“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
– Winston Churchill
I have often wondered at the rift between the left and the right. The division is not just in politics, though that’s wide enough. There are also differences in matters of morality, work ethic and self-control. Frankly, I don’t ever see that gap closing.
What this comes down to is that I simply do not understand the logic of the progressive mind. And I say this as a former progressive – I was a good little liberal when I was in college, but maturity and adult understanding has eradicated all liberalism from my bloodstream to the point where I view my younger self with pity.
Before I go any further, let’s clarify what I mean by progressive (a term I use interchangeably with “liberal”) and conservative. One website defines both terms as follows:
Liberals believe in government action to achieve equal opportunity and equality for all. It is the duty of the government to alleviate social ills and to protect civil liberties and individual and human rights. Believe the role of the government should be to guarantee that no one is in need. Liberal policies generally emphasize the need for the government to solve problems.
Conservatives believe in personal responsibility, limited government, free markets, individual liberty, traditional American values and a strong national defense. Believe the role of government should be to provide people the freedom necessary to pursue their own goals. Conservative policies generally emphasize empowerment of the individual to solve problems.
Please note that these definitions have very little to do with our current political parties, both of which are staunchly pro-big government, no matter what politicians may claim to the contrary. (This is why I’m not a Republican.)
While we’re on the subject of definitions, let’s examine the definition of a “right.” Very simply, a right doesn’t cost anyone anything. You can’t just make up “rights” out of thin air and expect the government to give them to you. No one has the “right” to food, housing, transportation, medical care or other basics of human decency at the expense of others. If one is unable to obtain these things on one’s own because of age, disability or some other condition, then it is the place of family, friends, churches and charities to provide.
What progressives refuse to understand is that rights are not given by government. They are bestowed by our Creator, as it clearly states in the Declaration of Independence. The reason this distinction is so crucial is because God-given rights cannot be taken away; but false government-given “rights” can be removed in a heartbeat. They are privileges bestowed by the State and can be withdrawn at whim.
Now that these definitions are clear, let’s go back to the notion of trying to understand the foreign concept of liberalism. Recently I read a comment that offered a glimpse into the progressive mind, a hint of how their logic works: “When the GOP considers an idea that actually helps my family,” this person wrote, “I will consider voting for them. So far, their policies have only hurt those close to me. What other criteria matters?”
What other criteria matters? Ah. Now I understand a little better. What this person means is, What’s in it for me?
This is the problem with progressives (both Democrats and Republicans). They’re looking for what helps THEM, rather than looking for ways to limit governmental interference as delineated in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. It’s a me me me mentality. They don’t understand (or don’t care) that the founding documents aren’t about what the government can do FOR you; they’re about what the government cannot do TO you.
It is the nature of mankind to work in our own best interests. Progressives want others to pay for the things they want (remember the Occupy Wall Street crowd?) whereas conservatives merely want government to get out of the way so they can work to obtain things for themselves and help those in need through their own devices.
The Founding Fathers understood the concept of the freedom to work in our own best interests. They created a unique system of government that offered minimal intrusion and interference, thereby enabling people to succeed or fail on their own. There was never any notion of “leveling the playing field” or “making things fair.”
This limitation on government resulted in the massive growth of our economy. It also resulted in the unshackling of minds to dream and create in a way never before seen on Earth, the so-called 5,000 year leap. America became a nation that offered a beacon of hope to endless millions of immigrants who were suffering at the hands of their own oppressive governments, my own family (both past and present) among them.
Ideally, America’s freedoms allow those with talent and ambition to thrive. It also means people without those qualities seldom become wealthy. We are allowed to succeed, or fail, on our own merit. This results in the natural dichotomy between the rich and the poor (never mind the vast middle class) that progressives have come to despise.
Liberals pretend it’s rare when immigrants, who sometimes arrive with nothing more than the clothes on their backs, can become business owners within 10 years through sheer hard work. Instead, progressives are filled with false and condescending compassion toward those who won’t work and feeeeeel that if only “the rich” would be taxed more, then all poverty would be eradicated. They see income disparity and feeeeeel it’s unfair that “the rich” aren’t taxed at 100 percent. They feeeeeel Utopia can be obtained if only the government forced everyone to share. Compassion, they are certain, can be obtained at the point of a gun.
America was never meant to be a nation built on theft, but in the last hundred years that’s just what’s happened. You can call it whatever euphemism you want – distributing the wealth, leveling the playing field, making things fairer – but the bottom line is the government is holding a gun to the productive citizens’ heads and forcing them to turn over their hard-earned wealth to others. This is not what the Founding Fathers envisioned.
It apparently doesn’t trouble the progressives that their policies have been tried again and again and again throughout history … and failed every time. Winston Churchill called it the Gospel of Envy, and it has killed untold millions in the last century alone.
In short, the progressives would love to dump the old antiquated Constitution or Bill of Rights and create something new and, well, progressive. Like toddlers, they want what they want. What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine. Gimme gimme gimme. What’s in it for me?
Jesus told us that a house divided against itself cannot stand. How long can America withstand this division between left and right? I fear not much longer.