In a few short hours it will be Independence Day, the 4th of July; in my opinion the single greatest holiday in the world, and the greatest in world history.
America has not only a birth: July 4, 1776, but a very well thought out day of founding: September 17, 1787. This is the day that America's Constitution was ratified. So many wonderful things have been written on this holiday, and I could literally spend the rest of my life writing on what makes America special and still not do it justice. The point of this post is to share my end of a comment exchange on facebook today.
A school chum of mine posted what I imagine he thought was nothing more than a rather common place dig at Obama's budget and spending policy. But whether it is the fact that we are two days away from the 4th of July, or because he has a number of leftist friends that are feeling a bit defensive that Obama is not the savior that they hoped he would be, my friend's simple status update turned into one of the largest facebook comment exchanges I've seen. Before I chimed in with my four comments, there was already north of fifty.
I have not done a tally but there seemed to a relatively even exchange between lefties (and Marxists), and people who actually love their country (no matter what their specific politics). What got my goat was one of the busiest responders was a mutual friend from high school. This friend is now a professor at a highly respected university, and refers to himself rather accurately as an Anarchist/Marxist.
The short of it is that things were being said, two days before my favorite holiday...things like America is an empire, no better than Ancient Rome, that the health care system in Sweden, Germany, and Norway should be used as examples for America, that building bridges and roads is at least as important as killing terrorists and defending America, etc, etc.
I honestly felt something inside of me snap...I do my best to limit my involvement in public discussions of this kind, because I am not a professional writer, and I have felt that I have not had the time to give the subject the due I think it deserves. To me, defending America, capitalism, and individualism in a public forum is one of the most sacred of honors, and one does not do such things lightly.
But on July 2nd, 20009, I decided to throw my hat into the ring and this is a highly edited version of my four comments:
I am happy to see a number of people here standing up for America. And it is most wonderful to see it happening two days before the greatest holiday in the world!
However, I'd like to respond to the claim that socialism is defined as "social control of the means of production". And that America still is, and has always been, a capitalist society. This is the Marxist view of politics; it is not mine, and more importantly it is not the only one.
To me, and I think the founders of this country would agree in essentials, that the American System and the political system called capitalism is best defined as "a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned." It is not Obama's wishy-washy view of property ownership that I take objection with, it is the complete disregard that the Left has for individual rights.
Property ownership is important, but just as important and more fundamental is America's respect and protection of individual rights. Not the rights of blacks, the rights of women, the rights of homosexuals, nor the rights of the poor...but the rights of every single individual as an individual human being. The rights of life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness; the rights of free speech, self-defense, property, jury trials, and my all time favorite: "Protection of rights not specifically enumerated in the Bill of Rights", i.e., the 9th amendment.
The American System was created to protect the rights of individuals not only from themselves, criminals, and foreign enemies, but that America first and foremost protected individuals form their own government. Obama and The Left want to dismiss all of this out of hand and say how America is no better, no different, than Ancient Rome, Colonial England, Communist Russia, or Marxist China.
America was and should be proudly remembered for being the best because it left individuals free to do whatever they wanted, it allowed for some to do nothing and some to become "Thomas Edison"...each free to do what they wanted with their life. But the guy who does nothing in America is made happier and richer than some of the richest individuals in Africa, Saudia Arabia, or Korea, by the "Edison's" America's system allows to succeed.
I personally would rather stand on my own two feet and be the poorest man in America than to live in a country that would shackle Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Bill Gates, J.J. Hill and tens of thousands of others to the limits of _my_ ability. I'd rather be poor in America, than rich in Cuba! I rather be "homeless" in America, than starving in Africa. I'd rather have no insurance in America than have all the government credits that a Swedish bureaucrat would decide I was worth.
Ayn Rand's definition of socialism, the one I hold, the one that should be used when thinking about President Barack Obama: "Socialism is the doctrine that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that his life and his work do not belong to him, but belong to society, that the only justification of his existence is his service to society, and that society may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good."
And by this definition the entirety of the left and most of the right are socialists. I do not know what is going to happen to the country I love, the country I would fight to death for if I thought it had a chance of existing again. But what we have today is not "America", what we have today is not capitalism, but instead some awful hash that is getting worse by the week.
I am not claiming the above as a complete argument, great writing, or even my best. The above is simply the most impassioned public statement I've made in quite some time. It is heartfelt, and rereading it made me well up. And for my celebration of the Fourth of July I thought it fitting to post this on my blog.