Editor’s note: The following is excerpted from Eric Bolling’s new book, “Wake Up America: The Nine Virtues That Made Our Nation Great–and Why We Need Them More Than Ever” (St. Martin’s Press, June 28, 2016). It is reprinted with permission.
(1.) mental toughness and courage
(1.) an archaic descriptor denoting male-chauvinist microag- gression in the form of an oppressive, traditionalist/individualist approach to adversity
(2.) a hardness of character that renders individuals unsuitable members of a progressive, collectivist society
—A Leftist’s definition
If your determination is fixed, I do not counsel you to despair. Few things are impossible to diligence and skill. Great works are performed not by strength, but perseverance.
— Samuel Johnson
I hate the question, “What’s the secret of your success?” There is no secret to being successful. Ask anybody who is successful and they will say some version of the same thing—perseverance, mental toughness, or my personal favorite: grit.
Grit is getting up again and again after being knocked down to continue the fight. Grit is going over, around, or straight through obstacles to reach your goals—no matter how much it hurts to do so. Grit is the power to try, fail, and rebuild your- self in a nation of endless possibilities. Grit is the soul of the American spirit.
But in our society, we value grit less every day. Thanks to radical Leftists, the liberal media, and collectivist stalwarts teach- ing our kids at all educational levels, “grit” is no longer consid- ered an essential component of success—or of the American character. We value our personal security and our personal liberty, but they’re not the same thing. Sometimes, the freedoms we enjoy under personal liberty can shake the foundations of our personal security.
Here’s the thing: to be gritty and tough, you have to take risks, and by definition with risk comes the possibility of failure—a lack of security. The grit comes in when you fail, get back up, dust yourself off, and keep trying, as many times as it takes for you to get the job done. That’s why grit is such an essential component of the American character. We’ve always been a men- tally tough people—because we had to be. You can’t survive slavery or brave weeks on a rickety ship on the Atlantic with- out some serious grit, folks.
Grit, however, is anathema to liberals. Gritty, free-thinking citizens are harder to control. Oh, sure, liberals love to spout happy talk about perseverance and the American Dream, but they are doing everything they can to make sure there is only one path to this dream: through the government. What they don’t realize is that if the government is the way, it actually isn’t the American Dream anymore. Because the American Dream is about building something for yourself, not about being handed something by someone else, especially not a bloated, inefficient, deck-stacking government.
Liberals, by nature, just aren’t comfortable with risk. The dirty little secret of liberalism is that, at least in today’s form, it’s not liberal at all. Liberals don’t want “liberty.” They can’t handle the messiness of real democracy in a dynamic republic. Instead of allowing individual citizens to pave their own way in life, liberals want a bunch of technocratic “experts” to decide what is best for the rest of us.
So, it is very much in the Left’s interests for the citizenry to be soft, docile, and obedient. That’s why liberals have spent decades putting forth what I sometimes call the “softness doctrine,” which tells Americans that the ideal person is conformist, collectivist, and in need of government assistance in nearly every aspect of life.
Think of the 2012 Obama campaign’s “Life of Julia” nonsense as the perfect example. This slideshow tells the life story of the fictional cartoon character “Julia” and how she benefited from a benevolent government literally from cradle to grave.1
It’s also perfect nonsense. Do you think it was an accident that the Obama team created a cartoon to tell this story? It’s fitting that the tale is told in the same media form as a Disney fairy tale, because Julia’s life is just as much a fantasy as Cinderella’s or Snow White’s. It’s the Joe Camel of political advertisements.
This is how they spread the “softness doctrine.” Our govern- ment, media, and academia are brainwashing all of us—especially our kids—into being mushy blobs of fragile self-esteem, all in the name of “progressivism.”
As they do with masculinity itself, today’s liberals treat grit like an anachronism from a time when people hadn’t evolved enough to live in the progressive paradise that they believe is just around every corner. Grit is unnecessary. You don’t have to be mentally tough, because if you have a problem, a supposedly benevolent government will take care of it for you—and take care of you.
While this cotton candy philosophy may make sense to sopho- moric college students and sheltered media elites, those of us who have fought in the trenches of our own lives, the global economy, and the nation’s politics know better. You can’t save everyone, and when you try to do so, you end up doing much more harm than good.
This isn’t just a social problem—though it most certainly is that—it is also an economic and national security problem. Do you think China and Russia will sit back and let us continue to be the most powerful nation in the world once we’re too soft to fight for market share—or even our homeland?
As a nation, we need to toughen up, stop whining, and get to work.
Eric Bolling currently serves as co-host of Fox News Channel’s “The Five” (weekdays 5-6PM/ET). He also serves as the host of “Cashin’ In” (Saturdays 11:30AM-12PM/ET), an analysis program on FNC’s weekend business block, “The Cost of Freedom.” Bolling joined the network in 2008. Click here for more information on Eric Bolling.