Can America become socialist?
With the rise of socialists in the Democratic Party, the hot topic of discussion is, "Can America become socialist?" Thomas Sowell, in a recent interview on Fox Business said:
"I do have a great fear, that in the long run, we may not make it. I hate to say that. And the one thing that keeps me from being despairing is, of course, we don't know. There's so many things we can't possibly know and so we may make it ... but I wouldn't bet on it."
Sowell is right: we are marching toward socialism, with every government promise of "free stuff."
The antidote to socialism is freedom. Unfortunately, the great majority of people, in both parties, don't have the basic, fundamental understanding of what freedom and socialism are.
Unlimited government inevitably leads to a reduction in individual action. The guarantees of "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," are obviously curtailed as government power increases. It can't be any other way.
Take a look at the following diagram:
The vertical orange line, "I can do anything I want," is the simple definition of freedom. The place you can do anything you want, though, is alone in nature. Here, life is brutal. To protect from the arbitrary brutality of nature, mankind began to form groups. Once groups formed, rules were made. To stay in a group, rules must be obeyed. Looking at the descending line (hypotenuse), one can see that as rules increase, individual action decreases. The decrease can continue until the government has total control over the individual.
Freedom is a tradeoff: you can't do anything you want, but neither can the government do anything it wants to you. A government is limited by the invention we call a Constitution. In the diagram, the Constitution is represented by a box. Within the box are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Under socialism, people live outside the box, under the arbitrary power of unlimited government. This is where the people of Venezuela are living. This is where the people of Cuba are living. My Chinese friends told me they are living outside the box and they don't want to.
Why is it so important to stay within the box? The answer is, you only get one chance at life. Where do you want to spend yours?
The eventual move to arbitrary, unlimited government was what our founders feared most. The republics that had come before, Benjamin Franklin noted, "were formed with the seeds of their own dissolution." They failed to keep government limited. If we fail to understand the need for limited government, our own dissolution, which Thomas Sowell fears, is a sure bet.