In the last four months, I have had the honor and the privilege of watching a group of almost fifty college students from around the world start a project that promotes truth and prosperity. But perhaps the most entertaining bit thus far for me has been reading the “well-off privileged white people” (see snapshot below and note the ethnicity of the poster) comments from disgruntled readers. If, by “well-off, privileged white person,” you mean that I live above the poverty line, have a roof over my head, have food to eat, and have European ancestors, then yes, I am. But then again, that description fits a very heavy portion of the American population (including the poster). When people who can’t think disagree with no basis for their argument, they revert to name-calling, labeling, and categorizing.
The type of attitude reflected above typifies the American Left’s obsession with class and equality. Class warfare is much more prevalent than many would care to admit, but, what is that barrier that really divides the political groups in America? Is it racism? Income level? Religion? I don’t believe so. I believe the actual discrepancy in societal views in America is much more complex than a simple surface label.
A few months ago, I attended a conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, in which Dr. David Smith from Baylor University introduced an idea that made more sense than anything I’ve ever heard in politics. He said — and I paraphrase — that Americans define ‘liberty’ and ‘equality’ as American ideals; however, they are fundamentally opposite each other. He’s right. In fact, I’ll take it one further than Dr. Smith: America no longer strives for and reveres liberty, but rather idolizes equality.
Liberty is the inherent ability of a man to choose his destiny. The Declaration of Independence calls for “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Never does it call for equality. Did Patrick Henry say, “give me equality or give me death!”? Have you ever been to New York City to see the Statue of Equality? America wasn’t founded on equality, it was founded on liberty; the difference between having the ability to choose (liberty) and not having the opportunity to excel above others (equality) is enormous. Somewhere in our historical journey, Americans stopped pursuing Lady Liberty and started chasing an old leathery hag named Equality. If the Founding Fathers ever had equality in mind, it was equality of opportunity. Yes, all men are created equal. What they do with their lives after that point (rightfully and naturally) makes them less equal.
C.S. Lewis once explored the political ideal that the idea of equal treatment and opportunity for all is oftentimes twisted into a factual belief that all men are equal, therefore making inequality itself, undemocratic. One could easily translate this same passage to fit the history of politics in the United States. For centuries, people have flocked here to escape oppression, poverty, and death. Why? America embodies pursuit of liberty, which is an inherent desire of every man, woman, and child who has ever walked this planet.
America has replaced a strong, opportunistic, exceptional nation with a nation of apologetic, complaining progressives who promote ideas inherently antithetical to the existence of a nation like America. Conservative college students believe that this indoctrination originates in the classroom. It starts with professors that call pro-traditional marriage supporters “Nazis.” It continues with professors that implore students to imprison people who make “too much profit” in their businesses and defend those who demand government benefits for nothing. The college classroom has become ground zero for class warfare.
We don’t need progressive ideas and a big government to return to prosperity and full employment here in the United States. We need a return to personal responsibility, self-reliance, and the ability to choose how we pursue the American Dream. The only difference between a conservative and a liberal is that one sees problems with historical glasses and the other dreams of unrealistic utopian solutions to the same problems.
Zachary Freeman, Editor-in-Chief | @freeman_zachary
This story was originally posted on December 4th, 2011.