The American Dream has been defined as the ideals of freedom, equality, and opportunity traditionally held to be available to every American. The American Dream was an ideal long before the Declaration of Independence was penned and signed. The American Dream had been placed in the minds of men from the beginning of time. This dream was able to come to fruition in what was to become the United States because of distance and separation from the reigning authorities.
The American Revolution did not happen by accident. People like Sam Adams worked hard and continuous to bring events to a point where the Continental Congress was willing to take such drastic action. Sam Adams and his cohorts had as their goal an independent nation that had REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT, LIMITED GOVERNMENT, EQUAL OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL, AND ADHERED TO THE PRINCIPLES OF INDIVIDUALISM AS OPPOSED TO COLLECTIVISM.
The rallying cry of the rebels became “no taxation without representation.” The idea of having no say in how citizens were taxed and then how the proceeds would be used was not acceptable to the colonists. As important or even more important to these rebels was to be freed from the enslavement of big government. These Freedom Loving people understood that the more authority and power any government had, the less freedom and independence the people had. It was their dream and a major element of the American Dream to have very limited government. This was the goal of the American Revolution and the essence of the both The Articles of Confederation and The United States Constitution.
In the Declaration of Independence, these brilliant thinkers acknowledged that opportunity is a right given by the Creator and not by man or government. In the world at that time, opportunity was based on primarily your status at birth. If you were born a serf, a peasant, into a low caste, or to a family or group out of favor, your lot in life was already determined. The founders acknowledged that opportunity should not be based on status at birth, but as Martin Luther King Jr. said three hundred or so years later, on the content of your character. That was a part of MLK’s dream and it was a part of the founders dream.
The American Dream is based on a concept that was not widely recognized at the time. The founders saw each citizen as an individual and not as a group. The economic system that was in place in the colonies at the time and that was adopted as the economic system for the new nation was based on Individualism and not Collectivism. Individualism stresses that each individual should be able to strive for goals and achievements based on the desires and needs of that individual. An individual, who was born into a family of farmers, should be able to choose if that is the life they want or if not they should be able to choose to be in business, in the arts, in public life, or whatever his talents and desires dictate.
Individualism also stresses that the individual can rise to whatever heights his desires and talent will allow. Because the individuals achievements might set new standards that others cannot or do now want to achieve, the achieving individual should not be forced to scale back his efforts for the “could of the community.” Yes, individualism says it is good and desirable to have individuals strive, even for strictly personal reasons, beyond the accepted and expected limits of the group.
Progressives strongly oppose the American Dream. Progressive politicians refer to the American Dream often. Their idea of the American Dream is the antithesis of the founders American Dream. More government is the answer progressives have for every problem. For all situations the progressive will propose a law, establish a bureaucracy, have a handout program, or centralize decisions. Every action the progressive proposes brings more government control or tyranny, and reduces freedom for the citizens or makes each citizen even more reliant on government. The intent of the progressive may or may not be tyranny, but tyranny always is the result of the progressives’ actions.
In the United States, opportunity is no longer based on the individual, but instead is becoming the choice of the government. The government has decided it is their duty to determine who will or will not have the opportunity for success in any chosen endeavor. If you were born into certain families, groups, classifications, and situations, the government has decided that it is their decision to determine your standards for entrance into schools, your requirements for hire, and your standards for advancement. The government has decided that quotas must be fulfilled based on group measurement such as race and economic status. Opportunity is now defined by the government to meet certain standards defined as fair and proper by the progressive and the deserving individual can be damned.
The progressive believes collectivism is fair and just and individualism is for the greedy, the selfish, and the self-centered. When an aspiring student does extra work to raise his grade in a grade school class, the aspiring student is ridiculed and bullied by the underachievers. These collectivized students have learned that all should be rewarded equally regardless of effort. They have all received trophies regardless of effort. They are given pass or fail grades and not grades that reflect effort and achievement. They are moved to the next higher grade even when they have not met the standards for advancement. They are taught that all in the group should be treated equally because they exist and not because of individual effort and performance.
The progressive mind set has instilled this group mentality throughout our society. The individual who achieves beyond the group is ridiculed by the progressive and admonished for their success. The achiever is told it is his duty to sacrifice for the good of the group. The achiever is told he has a moral obligation to provide for the underachiever because somewhere along the line the achiever did something that caused all problems of all underachievers. It was Marx who formalized this concept of collectivism. Marx said that society functions best when all people conform to a single ideal and when all people are equal economically, socially, and politically. Marx explained that the rights of the individual are always subverted for the good of the group.
What built the United States to become the envy of the world and established the American Dream as the ideal around the world was not big government, it was not government determining who should and should not have opportunities, and it was not the effort of groups. What built the United States to be “that shining city on a hill” was individual effort not harnessed and harassed by big government, individuals who understood they had unlimited opportunity determined by their efforts and abilities and not their place at birth; yes it was the efforts of individuals and not groups or individualism and not collectivism. The wise must hear this message and make every effort to restore those principles instilled in mankind from the beginning of time by the Creator, adhered to by the founders, and emphasized by Martin Luther King Jr.