We now have a new majority in the U.S. House of Representatives. Already we are seeing a very distinct direction in which this majority will legislate. A fair question that should be posed, and assessed, is what the future of liberty in America is … if we are indeed trending towards progressive socialism. Back in February 2009, the cover of Newsweek magazine touted, “We Are All Socialists Now.” I would beg to differ, but we should consider: how is it that an ideology that is completely antithetical to everything America represents can find a home on these shores?
How many have come to America to flee the tyranny of wealth redistribution, nationalizing of economic production, social egalitarianism, and the expansion of the welfare nanny-state of dependency? America has been, and we pray it always shall be, the beacon that guides the individual ships of distress to a safe harbor when equality of opportunity rules the day. Instead, we are facing a scourge that disregards the individual for the collective and rules by way of equality of outcomes.
After all, one progressive socialist famously quipped in 2012, “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” He was a sitting President who would be reelected after making such a damning assertion.
Socialism has always thrived under the familiar lie of that infamous four-letter word “free.” As one of my former commanding generals would tell us, “Men, there ain’t no such thing as free chicken.” And this fallacy of getting something free from a governing body has seemingly found a home in the “Land of the Free, the Home of the Brave.” But as former British PM Margaret Thatcher is attributed with saying, “The inherent problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money.” And another great British leader also referred to socialism as such, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”
The great French political philosopher, Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote the book “Democracy in America” in the early 1800s, gave us a clear delineation between who we are in America, and how it differs from socialism. He asserted, “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”
All one must do is examine a present-day failure of socialism and ask, what is the future of liberty in America? Once upon a time, there was a country called Venezuela. It was the most prosperous nation in all South America. Then something happened. A socialist named Hugo Chavez rose to power. He promised “free,” and to do so, he sought policies to redistribute wealth. He nationalized the oil and gas industry of the country. Now, the people, who have been effectively disarmed by the government, protest, riot, are gunned down, and eat out of garbage cans. Today, Venezuela is run by a former bus driver, whom, it appears, eats very well.
Therefore, when we hear new members of this 116th Congress speak of raising top level individual income tax rates to a maximum of 70 percent in order to provide a “green new deal” rendering our oil, gas, and coal industries non-existent, we must recognize that we have heard this before. When the policy of wealth redistribution is to be enacted in order to provide, “free,” as in healthcare and college education … we have heard this before. When there are those who seek to not just control individuals being able to arm themselves and protect their lives, their liberty, their loved ones, and their property but rather intend to disarm Americans … we have heard and seen this all before.
Remember, the British army was marching towards Concord, Massachusetts on April 19, 1775 to destroy an armaments factory. The shot that was fired, heard around the world gave birth to our constitutional republic. However, today, travel to Massachusetts and realize that what the tyranny of King George III attempted that day has been implemented by the progressive, socialist governance of that state, where American liberty was birthed.
What is the future of liberty in America?
The new House majority will introduce H.R.676, which is their “Medicare for all” bill. That bill makes any individual purchase of private healthcare insurance illegal. You will lose your liberty to make your own decisions on your own health care.
This Tuesday, the new House majority will introduce a bill that will make “universal” background checks the law. Those of us who are legal, law abiding gun owners in America know exactly where this will lead, firearm registration with the government. And students of history know where that ends up. Criminals do not follow the law. They do not get background checks. But this is not about solving an issue. It is about controlling liberty.
If the top producers in America were forced to succumb to a 70 percent top rate of individual taxation, ask yourself, what happens to economic liberty in America. The top 10 percent of wage earners in America already account for nearly 70 percent of all income tax revenue. The top 1 percent account for nearly 39 percent. That is called wealth redistribution, and the person who first introduced a progressive tax system was none other than Karl Marx in his Communist Manifesto. Simply stated, why work, try to have a high quality of life for you and your family, if someone is going to legislate it away from you? Truly, the American tax code would become a weapon of mass destruction for political, ideological purposes.
What is the future of liberty in America?
Perhaps we should ask, have the American people lost their spirit, drive, and determination? Have the American people become so lazy and complacent that they just sit back and wait for largesse to be spread amongst them? Scottish political philosopher, Alexander Fraser Tytler stated,
“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”
Are we in America so ready to put ourselves, willingly, into economic bondage by way of servitude and dependency? When Barack Obama had a campaign slogan of “Yes We Can,” it was not intended for what the American people can do, but rather government.
What is the future of liberty in America?
Unless we learn the true meaning of liberty, it does not look good. And there was once an American President who gave us the best definition of individual liberty. Abraham Lincoln said,
“The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name—liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names—liberty and tyranny.”
Which definition does progressive socialism represent? If you honestly answer that question, the future of liberty in America will shine brightly, forever.
Allen West is a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army. Mr. West is a Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center to support its mission to expose and neutralize liberal media bias and is the author of “Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death.” He writes a daily column for his personal website at theoldschoolpatriot.com.