Of course, our forefathers assumed American society would retain elements of basic commonality; they did not foresee the rise of progressivism in the early 1900’s or the advent of communism which began to flourish in the USA after World War II. As those ideologies began to take root in our society, America started down a path where a unifying belief no longer existed. Before, we might disagree on how to get somewhere but the hoped-for destination was the same. That is not the case today.
From the mid-20th Century forward, the abyss between the Left and the Right in the USA has steadily grown. Liberalism—in its original form—stood for a belief in personal freedom and a free-market system. Somewhere along the way, the term became synonymous with the call for fairness, equality, growth in the welfare state, and embracing all manner of societal reform. Later on, Liberalism became a child of Socialism—the notion that all things should be equitable and fair and equally controlled and shared by the community at large. It also embraced the concept of “Progressivism, ” the idea that government can and should address all societal ills, inequities and unfairness. Roll Liberalism, Socialism and Progressivism together and one soon comes up with the “Utopian State,” a mystical universe where all share equally in the resources of the society regardless of their ability or desire to produce, and everyone plays together nicely.
Unfortunately, this utopian concept cannot exist unless it is policed and regulated. Conceptually, the “community” owns and shares everything equally but who referees it all? Well, according to the Liberal Left, the great big ol’ federal government is, just like the Great Oz, who is all seeing and all knowing. It will facilitate, regulate, administrate, and adjudicate society in the interest of fairness and equality. How will that be done? In a republic such as ours, it is commonly done through the process of “tax and spend”—tax those who earn the money and spend it on those who do not. This results in fairness and equality for all and is referred to as the “common good”; use of it’s other name, “wealth redistribution” is frowned upon as uncivilized.
The Democrat party has been subsumed by the Liberal Left. Their desire for fairness and equality helped to define a compassionate voter base that was bent on expanding federal power over every aspect of our lives. Federal-level social programs ballooned out of control to the point that social welfare now dominates the federal spending budget and heavily drives deficit spending. The very creation and number of these social programs has led to bigger government to oversee them and higher taxes to pay for them. As a people, attempting to spend our way out of debt in our effort to improve the human condition is sheer insanity.
Karl Marx once made the point that socialism was simply a watering-hole along the way to communism. If Marx was ever right about anything, he was right about that. Socialism offers some level of personal ownership, but Marx did not think it went far enough. Under communism, the government claims “public ownership” of everything. The government controls all assets and distributes those assets to each person “according to his need.” Here fairness and equality is brought about by central government acting as Big Brother. Apparently when everyone is reduced to dire poverty—as they soon will be (except the government elites who hide their riches)— equality and fairness will exist for all to see.
The liberalism of today fosters the socialism of tomorrow, and the socialism of tomorrow is the forerunner of Communism—the last stop on the road, the bottom of the barrel. You see, Marx believed that mankind worked as a function of natural desire—even if everything was taken from him, his productive spirit would carry on. But that is not true. In a world reduced to “producers” and “non-producers,” it is just the opposite. If the non-producers receive just as much as the producers, the latter soon become demoralized and stop producing. Under Socialism, the limits of opportunity are defined and never increased. Men are not free to create their own destiny but are chained to a system that steals their work and their profit and gives it to someone else. Productivity continues to decline until poverty and corruption are rampant and the government must rule with an iron fist.
Say what you will of Capitalism and the free-market system, but know that without it, the USA is most definitely headed down that well-worn path trod by Cuba, China, and North Korea—Communist countries all, and all suffering from grinding poverty. The “reform and transformation” of our nation driven by a progressive mindset will not lead us to compassion, fairness, and equality— it will lead us to misery.
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