A Free Country or a ‘Free’ Country

Written by Nathan Clark on May 2, 2013

Sweet_free_hugsThis nation was founded upon the singular precept that men have the right to govern their own affairs, unmolested by tyrants and oppressors. Much of the application of this principle is driven by economics, since the rise of a people individually and collectively depends on their ability to prosper economically. The better the standard of living a nation has, the more productive and strong they become historically.

This principle of individual freedom, exemplified in the opportunity to advance one’s self through personal initiative, embodies what has always been called “the American Dream“. This brilliant shaft of light has shown abroad in the world for 300 years as a beacon of hope to all those oppressed by tyrannical leaders and systems of government. It has drawn people to our shores in masses, seeking to become part of that dream and to seize the opportunity to determine their own futures.

This is why American is referred to traditionally as a free country. You are free to pursue your dreams and overcome your adversities here. Or, at least that’s the way it has been.

The active debate today over the future of America has to do with the meaning of the word “free“. In a Clintonian parsing of the language, the new “free” increasingly invokes a meaning of “at no cost to me“. As in “free lunch“, a concept possessed of the same level of validity as the existence of unicorns.

We have watched government dependency programs absolutely skyrocket during the Obama administration. Mitt Romney was gleefully pilloried by the Left when he referred to “the 47%” of Americans who pay nothing in taxes, in effect living “free” off the system. Like it or not, his math is correct, and the rest of us 53% are paying to support them. Social programs are receiving enrollments at unsustainable levels, as more and more Americans pile onto the dependency gravy train. For working people whose labors pay for these free-riders, it doesn’t feel so much like a free country anymore.

Let’s say we’re at the county fair. You and I both want an ice cream. You’ve earned the money for it, so you exercise your freedom to make that purchase. The fruits of your labor have empowered you. I want an ice cream too, but have done nothing to earn it and don’t feel I should have to, so I compel you to pay for mine as well. That way we both have ice cream. The “equality” of the final situation fits my paradigm of “fairness“. How equal do you feel?

If the problem ended with US citizens, it would be bad enough. But that’s just the beginning. Lots of people from other countries are feeling “entitled” to come here and carve out a slice of the American pie for themselves, without a thought to contributing in any way to the general welfare or endeavor. And why should they? Our government, education system and the lame-stream media have promoted the concept abroad that people should come here in search of “free stuff“, rather than “freedom” in the classic sense.

As it turns out, some of the “free stuff“, being given away in Massachusetts recently turned out to be the sustenance of the Boston Marathon terrorists. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you …. or blowing it clean off. Yet their governor, Deval Patrick, is feverishly defending the dead bomber’s “right to privacy” by keeping the information about how much public assistance he received confidential. We wouldn’t want Tamerlan the Dead Terrorist to have his dignity compromised by such disclosures. “Silence!! I kill you!!”

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Nathan Clark is a conservative commentator who resides with his wife in New Hampshire. He is passionate about preserving the vision of our nation's Founders and advancing those tried and true principles deep into America's future. His interests range broadly from flyfishing, cooking and shooting to pro sports, gardening, live music and fine-scale modeling.