Zuckerberg – Embarrassed by Riches
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, attracted a lot of attention with hiscommencement speech last May at Harvard, the school he dropped out of. He started off with some good advice to the graduates:
Now it’s our turn to do great things. I know, you’re probably thinking: I don’t know how to build a dam, or get a million people involved in anything.
But let me tell you a secret: no one does when they begin. Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.
If I had to understand everything about connecting people before I began, I never would have started Facebook.
Movies and pop culture get this all wrong. The idea of a single eureka moment is a dangerous lie. It makes us feel inadequate since we haven’t had ours. It prevents people with seeds of good ideas from getting started. Oh, you know what else movies get wrong about innovation? No one writes math formulas on glass. That’s not a thing.
Then he wanders into fantasy land. But I want readers to understand that I’m not criticizing Zuckerberg alone because he is merely regurgitating all of the nonsense that he swallowed through public education, college and the media, all of which promote unvarnished Marxism. He said,
Let’s face it. There is something wrong with our system when I can leave here and make billions of dollars in 10 years while millions of students can’t afford to pay off their loans, let alone start a business.
Look, I know a lot of entrepreneurs, and I don’t know a single person who gave up on starting a business because they might not make enough money. But I know lots of people who haven’t pursued dreams because they didn’t have a cushion to fall back on if they failed.
Even at his young age, Zuckerberg should know that there are thousands of angels investors and venture capitalists scouring the country looking for the next killer app like Facebook. No one who has an idea for anything will be short of interested listeners. What’s really lacking are 1) people willing to put in the hard work to refine their ideas and 2) good ideas. No one deserves to have someone else pay to implement their idea if it’s a lousy idea. So how do we know it’s a good idea? Someone else is willing to pay to make it a reality. Experienced angel investors and venture capitalists do the hard work of analyzing ideas and risking their wealth to see that good ideas bear fruit.
Then Zuckerberg delivers the socialist pitch:
We all know we don’t succeed just by having a good idea or working hard. We succeed by being lucky too. If I had to support my family growing up instead of having time to code, if I didn’t know I’d be fine if Facebook didn’t work out, I wouldn’t be standing here today. If we’re honest, we all know how much luck we’ve had.
How can it be luck if he spent so much time coding? Luck is the spin of a roulette wheel. Success at it requires no skill, hard work, intelligence or good ideas. If luck, then a defensive lineman on the Harvard football team who never wrote a line of code would have as much chance at starting Facebook as Zuckerberg did. But he admits he did work a little on the project, and suffered criticisms, before he succeeded :
Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started. If I had to understand everything about connecting people before I began, I never would have started Facebook….
But be prepared to be misunderstood. Anyone working on a big vision will get called crazy, even if you end up right. Anyone working on a complex problem will get blamed for not fully understanding the challenge, even though it’s impossible to know everything upfront. Anyone taking initiative will get criticized for moving too fast, because there’s always someone who wants to slow you down.
The washing of his brain in socialist ideology through almost sixteen years of the US educational system programmed Zuckerberg to ignore reality and fixate on socialist fantasy. In spite of his insight and hard work, his entrepreneurial skills, he has been trained like Pavlov’s dog to express false humility and give credit to luck. Christians might ask why not claim it was an act of God? But that’s another essay. Socialists worship luck today. He continues:
Previous generations fought for the vote and civil rights. They had the New Deal and Great Society. Now it’s our time to define a new social contract for our generation.
We should have a society that measures progress not just by economic metrics like GDP, but by how many of us have a role we find meaningful. We should explore ideas like universal basic income to give everyone a cushion to try new things.”
And yes, giving everyone the freedom to pursue purpose isn’t free. People like me should pay for it.
Of course, he and his wife created the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to give much of their wealth to help others and that is very admirable, but he has not done anything that most other wealthy people in the US have not done since the founding of the nation. The wealthy in the US have always been very generous to the poor. So why admire the socialist programs of the New Deal and Great Society? And why promote universal basic income? And why credit luck for his success? Because giving his money is not penance enough for his success. He will still be very rich and it embarrasses him.
Helmut Schoeck explains the psychology of wealthy people promoting socialism in his amazing book, Envy: A Theory of Social Behavior. Most people suffer incurable envy of those in their social class who succeed more than others. They resent successful people and want to see them crash and burn. Before he achieved his dream, Zuckerberg probably envied (resented) the success of others, so he knows what others are thinking of him. He seeks to deflect the resentment of others and he knows the ritual to accomplish it, having watched other wealthy people perform it often. He must put on his wool shirt and attribute his success to something other than his own work and abilities, such as luck. And he must declare the system to be unfair and call for greater “justice,” that is, wealth redistribution, by the state. These rituals performed on a regular basis pacify the resentful spirits of the media and academia.
If Zuckerberg were a Christian he would be able to handle his amazing success much more gracefully. He would find no virtue in recommending a satanic system that oppressed the people of the USSR, China, North Korea, Venezuela, Greece and many other socialist countries. He would be grateful to God, give a portion of his wealth to the poor and enjoy his wealth, knowing he deserves it.
As Solomon wrote, “A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,” Ecclesiastes 2:24.
Originally published on ABCT Investing.
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