What will you be doing on the Fourth of July? Will you be sitting in your backyard, frying up hot dogs, and listening to the sweet sounds of Duke Ellington? Or, will you be heading to your local Best Buy to purchase a new television to watch the Boston Red Sox take on the Washington Nationals? However you decide to celebrate the nation’s birthday, be sure to take a moment to tip your cap to the free-enterprise system; it is because of this capitalist system that you get to enjoy a dog, a ball game, and old jazz.
Capitalism may seem like it is suffocating under the weight of the left’s constant crusades, but it is such a rewarding and powerful idea that it can endure the deafening progressive wails from hipsters. Not even the dirtiest of socialists really want to abolish capitalism – how else can they sit at Starbucks, use the store’s Wi-Fi, and tweet about how much they hate America on their iPhones?
America became the richest and most influential nation in the world through one simple concept: leave everyone alone to live how they want to and not how the government, monarchy, or church wants you to. This is known as liberty, a philosophy that unleashed a tsunami of inventions, wealth, and happiness.
For the first time in human history, we had the opportunity to abandon tyrannical governments, opulent monarchs, and regressive regimes that refused to advance and progress. Once scores of people landed on the shores of the U.S., they were not only granted “certain unalienable rights,” they had the freedom to try, the freedom to succeed, and, most importantly, the freedom to fail.
It turned out that this experiment yielded exceptional results.
The Fruits of Labor
We learned that when humans were left to their own devices, they produced a diverse panoply of goods and services that would make our lives better – some that were unimportant and some that changed the world forever. From the potato chip to the light bulb, from the mousetrap to the airplane, the U.S. fostered an environment of ingenuity and productivity never seen before.
Even if you weren’t an entrepreneur or inventor, you could sell your labor to capitalists and lead a great life with three square meals a day.
Want an example of how far we have progressed? In 1908, the average American worker had to labor away two years to make enough money to purchase an automobile. Today, it takes that same American worker about half a year to purchase an average-quality car, which has air conditioning, smart technology, power seats, safety features, and a whole host of other functions.
When the 1940 film The Grapes of Wrath was released, it had to be banned in the Soviet Union because Josef Stalin didn’t want the Russian public to see that even the poorest American family had a car. Today, the impecunious have air conditioners, television sets, smartphones, and the Internet. No wonder communist jurisdictions have tried so hard over the years to censor Western media.
No one will argue the fact that there have been hiccups on this journey. That said, most of our problems have been remedied thanks to the market system, including child labor, healthcare, animal conservation, and hunger. The U.S. economic system breeds solutions to common challenges because we respect private property, individualism, and opportunity.
Free Enterprise Still Alive
Yes, there have been times throughout the last 242 years when movements, politicians, and laws attempted to fracture the integrity of the nation’s fabric – and they still do today. Despite the volumes of rules, regulations, and taxes that have been imposed since 1776, the free-enterprise system has survived and thrived, and the public is richer than it has ever been before. That’s how durable capitalism is: whatever new law you throw at it, it can still withstand the regulatory burden. To this date, millions of people still have the opportunity to attain the American Dream.
It may not be the case that wherever you have capitalism, you have freedom. But it is the case that wherever you have freedom, you have capitalism. America’s success became contagious, leading fledgling states and crumbling nations to adopt a similar environment: offer freedom to the people to have a flourishing country.
World poverty rates are at their lowest in history, half the planet has gone mobile, and we are all living longer. The birth of America helped us break through the chains of poverty and serfdom. Whatever your political stripe may be, we can all agree we’re better off with the U.S., than without it.
Politicians, on the other hand…but that’s a grievance for another day.
How will you be spending the Fourth of July? Let us know in the comments section!