Government dependency is a funny thing. It seems like it would be something that people, especially Americans, would want to avoid; and for a large part of our nation’s history, it was avoided. We decided that hard work, perseverance, and self-reliance were the keys to success and happy lives. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that this is just simply no longer the case. The amount of Americans that depend on the government for various methods of “help” is higher than it has ever been before. Although there are a number of different reasons behind this change in mindset, I believe Dinesh D’Souza indirectly pointed one of them out in his most recent book, Godforsaken.

 In this book, Dinesh writes about suffering. He explains that throughout his experiences debating leading atheists, such as the late Christopher Hitchens, he realized that a major reason for the lack of faith among these people is their unwillingness to accept that an all-powerful and benevolent God could allow suffering. This is not an atheist-only problem, however. Dinesh explains how the problem of suffering is very controversial topic among Christians.

At the very beginning of the book, Dinesh explains the difference in perception of suffering in different parts of the world. In many third world countries, suffering is seen as an inevitable part of daily life, and as a result, the sufferers become closer to God for the consolation he offers. Rather than blaming God for their suffering, they ask Him for comfort. The West is very different, however. Dinesh writes:

 “Outside the West, many people are habituated to suffering. That’s because they think it is inevitable. We don’t, and that’s a sign of progress. We have in our cultures greatly reduced suffering, and this means that we are very intolerant of what suffering still remains. In America and Europe, we have become almost pathologically averse to suffering. Unlike our ancestors, and people in the developing world, we regard suffering as having no legitimate place in the universe. Utopia, for us, is worth striving for.”

Indeed this must be a sign of progress. We have advanced so much as a society that true suffering (i.e. hunger, homelessness) is no longer seen as the only option in our lives. Rather than viewing a day without any meals as an unfortunate occurrence and turning to God for comfort and hope, we view our three daily meals as basic and understood. We have them because we have them.

There is nothing wrong with success and prosperity and no one (or nation) should ever apologize for accomplishments. However, those born into a nation of such prosperity in which true suffering is a tragedy rather than a recurring event must be careful.

Careful of what? Liberals, of course! Conservatives see this type of prosperity as positive. We see that minimal suffering was not simply granted to us at birth, but earned by our predecessors through character traits of hard work and determination that have been passed down to us. We realize that it is our responsibility and our duty to work harder than the previous generation so that the next generation will be subjected to even less suffering than us. We acknowledge that our success relies on this hard work, and without it, our success would vanish.

The liberal view is actually somewhat similar. Liberals see that we, as a society, are increasingly separating from suffering and resultantly try to find ways that will continue to lessen suffering for the next generation. However, rather than attempting to do this through our previously stated conservative ideals, liberals want to accomplish this through the perversion of the definition of suffering.

Because of the lack of exposure to it, liberals define suffering as any simple inconvenience rather than true distress. Suffering is anything negative that occurs, even if it is a result of poor choices or an unfortunate occurrence that is not any one person’s fault. So what happens when they attempt to liberate the future generations from their idea of suffering? The welfare state becomes reality in America. The distress of hard work is replaced with laziness and unemployment benefits that eliminate the incentive to work. The tyranny of self-reliance is replaced with government dependency. The torture of freedom is replaced with the helping hand of the government.

One only needs to look at the Occupy shenanigans (I refuse to call it a movement) for proof of this liberal flaw. The Occupiers would hang around in whatever city they happened to be in, holding signs that advocated for the death of capitalism and the rise of socialism. Not a surprise. These are the exact liberals that I have been describing. They have finally realized that they must work for money — that being dependent on the government is not necessarily a good thing, and that yes, other people may actually be more successful than you. Damn did that piss them off.

“I mean, come on! This is 2012, isn’t it? Shouldn’t such hardships as these been abolished by now?” the Occupiers think. Having never been exposed to any true suffering, any type of hardship or work is now a tragedy. For these people, even the slightest possibility of failure is, once again, considered to be suffering. Capitalism is then seen as the enemy, for it allows people to try and fail. The only way to abolish this remaining suffering is to implement policies that will inhibit anyone from having to deal with the suffering of honest failure. Socialism.

It’s amazing the difference in ideas between the conservative way and the liberal way as to how to prolong our minimally suffering society. Conservatives think hard work. Liberals think less work. Thank God we’re conservatives.

When we let liberals change the perception of our very own principles, bad things happen. They took religion and morality and construed it to the public as the evil Republican trying to impose his beliefs on others. They took our desire to keep our hard earned money and called it greed. They took our love of equal opportunity and hatred of equal outcome and called in unjust. They took our love of our country and called it selfish. When we let liberals mark our beliefs as something they are not, we are letting them win. We cannot let liberals label ideals like hard work and determination, the very foundation of our great country, as suffering. If we do, I can assure you that they will cease to exist, just as religion, morality, and patriotism already have under the liberal monster.

Daniel Pellegrino | Franklin and Marshall College | @DannPellegrino