You know, I’m almost a Democrat. Almost.
Like many Democrats, I was against the Iraq war, I loath neo-Conservatism, and when it comes to social issues, I tend to be more liberal. Furthermore, the Democrats have produced fantastic presidents like Andrew Jackson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman. On top of that, the Democrats are amazing, charismatic speakers that really know how to inspire a crowd (and as an English major, I love me some good rhetoric!).
But after living in Russia (1 year in Vladivostok and 6 months in Moscow), and seeing, first hand, the negative consequences of socialist policies, I simply cannot stomach the philosophy of redistributing the wealth.
And Democrats have whole-heartedly embraced this philosophy. At the 2012 Democratic Convention, Bill Clinton said this:
[President Obama] has laid the foundation for a new, modern, successful economy of shared prosperity. And if you will renew the president’s contract, you will feel it. You will feel it. (Cheers, applause.)
Folks, whether the American people believe what I just said or not may be the whole election. I just want you to know that I believe it. With all my heart, I believe it. (Cheers, applause.)
Now, why do I believe it?
I’m fixing to tell you why. I believe it because President Obama’s approach embodies the values, the ideas and the direction America has to take to build the 21st-century version of the American Dream: a nation of shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, shared prosperity, a shared sense of community.
“Shared” prosperity. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
See, I would almost—almost!—agree with the Democrats. It sounds so wonderful, but I know what it means. It means creating legislation to take things from other people.
You’ll hear their mantra over and over: protect the middle class, tax the wealthy. The wealthy need to pay their “fair” share.
I find that philosophy so strange when compared to the pride Democrats take in protecting and defending minorities. They talk so much about ending discrimination, yet they’re flagrantly discriminatory toward people they perceive to be wealthy.
Let me ask this: where does it all end? Say we allow our government to heavily tax the wealthy in order to achieve this dream of “shared prosperity.” Well, what happens when the government starts to tax people that perceive themselves to be middle class or poor? Suddenly, those being taxed will start complaining about “rights” and property. But at that point, it will be too late. The argument of “shared prosperity” will have already been established. The government will have “the right” to share your prosperity.
Look, this is not a defense of the wealthy (because wealth doesn’t interest me). I’m not saying capitalism is perfect (because it isn’t). Nor am I saying that capitalism is ideal (because it certainly isn’t!). But it’s the best economic system that we have because it gives us freedom to choose. The ideal would be for us to choose to be a nation of shared opportunities; to choose to share our responsibilities; to choose to share our prosperity.
The antithesis of that ideal is to be compelled and coerced—through laws, legislation and force—to do those things. That’s not sharing, that’s not giving, that’s not charity—that’s theft and bullying.
Again, capitalism is FAR from the ideal economic model. Those in the Occupy movement consider it oppressive. But I would ask that we think of an economic solution that is better than creating laws that allow us to take things from other people. Otherwise we would be no better than our supposed oppressors.
In any case, if you don’t believe that socialism has negative consequences just look at its effect in post-Soviet Russia.
That is what happens when you force people to “share” prosperity.
And that is why I’m an Independent and not a Democrat.
“We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt