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We are a culture whose history is steeped in the hard work and accomplishments of our pioneering forebears. Our most ingrained cultural constant and our enduring national myth is what Max Weber dubbed the Protestant Work Ethic. At its core, the Protestant Work Ethic is the conviction that all work, any work, is good, noble, and a demonstration of diligence and duty. It is also an active demonstration of religious devotion and piety, as well as commitment to the perfectibility of the “human condition” at both the material and the spiritual level.

Most historians attribute the origin of the work ethic to Martin Luther. According to Luther, one was summoned by God to a secular “calling,” which today we would call a job, profession, or career. ...

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