Are We “Better Off”? Depends on Perspective
We’ve heard some bold statements made this week at the DNC. Many were so far left they seemed dreamlike… as though we were in a parallel universe where all logic, reason, and facts didn’t apply. Yet, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to analyze statements like, “Government is the only thing that we all belong to”(1), which falls into the same category as other recent leftist rhetoric from the POTUS like, “You didn’t build that”. Thinking people know this is simply failed “progressive” banter.
However, we also heard a lot of talk about Americans being “better off” (2) over the last four years. This is worthy of some examination.Of course this begs the question, are we “better off” compared to what, by whom, using what guidelines and principles?
Robbers, for example, having completed successful robberies, are better off … at least until they are caught. Some politicians, bureaucrats, and crony capitalists are “better off” after their pet laws and crony deals are passed as they receive accolades and “apparent” power … at least until they are removed from office or jailed. And, some non-producers are better off as they receive more and more funds re-distributed by the State from producers. They are “better off,” at least, until they are completely enslaved to a welfare system and lose self-esteem, self-respect, and any hope of escape. (Excluding those who truly need assistance due to health, mental disorders, and so forth.) They are “better off” until the system collapses and there are no producers to pay the bills.
Being “better off” is really about perspective, isn’t it? The real question is, then, “Are we better off via conscientious, ethical production, or via criminal theft, or government tyranny?”
Let’s look at being better off, then, from the perspective of what’s most important via conscientious, ethical production. To be better off in any category of human existence, one first must have freedom or liberty to enjoy any prosperity attainable. I would like to believe a majority of Americans still know, deep down, they are better off when they have the most LIBERTY to pursue their own dream and vision of happiness. This is the American DNA. Most know this to be a foundational principle of our American heritage.
I would like to believe most Americans know this principle has produced the greatest prosperity for the most, in human history. America’s poorest have the highest standard of living compared to the poor of any other nation. Liberty has also enabled America to be the greatest charitable nation in the world by a factor of ten. And, more have escaped the bonds of poverty in America to achieve success than in any other nation in the history of the world. Liberty works and most know this even if they have been confused by the deceptive double-speak advertising of the “progressive” movement. I hope most get it … deep down.
Americans who do understand this greatest value proposition know, without hesitation, that trading liberty for the impossible promised goals of “security”, “happiness”, or “equality”, is a fool’s game. They know they are better off when their property — their being and physical property — is not under siege by the State. They know they are better off — if they did nothing else in their lifetimes — when they are able to hand liberty on to their children, into perpetuity. Americans who know what they have been given in liberty, cherish it. They know this is the only time in human history that a nation was created “for and by the people”. Americans who understand liberty, know they are blessed if they have nothing else.
However, generations spoiled by material prosperity in America have lost understanding of the relative value of liberty. Like others’ before, this understanding may be lost until, sadly, they are once again under the boot of tyranny. Given we have had the blessing of liberty for many decades, many American’s focus has been material wealth and gain. Although there is nothing wrong with reward for productivity — in fact it is necessary to sustain liberty — it is not the highest-level value. For without liberty it is nearly impossible to prosper.
Having looked at this question from the perspective of what’s most important, individual liberty, when I ask myself, “Am I better off?” than four years ago, I must answer that I am not. And, neither is my my family, many industries, or America as a nation. Our liberties have been eroded more and more, and most greatly over the last four years. Our liberty to self-determine, to contract with whomever we please, to move about freely, to defend our person and property, to criticize the government, to do with our property as we choose, to have privacy of thought and belief, as well as our rights to privacy and due-process, have all been diminished. And as Patrick Henry summed it best after the Colonies had lived under the tyranny of the Crown for 165 years, “Give me liberty or give me death.” Without liberty, all other gain is meaningless to a free people. For this most important value, I am not, and nor do I believe we as Americans are, better off.
Now that we have the most important “better off” discussion out of the way … are we better off in an economic, business, social, security, or political sense? The answer here is much more obvious if one is not in the government or criminal theft business … no. We are not better off. The statistics are easy to find, and a bore to repeat … again and again. Objective minds understand the deteriorating conditions in which we find ourselves.
Are YOU better off? This is an individual question which only you can answer based upon your understanding of what you value. If you value liberty I believe your answer will also be no. If you desire others’ property without working to pay for it via honest exchange, your answer may be yes. If you’ve had individual success that is not typical in today’s marketplace, you may be better off … and congratulations! However, as far as pure economic performance indicators? We’re not better off. As far as social standards? We’re not better off. As far as sustaining our liberties? We’re not better off. Politically? We’re in hell.
Save Liberty. Abolish Tyranny.