Consequences be damned…

I can’t take it anymore!  If I read/watch/listen to another news program that talks about how our government (Read: Me and any other tax payer) here in the United States should bail out yet another industry I’ll go nuts.  I guess I am just so far out of touch that the ideas that seem fundamental and core to me are now “out of date”.

How dare I believe that both government and the private sector should be responsible for their actions.  How dare I believe that consequences for your actions should always be accepted.  How dare I believe that people should be allowed to succeed or fail based on the merit of their ideas and their ability to effectively implement those ideas.  As I said before – These ideas are now “out of date” and are almost an insult to half the population in the United States.

To me it seems that we are weak and becoming weaker all the time.  The bar for what is acceptable is constantly being lowered to accommodate those that can’t meet expectations.  The consequences for our actions are constantly mitigated so that people won’t “suffer”.

If I tell one of my sons that the pot is hot and not to touch it I hope he will learn from what I say.  If he doesn’t listen he burns his hand and in the process learns two lessons.  He learns that I care for him enough to tell him how to avoid being hurt, and I guarantee that he finally learns that the pot is hot.  Do I want him to burn his hand?  Of course not.  Bad decisions can/should be painful to endure, but not taking your licks when you make that bad decision is worse.  You learn to be weak and you avoid the natural consequences that act as the teacher of life’s valuable lessons.  Our society seeks to dodge consequences at every turn and in so doing rewards failure at the expense of the successful.

I feel very strongly that our government and many of our people look for a way out of their problems that bypass responsibility completely.  Not every business should be saved.  Not every need of the people can and should be paid for by government.  Not every painful experience should be avoided.  We learn because of mistakes that we make and change because of what we learn.  When we are constantly told that what we are doing isn’t wrong and that it isn’t our fault that we are in the position that we find ourselves in then we can’t learn and move forward.

As far as I’m concerned we are headed backwards in a dramatic way, but what do I know?

Matt Heaton / President Bluehost.com

33 Responses to “Consequences be damned…”

  1. illumin8 says:

    They that can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.
    — Benjamin Franklin

    A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.
    — William Shedd

  2. Bob Baskin says:

    RE: Consequences be damned… January 11th, 2009

    I could NOT have said it better. I have printed it out and am sharing it w/my 11-yr old grandson. THX again.

    Bob

  3. Robert says:

    I think the reality of it would make your analogy slightly more like you repeatedly touching the hot stove and every kid in your neighborhood getting burned every time you touch it. The government is putting oven mitts on your hands and (at least with the auto industry) demanding that you prove you can cook dinner with competency in the future before you kill every kid in your neighborhood.

    Fundamentally, I’m with you (especially for small business). Now, in this economic crisis, punishing workers with lost jobs when huge corporations fail, making the economy worse, because elite upper management is incompetent doesn’t seem like the government serving the people. I’d rather the bail outs come with required restructuring of upper management and / or replacing the board of directors, but I’ll settle for future economic stability.

  4. Becky Kinney says:

    Yes, I played that exact game with my son, and it worked like a charm, however, that may not be the correct analogy.
    If you tell your son to look both ways before crossing the street, and then he starts to step out in front of a bus, you grab him, right? I’m not saying that is a more accurate analogy, but that is what the government is saying.

  5. Robert@PNG says:

    Hi Matt,

    Your ideas are not out of date as far as I’m concerned – I strongly support your views on the subject.

    I live and work in Papua New Guinea where a tribal system that worked for thousands of years is slowly being replaced with an alternative that stopped working ages ago. Yet the locals seem keen to move towards a model of governance which is taking the planet towards imminent disaster.

    In relation to your “blurb” (above) and the quality of leadership that has now infested our world – I have a saying…

    “There was a time when the chiefs could be trusted – but that time unfortunately has long since gone”.

    Regards,

    R

  6. Lane Roathe says:

    Matt,

    Unfortunately I think you are correct, this is a continuing thread I noticed back in high school (over 20 years ago) that seems to be accelerating.

    If a company makes a product that doesn’t sell or over-extends itself, then it goes out of business. Is there a potential downside? Duh, of course! But that’s the only way to learn; if you get bailed out where is the lesson that you need to exercise control or create products people want to purchase?

    What started in school with the “lower the standards to the level of the least motivated (not I said motivated, not able!) student” philosophy has led to an entire generation with that attitude.

  7. Rishi says:

    This blog post should be read after the next State of the Union Address. It’ll completely invalidate all the things politicians *hope* will work. ;-) I’m in total agreement with your point of view. It’s pathetic that we’re well into the 21st century, but greed and corruption still warrants being saved “for the greater good.” *Sighs*, as an investor in the market, I’ve never seen such drama unfold on Wall Street as in the last 6-9 months. Hopefully, things may start to turn around in 2009.

  8. chrys says:

    Nothing to add – just ditto! More of us need to speak out about this. There’s Bankruptcy Court and FDIC – Aside from that – everything should be left to auto-pilot because it’s impossible to help every state, business, individual, or industry and not fair to the common every day man to be footing the bill and being left out in the cold to fend for himself after paying for everyone and everything else! It’s all amazingly non-partisan – just general majority opinion that they’re doing this “bail-out” deal all wrong!

  9. liberalpro says:

    I hope I’m not being difficult, but I suggest that you need to think your way to the root of the problem instead of just wallowing in the symptoms.

    My personal version of the root of this (and many other problems) goes like this:

    Our government and our society were founded upon a worldview that dictated the separation of church and state. This was done for good and sufficient historical reasons, but it left only three wheels in place (the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the government) on a four-wheel cart.

    This was the first time in the history of our species such an innovation had been tried, and the amazing thing is that the cart moved along so well for so long that it has set the model for the Western world and has influenced the rest of the planet to a great extent.

    But there has always been an obvious problem: The wheel that was left off of the cart is the one that has historically served society by setting standards of moral and ethical conduct (the absence of which standards are at the root of the difficulties you describe).

    And this is a necessary fourth wheel.

    The simple fact is that (like any four-wheeled cart with only three wheels on it) any society without a profession invested by the worldview of that society with the authority to set moral and ethical standards is unstable. And the fact is that we have floundered since our beginning because the worldview of the Enlightenment that led to our founding as a nation invested no one with that kind of authority among us.

    The situation has an obvious solution: We need a revised or new worldview that does make it clear how that authority can be assigned among us — an assignment of authority that leads us to create a new profession (I think of it as “a secular priesthood”) that could serve as the foundation of a proper fourth branch of government.

    So all you (or perhaps I should say “we”) have to do is create such a worldview and get it adopted. If that happens, then the problem (as Jung would say) will simply disappear because we will outgrow it rather than solve it logically in its own terms (which is the direction in which you seem to be groping without, I am afraid, very much hope of success).

  10. Oh we need $700 billion! Guess we need to schedule some overtime shifts at those engraving plants so they can crank out the C-Notes! That’s almost literally how it seems like it works. Even though we seem to be in a very serious situation it’s very difficult for me to take it serious. Great blog and some excellent points made!

  11. Michael says:

    Matt,

    You left out a fundamental issue. What if your son was to (G-s forbid) die while learning his lesson? Wouldn’t it be worth it to do things the other way around?

  12. Peter says:

    1. Easy to say when you’re not losing your business as well as the livelihood of thousands of employees with families to support.
    2. I’d never accept my son burning his hand to teach him a lesson, I’d rather watch him and stop him before he gets to burn himself. Don’t get me wrong, I’d let him learn his lesson for things that didn’t hurt him so badly… Can you see my point?… maybe not?
    3. We judge our society by the way we look after those less fortunate than us… what goes around comes around. One day your kids my be working for Ford with a family to support.
    4. “Compassion is to be blind to ignorance”

  13. Brent2 says:

    @liberalpro

    I’d argue that you and Matt agree on this one. He believes in personal responsibility–more specifically, personal accountability. He feels that man is responsible for their own actions, suffering or enjoying the consequences thereof.

    If you’ve ever talked to a Bluehost employee, you’re well aware that he holds this as an unofficial company motto. Those who work hard and work well get rewarded. Those who don’t are flat fired. I assume there’s a middle ground, but those who work there are held to standards, expected to meet them and then reap the consequences.

  14. Bert says:

    This is the most ridiculous bailout suggestion that I’ve heard so far.
    ( well all are ridiculous but this one is the worst ).

    http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2009/01/07/porn-industry-seeks-federal-bailout/

    LARRY FLYNT: “People are too depressed to be sexually active….This is very unhealthy as a nation. Americans can do without cars and such but they cannot do without sex.
    With all this economic misery and people losing all that money, sex is the farthest thing from their mind. It’s time for congress to rejuvenate the sexual appetite of America. The only way they can do this is by supporting the adult industry and doing it quickly.”

    Wow… how low can this country sink? And how many more bailouts is it going to cost us tax payers for these stupid companys’ own failures.

  15. JD says:

    Matt,

    You are a bit out of touch. As a resident in the heart of the midwest so many lives will be broken by allowing our economy to spiral down the crapper. I don’t like it either but the business I own will probably go under if too many of my customers file for chapter 11. The automotive bridge load is 100x more important than the Wall Street free handout.

    Greater times are ahead of us, but tough decisions need to be made and more oversight is necessary to make sure we down slip back into this funk.

    Mark my words “Americas economy will NEVER be the same if the auto companies are allowed to fail!” Too many will suffer because of the actions of a few.

  16. Webster says:

    I think you are misunderstanding his point.
    He does not want the ECONOMY to fail, he wants the BUSINESSES with potentially self-harmful practices (subprime loans, inefficient car manufacturers) to fail.

    The economy should be bailed out, yes; but the ones who fly their jets to Washington to ask for money should not.

  17. John says:

    This post makes me glad I am a customer of your company.

  18. I have a basic set of tenants for being in business as well as staying in business. These tenants not only move my goals but also tend to formulate the answers to problem solving. They are grounded in common sense, economics, and human behavior. 1.) For every seller, THERE MUST be a buyer. 2.) For every buyer, THERE MUST be a seller of quality goods and/or services. 3.) If you have a product and it doesn’t sell, then there will be no buyers for it. It doesn’t matter that you like it – what matters is why no one is buying it. 4.) If you have a product and it doesn’t sell, then it is either priced too high or nobody likes it. Chances are that no body likes it. 5.) If you have a product and it doesn’t sell, then you need to find a product that does sell where you can earn enough money to pay your expenses and have something left over to put back into the business. Conversely, if all the above are true, and you do not sell anything then you can ask the government to give you money so you can continue to promote that which no one wants in the first place. That is until the government finally wises up and figures out you are a big time swindler and looser from the get-go.

  19. Tim says:

    Agreed fully Matt! For it is those companies and businesses that allowed themselves to fail giving us a poor economy. It was those companies and businesses that outsourced good work to cheap labor. And it was those companies and business that are tucking their tails between their legs and laying off those who said “I told you so.”

  20. ShowStop says:

    Bert – The whole point of Larry Flynt’s bailout request was to show how ridiculous the federal bailout scheme has become. He doesn’t need the money. He might not even take the money if it were offered. But it if his request was honored by the government, you could be damn sure he would make even more of a stink about it then.

  21. Carl Branstetter says:

    I just wanted to say that your post here ended my search for a blog hosting company.

    Well said, well written, you’ll be selling a new account very shortly :)

  22. Mikel says:

    Matt,

    Thanks. We’re in a great storm and your expression does a lot to point out the perils of our course.

    Unfortunately nobody knows the way out of this mess. We’ll keep on carrying on because we must, and that’s all. All of us know some wrong ways, but none of us know the right one yet.

    Take care of you and yours. In the end that’s all that matters.

    Mikel

  23. John Vogel says:

    There’s no way you can possibibly be wrong Matt. You guys that disagree with this need to understand the reality of this matter. All this bail-out will promote is small short-term relief and Giant medium and long-term BURNING for those people your’re thinking it will protect. The bulk of this money WILL end up on the hands of the people that control these companies (If you understand a little bit about how large corporations work, you’ll agree with me). This is basically a last minute gift for those “poor” people who own and control these large businesses, so they can suck as much money out as they can, then take their hands off and let it crash. All they these people have done all along is just suck as much as they can out of these companies, and they have sucked them dry. All these companies have been standing on thin air for a long time because of this.
    These bail-outs cannot possibly save these companies long-range, nor heat-up the economy long-range, because these companies operate wrong principles as described by Matt, so they will fail. Also, the increased control the government will have on society at the end of all this, will certainly take away from our freedom.
    So, there’s more to be said, but those of you who disagreed can think on long-range, and that in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, the free and the brave need at times to take the path of courage and enduring for a while, rather than the easy path of least resistence, the path with apperent short-term least hardship, which WILL, and always have through history, ended up in bondage (For Only the BRAVE have ever been FREE).

  24. Jeff Minch says:

    As always, liberals go straight for: What if you kid died…

    But what if overprotecting your kid let to millions and millions of kids existing in a state of perpetual, generational poverty, the creation of a government dependent class that believes that handouts are just a part of life? What if it led to the disintegration of the family structure in certain segments of society resulting in more drug abuse, crime, incarceration and death?

    What if, to save one kid, you destroyed the lives of millions?

    And…sticking to the current economic crisis…what if the cost of saving thousands of jobs is the destruction of millions of jobs?

  25. The problem is that if the government doesn’t bail out those MFs that screwed it all up, the entire system will fail and even good companies will go bankrupt within 24 hours because all their money is gone too.
    For the short term we’ll end up in a depression that will make the 1930′s seem like paradise.
    In the long term we’ll end the Zimbabian way….

  26. Jeremiah says:

    yeah Matt, just checking out your blog for the first time. i like your rant on the economy. i agree with you – it’s a sad shame the weakening of the minds and wills of american people.

    does anyone remember what revolution is about or how to do it? we’ve become the pacifist hippie nation the conservative people in the 60′s warned us about….

  27. Milo Amberlight says:

    Maybe we wouldn’t have so many big businesses that we think are “too big to fail,” if we started letting them fail and stopped giving them special treatment. It’s going to hurt a lot of people in the short run to let a big business fail, but it’s going to hurt more in the long run to prop it up when it isn’t profitable–and we’re stealing money from everyone else in the country to do so.

    The government has no more money anyway, so these bailouts shouldn’t be an option in the first place. We’re 11 trillion in debt. All this is going to do is cause hyperinflation of the dollar–which is essentially a tax (and effects the poor worse than anyone else).

    We’re going to learn our lesson one way or another. The longer we put it off by borrowing and printing money and propping up companies that should fail, the worse it’s going to be. It’s simple logic and economics.

  28. Larry Petersen says:

    Mr. Heaton,

    Thanks for helping me decide which host to choose. I have been looking at several companies including yours. I may have some strange criterion to base my choice on, but when I read this post, I decide that I wanted to support you and your company.

    I have been learning about building web sites and am excited to learn more as I can use the tools that you make available.

    Thanks.

    Larry

  29. Matt, I agree with you totally.

    Once upon a time it was widely acknowledged that for every action there was an equal and opposite reaction. When your business performed badly you suffered the consequences. Today there is a growing need to “soften” the consequences supposedly “for the greater good”.

    Just reading through the different comments shows the different worldviews present in the country today, and in some cases the reason the country is where it is.

    This post has answered my question about your business principles and I will be looking into moving my domains to your company.

  30. Mark says:

    To the liberals:

    1. Propping up fundamentally negligent and corrupt companies with our tax dollars is only a temporary solution – the wiser solution would be to allow them to go bankrupt and allow other fundamentally sound and competent companies to take their place. My father was laid off from his job after a 25 year career in the airline industry. He didn’t sit around feeling sorry for himself – he found another career.

    2. The government can’t even keep out roads in good shape, what makes you think they are going to spend 1 trillion dollars ($1,000,000,000,000) wisely? More government involvement = more waste, more greed, and more corruption.

  31. Paul says:

    Matt, your blog is the reason that I turned to your company for my hosting. It is a pleasure to be able to support a company run by a CEO that has his head on straight.

    Regarding the “three wheeled cart” analogy above. The separation of church and state was never intended to create a “Godless” nation. A majority of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Christians, many of them pastors and church elders. The separation was to ensure no nationalized religion – remember what the pilgrims were escaping in England. The judao-christian values and morals are spread throughout all of the founding father’s writings and in most of the core documents that established this great nation. They were intended to serve as a foundation for this country, the 4th wheel, as you call it.
    What we have in this country is the other 3 wheels taking over the cart, convincing folks like yourself that the 4th wheel isn’t necessary or needs to be replaced. This “secular priesthood” as you call it, is merely an illusion of a 4th wheel. A true 4th wheel would be independent of the other 3 wheels and have timeless principle based fundamentals guiding it. Whether you are a believer in the bible or not, honoring previous generations, not stealing, not lying, not cursing, not envying, not killing, taking a day of rest, are all ‘comandments’ that most decent human beings aspire to live by. Unfortunately, Washington has been over-run by lying, cheating, stealing, individuals who have spend decades making 50% of the population dependent on them, ensuring their enduring power. And worse, they’ve convinced “enlightened” individuals that this is a better way.

    The notion that somehow a “new profession” should now control our consciences or exert authority over our moral judgement scares me more than any single baillout bill. With the government taking more and more of our choices and options away, I think it’s time for all of us to hold steadfast to our thoughts. The secular-progressive movement is taking us down a Orwellian path that leads us to a place where most Americans never wanted to end up.

    And people, don’t forget that you vote with your dollars. If you don’t like the way a corporation treats the environment, or it’s workforce, don’t ask the government to step in – stop supporting the company. If you need to pay a little more for something, pay it. If you need to drive a little further, drive it. Consumers drive the dollars that feed this entire system. When we give that control over to a few politicians in Washington, well, it won’t be long before the cart crashes.

  32. I agree completely Matt. It always seems that when the government wants an excuse to reject an aid package they state that the market has decided and this has to be respected. Yet when it comes to a powerful organisation that nearly brings the entire world to its knees they throw obscene amounts of cash at the problem. I’m sure that it all comes down to pressure groups, interest groups and all of those others that court the ears of our representatives.

    Hush my mouth ;-)

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