Listening to different people being interviewed, some prominent and some not so prominent, it is very evident that most people do not have an understanding of what the founders intended for our country. Nancy Pelosi thinks the founders would have strongly supported nationalized healthcare. Bernie Sanders thinks the founders would have supported redistribution policies. Obama called the Constitution a flawed document because it did not provide for redistribution.
Members of both parties support big government. Members of both parties look for government to solve all the problems of all the people. Members of both parties will ask the “stupid” question of different witnesses before their committees, “What would you suggest we do so this problem never happens again.” Those asking the question think it makes them look like a concerned representative of the people and those answering think they sound intelligent and farsighted with their standard answers. Of course, no law can be passed and no regulation can be written that will stop a problem from occurring before the law or regulation and the law and regulation will not stop some individual from making the same mistake, intentionally or unintentionally.
The representative asking the question and the person giving the answer have bought into the idea that government gives answers to all peoples’ problems, big or small. Our founders never intended that government be the answer to individuals’ problems. Our founders intended that an individual should solve his own problems. The role of government is to protect the freedom that enables each person to be his own problem solver, so said our founders.
Let’s take a minute and reflect on who the United States was intended to be, who we are, and are we in the car with Thelma and Louise headed for the cliff.
The United States was established on the principle of “individualism.” We know this because it is embedded in our founding documents, which state that the role of government is to protect political equality by securing those Creator granted rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to each individual. Each person is to be free to pursue their happiness. No one is to use force, including the government, to prevent the individual this right. It is the purpose of government to protect that right for the pursuer against any oppressor. The concept of “individualism” is not limited only to economical pursuits but transcends to all endeavors in search of happiness, including intellectual, artistic, and athletic quests as well.
“Individualism” does not mean that the individual accomplishes all on their own. No, it is recognized that others can be and most time are contributors to the success of an individual. “Individualism” promotes cooperation and contribution because in this concept all can be achievers and winners. The success of one individual does not prohibit the success of another but most often encourages others to pursue their own happiness. The concept of “individualism” is an essential part of a free and a capitalistic society.
The United States is becoming a nation that now adheres to “collectivism.” It is this ideology that holds that an individual is fundamentally part of a group the way cells are part of a body. In all ways including morally, the group and its welfare are held to be superior to the individual. “Collectivism” says that the individual has no rights, that his life and work belong to the group, and that the group may sacrifice the individual to the whim and interest of the group. Thus, the hopes, dreams, convictions, and values of the individual are subordinate to the desires and commands of the group. It is the duty of the individual to serve society.
If the state or group decides that the business you want to start, the prices you want to charge, the book you want to write, the investment you want to make, or the career you wish to pursue are not in the best interest of the group or state, then the group or state has the right and duty to stop you. Thus, “Collectivism” is conducive to dictatorships and socialism. “Collectivism” says the state has the right to force you to purchase health coverage, to share your financial gains through taxes and then share your financial gains with others because that is “fair” and you are just giving your “fair” share.
“Collectivism” says that the state has the right and duty to dictate minimum wages even though the minimum wage will prevent many who want to work from gaining employment. The concept of “income inequality” can only exist in a “collectivist” society because it is the “collectivist” society who believes Marx when he said, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.” If one has more than the state determines he needs, and another has less than the state determines they need, than the state would declare a state of “income inequality.” A “collective” society never discusses the concept of “production inequality, effort inequality, or contribution inequality.”
The United States is a society adhering much closer to “collectivism” than “individualism” today. The vast majority of Americans believe in “collectivism” in one form or another. For instance, most Americans believe that a progressive income tax is a “fair” tax, even though it takes from those who would use the assets for purposes of investment. The progressive income tax is a major contributor to higher poverty, less mobility, less middle class employment, less innovation, and a weaker economy.
If the United States continues down this path towards a total “collective” state, we will continue down the path of decline that we have been on for the last several years. We will go over the cliff, just as Thelma and Louise did.
The United States did not become a “collectivist” state overnight. We will not once again become an “individualist” state overnight. It will take time and supreme effort. We begin by each of us doing everything we can for ourselves as individuals and not participating in “collectivist” programs. We begin by learning and understanding the two ideologies and then discussing them with friends, family, and acquaintances. Do not argue or debate, just plant seeds such as I did in reference to the progressive income tax. We can reverse the current trend. We can reverse the current trend. We will reverse the current trend.