Ben Kinchlow


by Ben Kinchlow

paradox \Par`a*dox\, n.; pl. Paradoxes. [F. paradoxe, L. paradoxum, fr. Gr. ?; ? beside, beyond, contrary to + ? to think, suppose, imagine. See Para-, and Dogma.] A tenet or proposition contrary to received opinion; an assertion or sentiment seemingly contradictory, or opposed to common sense; that which in appearance or terms is absurd, but yet may be true in fact.

On a major television program, a paradox. Two women about the same age, same build, same racial characteristics, almost the same coloring, were giving their opinions in response to the question? "America, number one?"

The premise of the program was whether or not America could legitimately be called the number one country in the world. A reporter examined all the major elements that would qualify a country. Its climate, natural resources, population size, religious attitudes, fiscal resources, opportunities, as well as its attitudes toward its people. Poverty, racism, gender, and age discrimination were all included in this comprehensive look at most of the "major" countries in the world. He interviewed people on the street, politicians, immigrants, and business people.

It is interesting to note that only two countries had long lists of people waiting to get in. Many had waiting list of people wanting out. Hong Kong, because of its proximity to China and its incredibly wealthy population in general (more Rolls Royces than any other country in the world), had a long waiting list. America, of course, led with more people wanting in than any other country, hands down. Note?.. there is no waiting list for people wanting out of the United States.

People from China, the Philippines, India, Japan, London, and Paris were all interviewed as to whether or not they would prefer to live in their own country or America. The response amazed me. To a man and woman, they all preferred to live in the United States. None wanted to return, and all of them were extremely critical of the attitude of their governments toward individuals and especially businesses.

Young entrepreneurs in particular lauded the American "can do" mentality, where "nothing is impossible". In their home countries, bureaucrats blocked the doors of opportunity. Only Hong Kong made it easier to go into business than America. It is no accident that Hong Kong has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Socialist countries have the least number of entrepreneurs, the highest number of regulatory agencies, the most moribund bureaucracy, and are suffering a brain drain. Citizens from each country represented came to America and became inordinately successful, after being denied the opportunity to pursue exactly those same goals at home.

America is, indeed, the land of opportunity, the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and people risk their lives, and leave their families and homeland, just for the chance to live in America. A man who was a soccer judge, a professor, and a respected professional in his country has gladly become a gardener in this one. Why? Because America offers freedom. The one overriding consideration for all the people interviewed was? "America offers liberty, freedom to pursue your dreams." No guarantees, only the freedom to pursue your dreams. Just as the founding fathers envisioned. "?. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness".

Remember the two ladies at the beginning? Both ladies just happened to be black. One lived here all her life, the other was trying to get her husband here. The one who lived here said, "America sucks, if England would take me, I?d leave tomorrow." The other said, "I love America! It?s the only place in the world where you can start off poor, and end up a Princess."