Meredith Turney

Pick up any self-help book at the local bookstore (or, in more modern parlance, order it via your Kindle or iPad) and you’ll invariably read a collection of quotes about failure. Most of these quotes frame failure as an opportunity to learn from mistakes; success is defined as enduring failure numerous times until you reach a favorable outcome. One of the qualities that makes America so unique is the freedom to fail continually until you finally reach your goal.

Some of America’s greatest political and business leaders understood that failure isn’t a bad thing—unless you allow the verb to become a noun. Theodore Roosevelt observed, “It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.” And American tycoon Henry Ford commented, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”

The great inventor Thomas Edison perfectly represented the unrestricted, can-do spirit of American inventiveness when he proclaimed, “Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.” Americans want to accomplish something—but they need the freedom from government intrusion to do so—even if it means they might fail along the path to success.

More recently, Glenn Beck succinctly summed up America’s unparalleled opportunity this way: “The American experiment was about freedom. Freedom to be stupid, freedom to fail, freedom to succeed.”

If there is one overarching motivation for progressives, aside from their desire for control, it seems to be preventing failure. One way to achieve this is for all men to be the same (what progressives mislabel “equal”). If there is no difference, there is no opportunity for failure.

Glenn Beck

Another way to ensure no one fails is to place such restrictions on liberty that no risks are taken—the very risks that are necessary to achieve success. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. This seems benevolent, but really it’s the exact opposite. Why would a parent allow their child to ever remove the training wheels from their bicycle? After all, the child could fall and be injured. True, but then the child would never learn to really ride a bicycle and experience all the joys and freedom that skill provides.

Meredith Turney

Meredith Turney is a conservative political commentator, writer and new media consultant.More of her work can be found at