The Quinessential Question

I referenced a recent Rasmussen poll earlier that showed only 53% of Americans think capitalism is the way to go, but I wanted to dig into that some more because I think it is absolutely critical, and at the root of the problems in America today.

Bobby Eberle at GOPUSA wrote the following about this poll. This is long, but outstanding stuff, so read it all (emphasis mine):

America is a great nation, not by luck or chance or geography, but because of the American spirit… the belief that we can accomplish anything if we work hard. Those who fought to create this new country believed in limited government with unlimited potential for its citizens. Capitalism was the key. By letting free markets work and keeping government out of the way, Americans have the opportunity to grow as much as their drive, determination, and intellect will take them. That is the American way.

As we all know, the American way is under attack. It is under attack not from organizations like Al Qaeda or the Taliban and not from countries like Russia or China. It is under attack from within… from those elements that seek to bring America down through socialist policies. With the combination of liberal bombardment at most of America’s universities, a left-wing media, and a federal government led by Obama, Pelosi, and Reid, we face a challenge like never before. It is socialism vs. capitalism, and socialism is gaining ground…

In a stunning new poll released by Scott Rasmussen, the pollster asked a simple question, “Which is a better system — capitalism or socialism?” In response, only 53% of American adults said capitalism. Yes, that’s a majority, but this is America, right? The number should be much higher.

Twenty percent of the respondents said socialism is better, while 27% were not sure. Not sure? Do these people have no grasp of the countries that have turned to socialism? Check out this classic video by economist Milton Freidman:

What is really scary is to look at poll results below the surface. As Rasmussen tells us in his report, adults under 30 are “essentially divided: 37% prefer capitalism, 33% socialism, and 30% are undecided.” This is truly frightening. For those under 30, it’s basically a toss up? Capitalism, socialism… socialism, capitalism… who cares? That is the attitude, and it’s one that will drive this country to ruin.

When looking at the poll results from a partisan perspective the differences are clear. As Rasmussen notes, “Republicans — by an 11-to-1 margin — favor capitalism. Democrats are much more closely divided: Just 39% say capitalism is better while 30% prefer socialism. As for those not affiliated with either major political party, 48% say capitalism is best, and 21% opt for socialism.”

It seems clear to me that many people simply don’t understand what they are asking for. In their zeal to turn away from Republicans for their broken promises of less spending and smaller government, they turned to a group of leaders bent on destroying the foundations of America. Now, we have a president who wants to spend, spend, tax, institute social programs, and tell the world that America is not so special. And we have a Congress that is more than willing to help.

In a well-written piece published in 1999 by the Heritage Foundation, author Balint Vazsonyi does a terrific job explaining the American way and the path to socialism. Vazsonyi describes the “Constitutional compass” which has the following four points: Rule of Law, Individual Rights, Guarantee of Property, and Common Identity.

Here is how it works. Every time somebody proposes a new law, a new statute, or an executive order, you ask whether it passes muster when held against the standard of the Four Points. The answers are easy, because either they do or they don’t. If they don’t, then they have no place in the United States of America. Without that compass, what would make us American?

Vazsonyi goes on to describe “the other compass,” one that is being seen more and more in American society. It is one in which the four points of the Constitutional compass give way to four others: “the pursuit of social justice; instead of individual rights, it promotes group rights; instead of the guarantee of property, it advocates redistribution through entitlements; and in place of our common American identity, it favors what it calls multiculturalism.”

The new compass, comprised of social justice, group rights, redistribution, and multiculturalism has a name, and that name is socialism.

Socialism, I believe, is the appropriate, scholarly, utterly unemotional designation of a grand philosophical idea in Western civilization. Ever since Descartes started thinking about thinking, and other French philosophers followed in the 18th century, and then Germans picked it up where the French had left off, socialism has been in the making. For a long time, then, socialism has been with us as “the other grand idea” of Western civilization, and it will remain with us as long as there is an “us.”

It deserves to be taken seriously, and it needs to be engaged on philosophical grounds. In every sense of the word, it holds the opposite view of everything this country was built on.

Investors Business Daily also recently put out a poll showing the numbers of Americans who embrace a socialistic agenda. With the government and the media bombarding Americans on the virtue of income redistribution, government-run health care, and on and on, it’s now wonder this mindset is starting to sink in.

We have to do a better job of letting America know what the “American way” really is and reveal the true agenda of Obama and his cohorts. As Vazsonyi notes in his report, “Millions of ordinary Americans appear to have accepted, and to be promoting, the socialist agenda. There is every reason to believe that many minds would be changed if they were brought face-to-face with socialism as the doctrine they are following and advocating.”

I can’t help but be sad and frustrated that the Republicans helped contribute to the state we are in now. People are turning to socialism simply because they wanted “change.” Yet, they have no idea what that change really means. The Republicans were in control and had the opportunity to really set forward a conservative agenda that is based on the principle of capitalism. Yet the lure of big government and power stalled the movement. Policies that gave us even more spending and more government were the result.

We are at a crossroads, and we must fight to get America back on track. The American way is not an easy way. No one ever said it was. It’s not about what the government can give you. The government can’t give a person ANYTHING that it does not first take away from someone else. The American way is about respecting the rights of the individual and promoting an economic and political system that has opportunity for all. Obama may be ashamed of that America, but it’s the America I believe in. Don’t you?

I certainly do! Eberle encapsulates all of the major points I’ve been trying to make for months on this blog, and Milton Friedman puts the question into proper perspective very effectively.

Another person who explains this situation like none other is Rush Limbaugh. He recently spoke of this subject in a way that really illustrated what self-interest is and why it is important.

He goes on to put the concept of self-interest into the context of Obama’s actions and policies:

No one is better than Limbaugh at defining conservatism, and that’s what he does here. Conservatism is all about empowering the individual, in terms of both freedom and responsibility. Liberalism is precisely the opposite, empowering a central government to make all decisions and do all things for everyone.

Conservatism is what made America great, preserves freedom in the world, and stands for concepts like ‘liberty and justice for all’ and a right to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’. Liberalism stands against all of these things, and is rearing its ugly head right now in ways we haven’t seen in a very, very long time, more strongly than ever before.

This, then, is the quintessential question facing Americans right now: which do you choose? Socialism, or capitalism? Individual, or collective? Freedom, or slavery?

Make your choice, or it will be made for you.

There’s my two cents.


I'm a gun-owning, Bible-thumping, bitter clinger conservative in the heartland. You can disagree with me if you want (you do, after all, have a right to be wrong)...just don't be rude or stupid and we'll get along just fine! :)

Posted in Core Principle - Defining Conservatism, General Politics, Leaning Left

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