I read an astonishing statistic over the weekend: thirty-six percent of Americans have a positive view of socialism. It farther breaks down into predictable party lines: 61% of liberals and 53% of Democrats have a positive view of socialism, where only 17% of Republicans and 20% of Conservatives have a positive view of socialism. These numbers should sicken anyone with even a public school education.
I was born in Prague to American parents, and arrived in the USA when I was a few months old. I have a special kinship to the Czech Republic/Czechoslovakia. It have studied its history with a sense of my own blood being spilled at the hands of Russians and Visigoths. Collectivism kills. It killed in Eastern Europe, in East Germany, all over South America. It never works. A cursory glance at an atlas will demonstrate this point eloquently.
It does not work for any people, but particularly not for people who have any self-esteem. It requires you to pay for me, regardless of my abilities. In this way, socialism infantilizes society. It divides us into takers and givers. It creates resentment among the producers who wish to keep the fruits of their labor, and it creates resentment among the takers who believe they are entitled to ever more portions of the producers’ work.
Human nature works against socialism. We are created to care for ourselves and our families. It is very difficult to care enough about strangers, whose lifestyles you may despise, that you would willingly hand over the products of your work. In a debate with someone last year, I remember that a self-proclaimed socialist argued that “socialism works in families.” I agreed with this point: babies need fathers and mothers to provide for them. But loving your family is not the same as loving the welfare family down the street who drinks too much, or simply hates work. The hatred demonstrated in this example leaves me breathless. Would someone really be so hateful as to equate their own family with strangers?
The socialist also brought up the old bugaboo of single payer health care. When my appendix burst, I had no insurance. I did not knock on my neighbor’s door and ask him to pay for it. I simply paid the bill. It was expensive. But it wasn’t like I was buying towels at Target; these professionals cut me open, gave me drugs so I didn’t feel it, used scalpels crafted by people who spend their lives designing the tools, and they pulled out my sick organ, then sewed me back up. They deserve to be paid for what they did. Tellingly, the hospital gave me a 30% discount because I didn’t use insurance. That tells me right there that insurance is part of the problem. Maybe we shouldn’t insure against colds and flu. Maybe we should just insure catastrophic events. In any case, one should pay one’s own bills. If it is not worth it to you to pay, you don’t deserve it. Asking for others to cough up the dough isn’t moral. It is compassion at the point of a gun.
How much of our tax dollars is the government legally entitled to take? Anything between “all of it” and “none of it” is arbitrary. Our taxes should not be used to provide everything for everyone, and whether or not we like to admit it, that’s where we are as a country. Yet, the takers want more and the producers are running out of “compassion”. For the Pelosi-Reid-Obama Democrats and Liberals, what is enough? Is Communism enough, where from each according to our means, to each according to our needs? Is that what they want, because that’s the direction we’re heading.
We will never get there only because America will fall apart first. The producers will refuse to work. The takers will apparently die from starvation (one can only hope!). Ask yourself why America is a melting pot. Ask yourself why when the illegal immigration debate opens up, our politicians stand up and give their soaring rhetoric about what America stands for, how everyone is invited to our reindeer games, how the whole world is entitled to be an American. Ask yourself where all these foreign Americans are coming from. Ask yourself who your ancestors were, and why they came here.
My birth in Prague was an accident of circumstance. I am not Czech, though I speak a bit of the language. I am not Czech, though I love the great city of Prague with her ancient spires and crumbling cemeteries. I’m not Czech, though I look with sadness at the poverty created in the city of my birth, the forced compassion generation after generation. If you look closely, maybe you too come from Czechoslovakia. Maybe you hail from Cuba or Sweden or the pits of Africa. If you do, you will understand what is so great about America. You will know, deep in your bones, that the closer America gets to your original home, the farther we get from the ideal human experience.
Americans are simply constitutionally incapable of accepting too much socialism. We will eventually rebel. I sense it coming. It is here already.