisis strengthened the fighting spirit of the hard working housewifes and grandparents.Vegetable gardens are flourishing again as well as market of the war and pre-war cooking recipes.Our parents survived stalinism, my generation had to digest and overcome socialism with the human face and the new generation has also to expect a wave of trials and unwanted experiences.C´est la vie, ici...
I believe in American tradition of persistency and courage to cope with the unpredictable circumstances.
Best wishes
Alena Hromádková, Prague
Ah, a primer on independence and self-reliance from a think tank owing its existence to massive corporate subsidy...
"... it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America."

Did he mean the one that has existed in America for the 200+ years before he got into office?
Let me get this straight: are you telling me that the Apollo astronauts did it all on their own? No government money involved? Don't think so....
Its a stretch to link the highly selective list of historic events in this piece with what its like to be poor and out of work in the USA now. In any case, whilst these events were taking place people were dying from starvation, violence and disease. On the whole it was Government intervention (and funding) that made these manageable - it still is. One of the unforeseen and unwelcome side effects of welfare-ism has been the creation of a dependency culture for some people, but the challenge for the politics behind this article is getting the balance between self-reliance and selfishness right.

The achievement list could also include - "I wanted your land, so I shot you" - "I wanted to get rich, so I farmed my land until the wind blew it away."
Omit "John F. Kennedy".
Admittedly, his father, an aggressive self reliant sort who emerged from a saloon keeping background which later morphed into bootlegging Scotch whisky, I believe it was, about the "wicked dollar"...from Canada during Prohibition, moved himself by gritty and robust social climbing to be named "Ambassador to the Court of St James" and who then evolved into being pro-Nazi and was, I believe, recalled by Franklin Roosevelt because he (Joe Kennedy)had become an embarassment to the United States.
Now, his son John, "St." John, by later accumulating press accounts, is certainly no exemplar of "bootstraps-self-reliance" by becoming President, partially it is alleged, because his father purchased the key votes in West Virginia.
City Journal has been done no favor by including any of these Kennedys in such company as those others mentioned here.
Not an issue.

We live in a permissive society, and ABC is fed and supported by interests who benefit by the slackness and self-absorption of its remaining audience.

Since 87% of the populace thinks the solution to the current situation is to try and tax the prosperous 12% who already pay over 70% of all taxes, it is unlikely that any solution can emerge from ELECTED representatives.

The self-reliant outlook is to find ways to bet against these entitlement addicts, and anyone stupid enough to agree with them. Not to get into pointless arguments, since the best surety of trading success is trading against idiots, instead of engaging in dialog with them.
It is nothing less than bizarre that ABC would take “self-reliance” and its connotation of the virtue of individual gumption, know-how and courage and spin into an upside-down vice. And even if being self-reliant is a bit painful at times, it is the pain that accompanies growth and real change. The English language is having enough trouble trying to survive the lightning- fast revolution wrought by texting and other necessary and abbreviated electronic communication. Please don’t hasten its disfigurement and death.
Kanfer has hit it right..self reliance as a virtue...and an encouragement to better things.
Yes, the media needs a kick in the camera for it's simplistic exploitations of classic concepts.
Wonderful piece. But when you write "None of these history-makers was seeking a federal handout," I think it only fair to point out that Morse, at least, was, in fact, seeking a federal handout. That said, back in his day it took an almost superhuman diligence to get money out of the federal government.