Last week we were talking about different political systems in my government class (this is a common topic of the first week or two of most government classes) and the class got into a discussion on communism. These discussions usually are pretty theoretical with students- many haven’t had a job where they have produced anything at all, most pay little in taxes, and all of them have been heavily steeped over years of public school experience in ‘fairness’ and ‘redistribution of wealth.’ Even those students who believe in capitalism and freedom and protection of property are forced to mostly rely on theory and logic (which they do have on their side).
But this year the battle against communism is personal for one of my students- he stood up and said the following:
“Both of my parents grew up on communist Poland where people had nothing. I don’t mean ‘like nothing’- I mean they had nothing. And I saw first hand what it means to ‘spread the wealth around’ and to ‘share everything’- there ends up being no wealth and there is nothing to eat. My parents came to America and worked hard, and now they have a lot- and so I believe that what matters the most in this country is working and encouraging people to work and protecting the property that people earn through their work.”
We live in a great nation and I think that sometimes people lose sight of how great it is and how it became great. It became great because we had a limited government that did not rescue people or provide a cradle-to-grave safety net for them, and this made them take responsibility for themselves and it made the community or civil society take responsibility for others.
Our nation became great because politicians encouraged people to work and to work hard- even into this generation Democrats encouraged hard work, before Obama led the party into a radical left direction. And our nation became great because people knew that their property that they worked so hard for would be protected and looked at proudly- class warfare and envy of the rich was frowned on by our society, taxes were low and not designed to just punish people for their hard work, and people aspired to be successful more so than to get a government job for the purposes of tearing down wealth.
What made America great was a government that protected peoples’ lives, liberty, and property so that they could pursue happiness- and we have lost sight of that as a nation.
Students like the one that spoke in my class the other day remind us of this fact by providing a comparative view of what is really going on in nations that practice communism. He also remind us of that one of the positives of immigration is that we get to hear from other people who have lived in nations’ where they have implemented a ‘spread the wealth’ or ‘government built that’ philosophy. Perhaps Barack Obama in his upbringing came to know and love the way they do things in other nations and perhaps a lot of people out there still look to Europe as a source of inspiration and guidance- but that’s not how we have traditionally done things in America and it is about time we remember that and celebrate what it means to be an American.
Original Post: A Conservative Teacher