By Nancy Thorner and Bonnie O’Neil –
Yesterday the 4th of July was celebrated nationwide with picnics, parades, and firework displays. Of great concern is that too many within America’s younger generation have no idea what is actually being celebrated on Independence Day. Somewhat redeeming is the result of a 2016 American Enterprise Institute (AEI) opinion study. Fifty-six percent of those polled said they were very proud to be American citizens, which actually put our country more than midway down in the “highest response” category. Even so, over half of American citizens love our country and are not reluctant to say so.
Most Americans understand the importance of liberty, but not all can explain what it actually means.
“We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others, the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name – liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names – liberty and tyranny.”
The Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln edited by Roy P. Basler, Volume VII, “Address at Sanitary Fair, Baltimore, Maryland” (April 18, 1864), p. 301-302.
The Ten Cannots
An outspoken political conservative, Rev. Boetcker, is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of a pamphlet entitled The Ten Cannots, which was originally published in 1916 and sometimes falsely attributed to Abraham Lincoln. The pamphlet emphasizes freedom and responsibility of the individual himself. Sadly, some of these “cannots” have become standard progressive thinking which is being promoted by the liberal Democratic Party, which are listed below for your consideration:
1. You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
2. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
3. You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
4. You cannot encourage the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.
5. You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
6. You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
7. You cannot build character and courage by taking away man’s initiative and independence.
8. You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
“Socialism” no longer a dirty word
Fast forward to the current 2016 presidential campaign where throngs of young people cheered loudly for avowed 74-year old Bernie Sanders, a self-described Socialist, running for president of the United States as a Democrat. This man once proudly defended Communist dictatorships across the world.
In America, for the first time in nearly a century, socialism is not a dirty word or a shunned label, but instead is treated as a benign economic system that is more equitable and fair than capitalism. This is particularly the thinking of voters under 30. A Pew poll from June 2015 shows a staggering 69 percent of voters under 30 who express a willingness to vote for a Socialist for president of the United States, well before Sanders’ electoral successes in the early Democratic primaries.
It is interesting that America’s senior citizens understand Socialism to be associated with Communism, such as that which they experienced with the Soviet Union and the Cold War. What created this gap in thinking? For seniors their opinion is based on having lived through the threat of the Cold War and its final end, which was the result of the Soviet Union collapsing for a myriad of reasons, largely associated with its failed form of government.
What has caused the Millennials in our country to have a different opinion of Socialism? The cause is largely due to the failure of our nation’s education system. School books, professors, teachers, etc. no longer accurately define the superiority of America’s governing system nor provide the horror that results from once great countries who fell into Socialist and/or Communist style governments.
How close is this nation to discarding the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and instead embracing the lure of Socialism? The massive crowds promoting Bernie Sanders should be a warning signal. That both Sanders and Clinton lean so far to the Left should send chills rather than thrills even up Chris Mathews’ leg.
Communism Contrasted by the Virtues and Strengths of a Free Society
In order to stop the creeping socialism in America, one must first understand the evils and deficiencies of communism and contrast them with the virtues and strengths of a free society provide by our forefathers and propelled America into greatness. Four comparisons are noted:
SHOULD EDUCATION BE CENTRALLY CONTROLLED?
What Americans believe:
Education is best controlled when it is in the hands of local boards, responsive to the wishes of the parents and the community. The goal of education is to produce an intelligent, moral, and self-reliant citizenship. Education must be free from propaganda and must prepare the student to exercise his proper share of control over his government.
What Communists believe:
Education must be controlled by the Central government. Individual will be indoctrinated to follow, without question, the dictates of the Socialist state. The thought content of all studies must be filtered through specific basic requirements. Individualism is the enemy of the people, therefore the student must be regimented and taught to accept all decisions of government regarding his place in the State and economy.
FREEDOM OF THOUGHT — NATIONAL SAFEGUARD OR DANGER?
What Americans believe:
To be strong and enduring, a nation must be composed of citizens who are free to think for themselves. In no other way can people fully utilize their imagination, resourcefulness and capacity for progress. The freedom to explore new ideas is one of the most basic of freedoms. When filtered through a sound code of morality the good ideas are separated from the bad, not immediately perhaps, but in time to prevent serious damage.
What Communists believe:
To be strong and enduring a nation must be controlled by intellectuals who instruct the people in thinking in accordance with government policies. Free thought leads to dangerous conclusions not in keeping with Communist doctrine, while controlled thought builds national unity.
IS LOVE OF FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND GOD “OLD FASHIONED”?
What Americans Believe:
That in our way of life there are many things, many blessings that have no base in materialism — love of home, love of family, patriotism, loyalty to friends, and devotion to God. These are all integral parts of American heritage and give satisfaction and happiness.
What Communists Believe:
That everything is material — if you can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. The government must teach the people that love of home, and family, and loyalty to friends are secondary to anything which furthers the progress of Communism. The people must discard God. Materialism is the “be all” and “end all” of Communist endeavor.
JUSTICE — THE LAWS OF MANY OR OF A FEW?
What Americans Believe:
That the accepted standards of justice are the laws which have been formulated through hundreds of years of man’s struggle to find a reliable code. They find expression in the law of the land and in our great heritage of common law. These laws are clearly promulgated. Justices in our system are sworn to live up to this law and not to impose their own arbitrary standards of judgment. Thus, we are a government ruled by established laws and not a government of men.
That the proper and final test of right and wrong is “does it serve the ultimate Communist purpose? If it does, it is good; if it does not, it is bad. With this cornerstone of justice, if any law exists that interferes with the goal, it is conveniently by-passed. Arbitrary decisions by superiors overrule the law. Rule of man satisfies the Communist need, not rule of law.
Are Americans in the process of losing their nation little by little? You be the judge. Sadly, many Americans make their decision based on whatever media source they use, which often is far from fair or balanced. Many vote for a candidate based solely on their ethnicity, color, or campaign promises they rarely keep.
It is far safer to evaluate candidates on facts, such as what they have already accomplished verses their failures. Also, the specific Party to which they are affiliated holds a big key as to how they will govern, who they will pick for their administration, and which justices they will nominate for the Superior Court.
America’s form of government allows the people to pick their leaders; the question is will they use this precious gift to discern the best person, one who will absolutely honor our Constitution and system of laws
[Originally published at Illinois Review]
NOTE: This article is dedicated by the authors to the memory of Elizabeth Clark of Lake Forest, IL, who died Saturday, July 2. Elizabeth was 98 years old and most of those 98 years were dedicated to encouraging patriotism. She loved America, its rich heritage and amazing opportunities which allowed prosperity and a good life for its citizens. She saw and experienced much in her long lifetime, both good and bad, which provided her with the unique advantage of knowing which changes are probably advantageous and which ones will most likely end badly. She did her best to share this information and her thoughts with all who would listen.