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The Law of Average': This Profound Short Story From 1899 Is Worth Reading


“When all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds..."

Buck Sexton discusses 'A Message to Garcia' by Elbert Hubbard on Nov. 7, 2013. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Guest hosting The Glenn Beck Program on Thursday, TheBlaze's national security expert Buck Sexton shared a profoundly influential work from 1899 called "A Message to Garcia" by Elbert Hubbard.

The story centers around "a fellow by the name of Rowan" who, without a multitude of questions or protestations, was able to deliver a message to the leader of the Cuban insurgents despite the fact that the leader was in hiding.

But that part of the story is actually quite brief -- the moral of the story more revolves around praising those who can competently and cheerfully resolve the task at hand.

"No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man- the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it," Hubbard writes. "Slip-shod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, & half-hearted work seem the rule..."

Hubbard even challenges the reader to put the matter to a test.

"You are sitting now in your office- six clerks are within call," he begins. "Summon any one and make this request: 'Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Correggio.'"

More likely than not, Hubbard says the clerk will pester you questions like: Who was he?; Which encyclopedia?; Was I hired for that?; What's the matter with Charlie doing it?; Is there any hurry?; Shan't I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself?; What do you want to know for?

Buck Sexton discusses 'A Message to Garcia' by Elbert Hubbard on Nov. 7, 2013. (Photo: TheBlaze TV)

Once you have answered all of these questions, he added, the clerk will "go off and get one of the other clerks to try to help him find Garcia - and then come back and tell you there is no such man."

"Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not," he writes.

Hubbard writes that it is "this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch the hold and lift" that "put pure Socialism so far into the future."

He then launches into a moving speech in defense and praise of the hard-working employer.

"We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the 'downtrodden denizen of the sweat-shop' and the 'homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,' & with it all often go many hard words for the men in power," he begins.

"Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with 'help' that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned," he continues.

Hubbard asks if he has phrased the matter too strongly, but says that "when all the world has gone a-slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds- the man who, against great odds has directed the efforts of others, and having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes."

The story concludes:

I have carried a dinner pail & worked for day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; & all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the "boss" is away, as well as when he is at home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly take the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets "laid off," nor has to go on a strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks shall be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town and village- in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such: he is needed, & needed badly- the man who can carry a message to Garcia.

Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

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Sexton invited Representative Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) onto the program to discuss the story, and the state of affairs in Washington.

Watch the complete interview, below:

Complimentary Clip from TheBlaze TV

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