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This is a very long but pretty complete history of the “self-made man,” one of the most pernicious myths in American history. The true bard of this was the child raping minister and author Horatio Alger, but it really goes back to Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and continues today. Of course, no one is “self-made,” not in a society where whiteness and masculinity rule the roost. There are just enough people who start out their lives relatively poor and then rise into power to give a facade of truth to the lie of class mobility, reinforced by totally self-mythologizing ideas that people such as Bill Gates or Donald Trump somehow earned their wealth through their brains and brawn. But the fact remains that the dream of rising from poverty to riches is deeply ingrained in American society and it goes far to undermine class consciousness and the fight to create a more equal society. Not to mention it helps people think that Donald Trump is someone they want as president.

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