It was only after a visit to Communist Czechoslovakia to visit family that I began to appreciate freedom, the Constitution and the opportunities afforded me by virtue of my birth in America. My quality of life and standard of living stood out in stark contrast to my family’s priorities of subsisting, enduring restrictions and penalties on endeavors not approved by the government. America was born not by accident but conceived by deliberate design to guarantee freedom and liberty and to create an environment that nurtures creativity, self-reliance and responsibility. It is not by accident that America generated the highest standard of living on the planet.
There is no doubt, however, that change is taking place. Instead of measuring the success of welfare programs by the decrease of participants, we promote, advertise and encourage participation in expanding entitlement programs. This environment nurtures dependency, disincentivizes self-reliance and personal responsibility and punishes success by limiting income and affluence. Guaranteed sustenance from a beneficent master creates dependency and a comfort zone with a false sense of security. For the recipients, choosing self-reliance and self-sufficiency is not a priority; they are free from freedom.
Redistribution of wealth sounds like a noble goal. It arises from the political notion that property is social, not individual. For over 100 years we have been conditioned to accept the theory that government can legitimately and justly tax and regulate for the sake of society because all property, including all persons and their wealth, lie at the government’s disposal. If a person does not own what he or she produces, then who does? If everyone owns everything and everyone’s wealth collectively, there will be continual conflicts about who gets what.
The economic crisis cannot be ended without resolving the question of property rights. The incentive to produce and preserve wealth will deteriorate. Income and job opportunities will decline. We must protect and respect all citizens’ property rights in the wealth and income they generate, recognizing they rightly own what they produced-—not other people, not society, not the government, not the state.