A Free Country or a ‘Free’ Country
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!!”
Congress and the president are on the verge of approving what is tantamount to amnesty for approximately 33 million illegal aliens. Free. This is a demeaning slap in the face to all the valued legal immigrants who have come, worked, paid and endured the process for the privilege to become US citizens. And yes, I said privilege. It is not the world’s “right” to become US citizens, Eric Holder be damned.
As columnist Darlene Superville put it recently in an Associated Press article on Obama’s speech, the “President dismissed the focus on a ‘border security first’ approach, saying the system is too big to be fixed ‘only with fences and border patrols.’ He advocated a comprehensive approach that would call on the government, businesses and illegal immigrants themselves to live up to their responsibilities within the law.”
Haven’t they ALREADY proved that they won’t? Only the president could be so rhetorically conflicted. Does he expect us to believe that he believes the rubbish coming out of his own mouth?
Why would he think he can depend on the integrity of someone who has committed a crime to then dig into their reservoir of internal goodness and do the right thing, at a cost to themselves? This mythic belief in the inherent unselfish goodness of man has no basis in human history writ large. Liberals’ insistence on believing in unicorns and shaping public policy around their feeding and care is a consuming pox on the rest of responsible society who work and pay bills and strive to secure the basic comfort and health of their own families.
This country was made strong and delightfully varied by legal immigration. Dedicated people with a dream of a better life saw an opportunity here, and gave up their own national allegiances through expatriation to become melded into American society. They were willing to pay a price for that distinction.
Message to the rest of the world: the United States of America is a sovereign nation. It does not belong to you. You have no claim on its resources, markets, revenue or peoples. We are not some public park where everyone can come free of charge, stay as long as they want, trash the place and exhaust its resources, and then call it your own after a certain period of being squatters.
The Land of the Free is not the Land Free for the Taking.
Getting back to the American Dream, one person’s “free stuff” is another person’s freedom revoked. That’s what compulsory income redistribution constitutes. Before any of us supports more of these great-sounding ideas or the idiots who propagate them, please pause a moment to remember the “no free lunch” truth.
Image: Originally posted to Flickr as free 'sweet' hugs; author: Jesslee Cuizon; Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license