The Washington Swamp, the Beltway, the political elite – however it may be viewed – our government and politics in general are in a state of disrepute. Our current federal government has bloated in size far beyond what our Founding Fathers ever intended. The popularity of socialism is surging again. We’ve been through this as a country at other times in our history but we’ve been able to muzzle it with better ideas. We’ve kept it under control. However, recent polling shows that 31% of registered voters hold a favorable view of socialism. To achieve a higher number, a socialist candidate merely needs to convince the populace that America is already a socialist country to some degree. To close the deal, convince them that there is a better way of socializing to make it more fair. This is, of course, a preposterous and contradictory statement since no aspect of socialism is fair for anyone. The ruling class gets richer and the working class gets poorer. Nonetheless, in politics, it’s all about the spin, even if it spins into blatant lying by liberals, who have been highly effective in that arena. Considering how far we’ve departed from our Founders’ intent, and this recent popularity of socialism, is America, as a republic, worth saving? In nearly every aspect of life, you can apply the pain to profit ratio. Does the benefit of a proposed policy or action outweigh the pain or loss to the company? Will socialism hurt us more than it will help us? A peripherally-related theory to consider would be the sunk-cost fallacy. Considering the energy, resources and continual funding required to create and perpetuate such a government as ours, have we invested too much to give up hope? Is America literally worth saving?
The legendary country singer Loretta Lynn famously said that you have to be first, best or different. Our beloved country meets all of that criteria at some or all points in her history, but for how much longer?
America was the first of her kind. In a world where other priorities were paramount, i.e. preserving power, controlling trade, dominating neighboring countries, conquering and acquiring new lands, America was the only country whose charter included “the pursuit of happiness.” All men have a right to opportunity. All men are free to pursue their dreams. All men have a right to be happy. And an idea with which modern-day liberals are uncomfortable, men are responsible for their own actions which ultimately affect their own outcome. These crazy Yankee Doodle Americans believed they had a God-given, inalienable right, written boldly on the parchment of their founding documents, to build a life for themselves and be joyful in doing so. They endeavored not to appease the Crown, not in their serf obligation within a caste system, not as a cog in monarchal machinery, but to achieve their dreams and stake out a piece of land as their own. The concept of controlling one’s own destiny and particularly land ownership were foreign ideas to British patriots and the world alike.
America has also proven to be the best. Not in the traditional sense, though she surely has proven to be the best in many arenas since her founding. Upon our divorce from Great Britain, we also bested the far-superior might of the world’s military superpower. Beyond that, she was founded on the best ideas – the promise of an enduring future of freedom. These were ideas that took centuries to cultivate, rooted hundreds of years before and through tribulations, hardship and trials, formed and fortified the most perfect, and best, ideas. The first amendment addresses what our Founders believed was the most essential aspect of our republic: free speech. For the best ideas to win, free thought and free speech must exist. In socialism, the ruling class does the thinking and the speaking. They decide the fate of their workers. If America became socialist, our formerly best ideas would get drowned out by the whims of our rulers.
What made us different was the founding ideology that America wasn’t and isn’t perfect. Our founders sought a more perfect union. It wasn’t perfect then and it isn’t perfect now. It is the notion that we as Americans control our own destiny and if we continually strive to make her better, she will become more perfect as time goes on. Our Founders employed every safeguard possible to ensure that this new system of government would be of, by and for the people. Despite that, they knew that with more time, wisdom, and an inevitably changing world, alterations would be required. They pored over it, altering, omitting and adding to it so that it would be as perfect as possible; however, in their wisdom, our Founders put in place a mechanism to change our charter. Our Bill of Rights has been amended sixteen times. It’s not a short or simple process, but when America needs to change, to be different, a change she gets. Under socialism, changes at the behest of the people don’t happen without revolt. If we vote ourselves into socialism, we’ll have to shout ourselves out of it.
According to the 2016 Global Slavery Index, roughly 167 countries still have slavery. China, Cuba, Vietnam and Laos still adhere to Marxist-Leninist ideologies. North Korea, Nepal, Albania, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Libya employ to some degree the lesser evil, socialism. Congo, Myanmar and Zimbabwe, to name a few, still egregiously oppress their own citizens and human rights violations abound. Even the argument in support of the public/private socialist option in countries like Denmark, France, the Netherlands, and Iceland falls flat when you bring into the equation how little private enterprise-driven innovation they’ve achieved. You can argue that America isn’t perfect. But she’s better than every other country, especially these socialist and socialist-light countries. Furthermore, she’s ever evolving and the best way to make her better is by returning to our original values and the roadmap our Founder’s laid out for us. Despite our current state of politics, just like in free market economics where the best ideas prevail, we are becoming a more perfect union thanks to free thought. Is it time to give socialism a chance or is America, as a republic, worth saving? Voters will decide on November 3rd.