There is an interesting show on TV called Little People, Big World, about a dwarf couple in Oregon who have four children, only one of whom also is a dwarf. Matt and Amy Roloff are doing a great service to so-called ‘little people’ by demonstrating how completely normal their lives can be, that they are indeed less disadvantaged than a lot of so-called normal people who can’t seem to cope with life.
Matt is a Type-A guy, a traveling software salesman who is perpetually at work on their house and on the 34-acre farm that he and Amy own near Portland. It is not a big, serious agricultural production, but a parcel of picturesque Willamette River Valley land that Matt has owned for decades and has sought to make marginally profitable by selling pumpkins and giving hay rides in Autumn to attract the locals and their cash.
The Roloffs have a marriage that is remarkably normal and, like all marriages, sometimes strained. Their life is eternally hectic and Amy is always on Matt’s case because often he starts things and does not finish them promptly. And you can understand her upset. Or she says that he dreams too much about making money on a farm that never will support the family. Because the farm ultimately is more like an experiment in getting Matt’s restless energy out than a cohesive and productive economic entity. We all know Matt Roloff types who can’t sit still, who, even on their day off are out on the tractor pushing dirt around just for the sake of it.
Then again sometimes you get the feeling that Amy is just a nagging wife who never gives Matt credit, despite all his handicaps. She seems to have precious little praise for all that he has accomplished over the years of their marriage – building a beautiful modern home, carving out a farm for the children to enjoy, and nurturing and supporting an active, happy family that surely is the envy of millions of TV viewers.
One recent episode was telling. When Matt was seeking to expand the pumpkin business, he wanted to hire his 10th-grade daughter and some of her friends to plant the pumpkin sprouts in May. He offered them $1 a tray for planting and Amy got angry, saying that that was too little pay for the hard work, and demanding that he pay them $5 a tray.
So there you go: A man was trying to make a sensible economic decision and the woman intervened and declared that he should quintuple the salary. This sounds like all those liberals in the government and media who seem to think that the government has endless wads of cash to hand out so that we can just multiply by two, three, four or five what we give away to people for free, or in exchange for labor. As if there are no laws of economics.
I enjoy Little People, Big World because it shows people creating their own destiny despite their obstacles. And also because I totally love Oregon, because I spent time there in the 1970s picking pears in the Hood River Valley 50 miles east of Portland. Oregon is an awesome place. It has a rugged coast and splendid mountain ranges. And for those who might believe the myth that it’s all rain and pine trees, the fact is that two-thirds of Oregon is dry, desolate desert, a sprawling expanse of stony scrubland, canyons and rimrock that is 65,000 square miles big.
In my fruit-picking days in the shadow of Mount Hood – one of the state’s gems at 11,235 feet – I struggled to pick five bins of pears each day while my more experienced anglo compatriot Frank could do nine. But increasingly over the years I worked there, the labor force was becoming less anglo and more exclusively illegal Mexican immigrants who could do ten or more bins a day, week after week, chasing the harvest up and down the West Coast throughout the year, living in shanties and sending money back to Mexico.
I could pick for four or six weeks at a time during the harvest but, hey, I had a college education and was just out to make a few bucks. Picking fruit is brutal work. And to think of those immigrants making a life out of that relentless labor was hard to get a grip on. Then again, that is the hard life that most of mankind has experienced throughout history. And every day I thank God that my grandparents left their poor village in Greece behind, and that I grew up in the United States of America.
Recently there was news about Puerto Rico in which it was reported that coffee growers were having difficulty finding workers to take in the harvest while thousands in nearby cities were unemployed. And it makes you wonder about the world we are building where we need to allow millions of illegal immigrants to come to the United States to do the work that millions of our own unemployed refuse to do. Because no matter the media spin, the truth in many, many cases is that it indeed is “work that Americans won’t do”.
Or more specifically “work that Americans have come to reject…”
But if you put yourself in the position of an employer like the orchard owners, you hire illegals not necessarily because they work cheap, but because they work at all. Because Americans have in many cases been propagandized by the left-wing media to be noncompliant, demanding, lazy and insubordinate, while the same media promote social welfare programs that insulate idle Americans from poverty, creating a culture of dependency and stagnation.
I worked for several years as the manager of a small business in New England. The smart talk and sloth and insubordination of the employees up here can be stunning, even among the so-called hard-working caucasians of work-ethic New England lore. No, today many of them drink beer, use and deal drugs, expect every benefit, mouth off, steal stuff, refuse to work hard, have sex in the workplace, call in sick, won’t put in one extra minute, and think they are doing you a favor just by showing up.
Why? Again, because the media feed them the idea that the system is unfair and that their capitalist boss is a greedy pig who is stealing their labor, and that they deserve everything, and that the government will give it to them if the employer does not.
No wonder so many employers hire immigrants, legal or otherwise. Because those who come to America to work actually do the work that you ask them to do without a lot of back talk. They want what America can offer and they know that working hard is the key. They are thankful to be here. Yet at the same time people who grew up here have no idea how blessed our nation is and refuse to participate.
So when you think about people like Matt and Amy Roloff dealing with all the heartache of being dwarfs – Matt spent a total of years in hospitals as a kid and is always under stress over poor health – but raising their kids and putting out a huge individual effort to make the world better by making their own lives better, you start to see what America really is made out of. Yet nearby in Hood River, Mexican immigrants do the work that other Americans could be doing if they chose to, but won’t, even for just the harvest season.
I consider the Roloffs an American success story. We need more shows about people who show us what we Americans always achieve when we set our minds to it, despite our disadvantages. We need more shows that make us realize that hard work always has been the key to a fulfilled life no matter the era or circumstances. Indeed we need more shows to counter the socialist lie that the media endlessly promote, that somehow we are going to get something for nothing, which never, ever works for the good of the people but only for the enrichment of the few.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can print out for free my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.