Sunday, July 4, 2010

The State of Liberty, Circa 2040, A Cautionary Tale

It is 2040. You are 17 and the world is about to break open for you, you feel sure. You may have struggles, true. But that world has possibilities, so you believe. Unfortunately, following a century-long tradition, Obama and his kind decided 30 years prior that the world is better when "we spread the wealth around," so your options are a choice between Charybdis and Scylla.

Your parents — a successful lobbyist and a solar panel engineer — played the game for your sake and were rewarded by those in power during your childhood. But the party they allied with is out of favor since last November.

You've just graduated with a good education from an elite high school (the public schools having all been reduced to literal day care clinics and indoctrination centers). But Dad and Mom's income taxes are being raised to 90%, retroactive to the date of your birth. As "advantaged couples," it's their moral obligation to pay for college for the offspring of a couple from the oppressed group du jour, you see, and that leaves none for you.

You might have made your own way without it, but small business and entrepreneurship are things of the past, a mere memory from a quaint time in America's past, like gum drop jars and soda fountains with elephant head spigots.

Your grandparents — long dead, courtesy of rationed health care — might have remembered seeing paintings of those objects. They would also have remembered tales of a different country, the country of their great grandparents.

Then, life was physically hard. A refrigerator was a luxury item and there were no cell phones. But if your poor ancestor had an itch to design and market a locomotive, he had only to beg money from a capitalist, not favors from a Congressman.

Of course, there were in his day — as there are in yours — men who traded money for favors from those with power and public funds. Such men started railroads, most of which — even after repeated subsidies — went bankrupt. James Jerome Hill used private money for his lines and sucessfully spanned a continent. Along the way he created tidy towns across the country and tidy profits for himself.

Life was hard in other ways, too, especially for those who were descendant from African slaves or Chinese railroad workers — or even Irish potato farmers, Italian bankers, and Polish butchers, all of whom suffered prejudice. But no government union teacher nagged your ancestor to the point of madness to love his neighbor, or they you. That was left largely to preachers on Sunday, who could be ignored without consequences.

Individuals loved or hated, worked or rotted, succeeded or failed. But whatever the outcome, it depended half on luck, half on character and their own choices — not on the whims or vanity or do-gooding faux morality of men who held hostage the legal system. Your ancestors were free.

That freedom offered no guarantees, it's true. Liberty never promised men a free ride, just the chance to build one without the brake of a boot on the neck or a straitjacket on the soul.

Lucky for you, even in 2040 it's still possible to refresh the tree of liberty. Godspeed.

No comments: