Allen West: The Fallacy of the Participation Trophy 

by Allen West for Townhall:

I was in Pittsburgh last week to speak and was bunked down at the historic Duquesne Club downtown. Thursday morning I awoke for a morning run and headed to the riverfront trail. I headed past the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates, who the evening prior had defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks, then past Heinz Field, home of the Steelers. I went on down along the Ohio River and decided to turn around at Peggy’s Harbor.

On the way back as I passed Heinz Field again I was hit with a blinding flash of the obvious.

Earlier last week we learned of the actions of Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison who, upon finding out that his two boys had been given “participation” trophies, kindly returned them. His response was that he wanted his sons to experience hard work and the effort necessary to attain a trophy. As I ran back I immediately remembered the words of my Mom which I shared at the beginning of this missive. Pittsburgh prides itself as the “City of Champions.” Championships are earned in the crucible of contest on the field of competition. They have meaning. They are cherished. They are legacies passed on to inspire.

Now of course, the typical news cycle means that the actions of James Harrison only survived at best a 48 hour turn. However, his actions represent a greater cultural issue for America.

The fallacy of the participation trophy has become a philosophy of governance for the liberal progressives of our nation. This mentality has departed our little league fields, where the practice of not keeping score took over. It has now found a place in the actual governing principles, for some, in our republic.

When you hear the rhetoric of wealth redistribution and “paying a fair share,” it is rooted in the belief that someone must pay for others to receive the “participation” trophy. Instead of economic policies that inspire more people to engage in the free enterprise system and the opportunity economy, progressive socialists advance policies to punish the players on the field. When you can stand up and profess in America “if you own a business, you didn’t build that,” it reflects a sense that the sweat from the brow of the individual to produce – to score touchdowns, goals, runs – is no longer regarded. The efforts of those on the field only serves to produce the required resources for some to make “participation” trophies for others.


The Fallacy of the Participation Trophy – Allen West – Page full


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