In case you missed it on Glenn Beck radio, comedic podcaster Adam Carolla put the Occupy Wall Street movement in its place in unforgettable fashion. This is indispensable audio just as Leon Cooperman’s open letter to President Obama is required reading — for both very similar and very different reasons.
First, the fundamental similarity: Both Carolla and Cooperman invite the United States (Carolla addressing the OWS protesters, Cooperman addressing the president) to be again what it once was — not merely a land of opportunity, but a land in which ordinary people rejoice at the opportunity of others and seek not to tear down but to build up. Both Carolla and Cooperman expose the corrosive and corrupting influence of envy, which, as C.S. Lewis once said of pride, “gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man.” Perhaps the better way to phrase it would be to say envy “gets no pleasure out of having something unless it was first had by and then taken from the next man.” Both Carolla and Cooperman prophesy the inevitable outcome of an envy-eaten society — an impoverished economy and culture, in which no one is so prosperous as he could be.
Now, the fundamental difference: Whereas Cooperman conveys a tone of stern and sober disappointment, Carolla sinks all-too-often into crass-and-brash. But the disparate styles reveal that, whoever the messenger, whatever the method of delivery, truth is truth. And the truth is, both the president and the Occupy Wall Street protesters have bought into the lie that success is a zero-sum game, that the more someone else has of it, the less another can achieve. But, in the United States at least, there need not be a limit to how much we accomplish in the way of creating prosperity and a rich, supportive culture.
Without further ado, I give you Adam Carolla (just don’t listen to this at work … or, if you insist, click the clean version instead).