Liberty-minded Americans are often misunderstood. They’re dismissed as “anti-tax” radicals who “hate government, clinging to their guns and Bibles” as if individual liberty, patriotism and faith were shameful passions.

On the contrary, these uniquely American values under-gird our federalist system and are the foundation of American Exceptionalism. The daily manifestation of these values—self-reliance—is ironically what impugns us by our critics who ignorantly mistake it for greed, selfishness or arrogance.

They couldn’t be more wrong.

America’s self-reliant heritage is precisely why our people, and especially Texans, are so prosperous. Although liberty is what affords the opportunity for all to prosper, it will remain unexploited if people lack a burning desire for self-reliance.

Opportunity sought by these patriotic pioneers is what leads to enterprise, innovation, prosperity, and charity.

Without opportunity itself, there is no ability or incentive to enterprise. Without enterprise, there is no innovation. Without innovation, there is no widespread prosperity. And without widespread prosperity, there is no charity.

After all, only those who produce enough for their own families are capable of helping the needy. Without this often-vilified “excess,” there’s nothing to give away.

The significance of liberty, opportunity, and self-reliance is not abstract.

As the most affluent nation, America is also the most altruistic. Americans don’t simply give the most away—we voluntarily give the highest percentage of our wealth to the needy, and by a wide margin. America isn’t just the wealthiest and most generous; the next most altruistic nation donates only half as much, relative to us.

While the hypothetical utopia cherished by big-government politicians and pundits will always be out of reach, Texans will continue to lead the nation in prosperity if given the opportunity. But the prerequisite to opportunity is liberty, and the catalyst to prosperity and charity—self-reliance. Don’t be ashamed.

Ross Kecseg

Ross Kecseg was the president of Texas Scorecard. He passed away in 2020. A native North Texan, he was raised in Denton County. Ross studied Economics at Arizona State University with an emphasis on Public Policy and U.S. Constitutional history. Ross was an avid golfer, automotive enthusiast, and movie/music junkie. He was a loving husband and father.

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