Without liberty, we lose that which makes America unique among the nations of the world, in both the past and the present. It can hardly be said to be a coincidence that the most free people in the history of humanity have also become the most wealthy and powerful; but there are those who would wish to convince people that it was not our liberties which opened the door to prosperity…no, they would offer that prosperity was attained despite these freedoms. What a lucky break it has been, then, that the nation where its people are free to imagine something greater and free to expect a return for their labors are the people who have exercised tremendous ingenuity and an incredible work ethic…go figure. Imagine how many Steve Jobs, Henry Fords, or Nikola Teslas may have been lost to history in communal nations where it was the government’s job to determine people’s aptitudes or their worth to society and thus assign them their tasks?
A common argument (read: excuse) of the collectivists is that we are a product of our resources; and yes, we do have those in abundance relative to some nations. However, I would argue that our resources did not define us as a people; instead, we defined our resources. Upon the ratification of the Constitution, the framers did not find a map to resources with a multi-lingual set of instructions for how to develop machines and methods to utilize them. It was the liberty to develop, to invent, to discover, and ultimately to earn a reward for our labors that drove generations of Americans to develop those resources which would eventually increase the living standards of much of the entire planet. That is not inconsequential, nor is it coincidental; that is a staggering feat for the ultimate benefit of all of humanity.
I often ponder as to why our economic progress and achievements, due greatly to our level of freedom, is something to be ashamed of; particularly when we wonder why kids do not try to excel at school. Is there not a link between denigrating success and a dwindling amount of it? Perhaps instead of hiding from our prosperity, we should embrace the fact that we are the engine of advancement for the entire globe; then, just maybe the children of this generation and the next may return to aspiring for more and settling for nothing less than whatever it is their individual dreams may conjure. The true “arrogance” of America is to enjoy the fruits of labor and the results of our capitalist, free-market society (at least it used to be) while simultaneously acting as if those were not significant accomplishments.