It is the Fourth of July. We shot fireworks last weekend and will watch them again tonight. Star-spangled banners wave from poles, cars, and houses. Here in Washington D.C., the fifes and drums will play as balloons, military units, and top-hatted Uncle Sams on stilts march down Constitution Avenue.
All this in celebration of independence from Great Britain and freedom from tyranny.
But what does freedom in America mean today?
John M. wrote us early Monday morning…
Thanks for publishing this 21st Century answer for Thomas Paine.
Mr. O’Rourke, this paper is welcome ammunition to counter the socialist movement that seems so virulent due to a sympathetic media and entertainment industry. Sometimes we just have to laugh as we shake our heads in astonishment at the new heights to which liberalism and Marxists rise. The battle to take earned wealth out of our pockets and distribute it to “the less fortunate” is never ending. Whether we like it or not…
We agree, John, and we thank you for the comparison. We laugh, shake our heads, and hope that we never experience true “fairness.”
You only need to make about $34,000 in income to get into the Occupy Wall Street’s dread “One Percent” category compared with the rest of the world, according to a World Bank economist. And if you have more than $2,220 in your bank account, you’re wealthier than half of the world’s citizens according to the 2016 Global Wealth Report from Credit Suisse Research Institute.
By simply being Americans, we are a long way past what would be fair on a global scale.
And none of that would likely be true without Thomas Paine’s Common Sense…
Published in January 1776, it was a spark that fanned the flames of revolution. Paine strove for simplicity – talking directly to the average American rather than in complicated jargon for academics, lawyers, and politicians. He made the case for freedom from Great Britain. And that summer, the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence… and the war began.
Between those two documents, Adam Smith published Wealth of Nations… a book that transformed the world much like the American Revolution changed our nation.
Editor in Chief P.J. O’Rourke narrows those 900-plus pages down into about 2,000 words in an essay for our next American Consequences magazine, due out later this month. He writes:
Smith argues three basic principles and, by plain reasoning and plentiful examples (sometimes very plentiful examples), he proves them. Even intellectuals should have no trouble understanding Smith’s ideas.
Economic progress depends upon three individual liberties: The pursuit of self-interest. The division of labor. And the freedom of trade.
These three foundational ideas are at the economic root of everything that is good about the United States.
Socialism, of course, puts a sickle-and-hammer into the gears of each of those three individual liberties. But when we look at the U.S. government, we see plenty of made-in-America wrenches.
It doesn’t seem like it will take much for populism to win in November… and perhaps in 2020, too. The promises that these politicians will make aren’t secrets.
They’re already being talked about in liberal think tanks and top universities like Harvard and Yale. For example, earlier this year the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College examined what would happen if the U.S. government simply canceled the $1.4 trillion in outstanding student debt.
It’s going to be a new, fair America starting in 2020, politicians will say. With free college… free health care… and free money. These promises will essentially guarantee that the next president of the United States will be far more radical than any before.
What will be the cost of this government-mandated freedom?
And who will pay it?
We suspect that it will be us… you… and every other American with a retirement account, a paid-off house, or a business.
Happy Independence Day.
Inflation in this socialist nation is now nearing 50,000%. You’d need to carry 20 pounds of bolivars with you to buy a coffee.
A cup of coffee now costs one million bolivars in Caracas… Two years ago, when we launched the Bloomberg Cafe Con Leche Index, a coffee cost 450 bolivars.And in Mexico, the popularity of populism has never been higher…
Supporters see him as the only hope for cleaning up Mexican politics and critics view him as a messianic populist… [His] proposals center on increased social spending and public investment, including a public-works program to employ 2.3 million young people, grants to 300,000 university students, and a plan to double the amount of money older people receive as retirement pensions.Of course, surely that couldn’t happen here… Just don’t look too closely at the New York candidate for Congress.
Socialists rise through the ranks of the political world by selling promises of easy living – by basically sucking up to the lowest denominator of human kind and tossing out the victim card whenever and wherever possible.But keep in mind, this war isn’t a new one… it has been going on for some time.
On one side are the honest people who try to get along… by doing win-win deals with each other… On the other side are the crooks, scoundrels… and the jackasses – parasites who try to do well without doing good.And there are a lot of Millennials for whom socialism looks appealing:
DSA has undergone a renaissance of sorts in the Trump era, ballooning in size from some 5,000 members in November 2016 to 40,000 nationwide.What do you think?
Most voters fear that political violence is coming from opponents of the president’s policies, just as they did in the second year of Barack Obama’s presidency, and nearly one-in-three think a civil war is next.And on a lighter note, this is the craziest example of government overreach we’ve read in a while…
When she arrived at the Doraville, Georgia, courthouse, Brucker said she was placed before a judge and prosecutor who accused her of violating city code – because of cracks in her driveway. She was fined $100 and sentenced to six months criminal probation, even though this was the first time she was made aware her driveway was considered a problem.
Have a better example? Tell us at [email protected].
With P.J. O’Rourke and the American Consequences Editorial Staff
July 4, 2018