There is a good reason that socialism is not a good fit for Americans. We’re not very social. We have a history of isolationism due to our geography but more so due to the fact that our country is made up of cast outs and throw away peoples who left their homeland for freedom and the opportunity of a better life—slavery not withstanding. Opportunity is what makes people tick, and take action. Each new program from the government lessens the opportunity we all currently have. By taking from some you lessen the return on their effort and by giving to others you lessen the effort they need to exist and prosper. People, as all forms of life, will take the path of least resistance. Americans don’t remain in poverty because they were born into poverty, they remain poor because poor is enough to survive and to prosper requires a great deal of effort. It is hard to let go of the free/subsidized housing– even if the neighborhood is dangerous and unsanitary. It is hard to let go of the food stamps- even though your diet is limited and restaurants don’t accept them. It is hard to be responsible for your own bills and education expenses and insurance and getting a job and getting there on time and doing what is expected of you and…. It is easy to just not try and stay fed, housed, and cared for by the government. It’s hard when you think about the guy down the street who did all the hard things including paying the taxes to pay for you to not have to try so hard. Luckily he is faceless and nameless and the word government does not make you think about him.
Europe is made up of populations that have coexisted—though often not peacefully—and are essentially the same people and culture. While the British prefer beef and the French lamb, and the wines of Italy, Spain, Germany, and France have distinct nuances, the fact remains that essentially the same people have inhabited the same region for thousands of years. In America—with the exception of native Americans—this is not the case. We are a country made up of cast outs and throw away peoples who left their homeland for freedom and the opportunity of a better life. We are the descendants of those that refused to join with the status-quo. Our forefathers were the ones who took action rather than cover.
Today our elected leaders busy themselves improving our life by limiting our freedoms. They do not understand the damage done to the human spirit when the government provides for rather than allowing individuals to provide for themselves. As individuals we see the damage done by overly protective parents—spoiled, under performing children that invariably fall short of their parents accomplishments. But somehow we fail to acknowledge the damage done by social programs that were well intentioned but failed to realize the ultimate goal of creating competent, capable individuals that would contribute ultimately and indirectly pay back society for the charity bestowed upon them.
There are those who feel that Europe should be our model. I disagree completely. Europe has enjoyed its longest period of peace and prosperity because the United States took on the responsibility of safeguarding Europe from its enemies- both domestic and to the East. Europe flourished under U.S. protection because the U.S. footed the very costly bill of its the military presence in Western Europe. Japan similarly succeeded due to having very low defense costs thanks to the U.S. giving protection to Japan from their potential enemies.
There is no country able, much less willing, to afford the U.S. the protection so that we may drastically cut our military and save all that money. And our enemies grow stronger, not weaker. A strong argument could be made that the U.S. should lessen or eliminate our military presence overseas and allow allies to pay for their own defense.
During the Reagan years there was an unwritten policy of spending as much as possible on defense and to leave as little as possible for social programs. Today the Obama administration is spending as much as it can—or should I say much more than we have or possibly will ever have—on entitlement programs as well as defense programs. Our monthly Federal budget deficit is equal to the annual budget deficits under Reagan, and with the increase in costs brought on by healthcare, we are truly sealing our economic doom.
“Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee…”