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Why Do So Many People Think the American Experiment is Over?

February 11, 2016

My nephew challenges me on Facebook as the heavyweight champion liberal to my… well he doesn’t get what I really am, but he thinks I’m a GOP conservative, which I am not, but it fits his talking points to do so. It can be a learning experience, sure, but it also seems to me that many people are ready to call the Great Experiment a failure.  Too many voices want America to be like every other nation.

I’d like America to be like America again. It hasn’t been like America for… well truthfully, ever.

The Grand Experiment was freedom. Free markets, equal opportunity, essential government, weak Federal and strong State governments, and rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – in short, the American Dream where everyone lived off the sweat of their brow.

Unfortunately, we began in compromise. Allowing slavery was an affront to All Men Are Created Equal. The times had already been changing, but for pragmatic reasons, the first papas didn’t get it right.

Further, while Franklin knew democracy could only work for a moral people, they added checks and balances to mitigate political immorality, but couldn’t do much about human immorality.

Free markets for angelic people will work. We don’t have any of those, so some regulation is required.

So, if the founders had abolished slavery up front, enacted basic laws to protect workers and hamper greed, they would have had an otherwise good environment for the Great Experiment. That is a gentleman political class instead of a professional political class, a weak Federal government and stronger State governments.

Funny how the failure to end slavery cost us, in a practical sense, the nation. Had there been no slaves, there would not have been a Civil War. Without the Civil War, Federalism wouldn’t have been enacted. I can’t guess what would have happened with civil rights. Maybe it would have kicked off earlier.

Because of slavery, though, we can’t look at the early years of America as “successful.”  Work conditions were appalling to our modern eye, but they were much better than in our peer nations. Still some regulation and some strong watchdogging was in order, but it didn’t exist.  Federal government needed to be a bit stronger, but not what it morphed into.

Later, the professional political class took over, and pretty much all hope was gone.

Our system is broken. Tax, entitlement, legal, law enforcement, all of it is broken.  Should we throw it out and become like the socialist countries?  No.

If I thought there was any moral leaders left, I’d say, let’s go back to the drawing board.  Write The American Dream in big letters. And understand what our society has forgotten. The American Dream WILL crush people. It will make some people wealthy and others poor. The wealthy will be business owners. The vast majority, those willing to learn and work, will be the middle class.  Those unable or unwilling to learn and work will be the lower class.

Looking at the lower class, the difference between unwilling and unable is vast.  The Unable need to be taken care of; the Unwilling need to be re-educated and re-cultured to become willing. If the Unwilling refuse, and truly aren’t unable, then they don’t eat. Ship ‘em off to socialist countries. Harsh, I know.

So at the board, list the broken things, map how they fit together into the whole, and come up with actual solutions.  That will include necessary regulation to keep dishonest people honest.  Perhaps incentives to make sure business owners take care of their employees.  I’d recommend a huge non-profit net of organizations who bring visibility to business activities.  Endorsements mean they are good employers.

We should not abandon the Great Experiment. We CAN incentivize sharing of wealth, but not force it. We should continue to honor competition and not forced redistributions of resources. We should be good shepherds of the natural world and our natural resources.  We should focus on empowering people to achieve.

Our culture has slipped into cultural morass, valuing the wrong things.  Much of it is on our own shoulders.  Another Great Enlightenment would be wonderful. A strong visionary leader espousing shared commitment and strong values would be effective.

Let’s not abandon America, let’s really try it for the first time.

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