Crap Ain't King: Why we Appreciate Things More When They're Earned Versus When They're Attained Cheaply

It was Thomas Paine who once said that “The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap we esteem too lightly.” Many people either agree or disagree with this statement. I am one who agrees.

I agree with the first part of Paine’s statement because history demonstrates the truth of it repeatedly. Thomas Paine was encouraging his fellow Americans to persist in the Revolutionary War. Fighting it wasn’t easy, but the result was the beginning of the nation that became the strongest on earth. Another example of the truthfulness of Paine’s statement is America’s involvement in World War II. America and the Allied Powers fought against the Axis Powers for just short of four years. Overcoming steep odds, America and the Allied Powers won, resulting in celebrations worldwide.

History has also shown that we don’t place high regard for what we attain at little or no cost. A case in point is the fact that President Lyndon Johnson won his bid for a full term with little difficulty. Johnson was thrust into the Presidency by the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and was viewed as simply continuing Kennedy’s policies. He went on to waste his capital on unsuccessful poverty programs and an unnecessary conflict in Vietnam. These policies, for the most part, alienated even his most ardent supporters. Johnson opted for early retirement, knowing he couldn’t win another term.

Obviously, I thoroughly agree with Paine’s statement because history has validated both parts of it. I’m sure, if time permitted, I could easily give similar proofs of the truth of Paine’s statement by examining the experiences of both companies and private citizens.