Free-market capitalism, an economic system founded on the respect for private property and the ease of peaceful exchange, is the basis of America’s ascent from experiment to superpower.
Complementing one of the greatest documents ever written in human history, the economic model adopted by the Founding Fathers unleashed a tsunami of prosperity and ingenuity. Because of their wisdom, the United States has led every major transformative moment in history, from the industrial revolution to the digital age, prompting others to emulate what made the Land of the Free triumphant. The world’s largest economy has been a beacon of wealth and opportunity since its foundation, which is why millions worldwide clamor to absquatulate from their homelands and enter our country – legally or illegally.
The Britons, Romans, Spaniards, and other superpowers of centuries past relied on colonialism, taxation, and monarchs for wealth. It took only a single spark to ignite the American rocket: freedom.
The United States is like Paul Newman’s character in the iconic 1967 picture Cool Hand Luke: He has an unbreakable will, a youthful spirit, and looks that drive the girls wild. In the film, society tries to throw everything at Newman, attempting to break his will and force him to conform to Strother Martin’s subservient standards. Yet no matter the incoming, Newman stayed on his feet and came back for more.
The term “American exceptionalism” has been mocked all over the world. The phrase invokes a passionate response of scorn and disdain because it supposedly besmirches the character of other nationalities. What makes America better than, let’s say, South Africa or New Zealand?
America’s free market has been under assault by the incipient interventionists for the last 250 years. The mercantilists, egalitarians, utopians, central planners, and money manipulators have tried to impose their visions of how an economy and a country should be run. The tragedy of the commons, the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, the New Deal, the Nixon shock, and quantitative easing all attacked and undermined the market economy.
These failed public pursuits have given the U.S. economy a black eye or two. Now, the nation is drowning in debt, fiscal conservatism is dead, the country is bogged down in multiple conflicts worldwide, and politicians keep trying to send the United States into insolvency by instituting asinine plans like a Green New Deal or Medicare for All.
Despite the big-government blitzkrieg, the United States remains the wealthiest nation in the world. What’s more, all Americans are getting richer, not just the top 1% as the left would have you believe. This is because capitalism benefits every person, not only the fictitious robber barons of the 1920s or the supposed oligarchs of today.
Are Americans an ubermensch? Nope. But liberty and independence are in the DNA of multigenerational Americans. Being exceptional is intrinsic in every American, even the newcomers who have achieved the American Dream; it is part of our system’s fabric to reward exceptionalism. Whether someone taps into that natural characteristic or not is up to the individual, like that high school student naturally gifted in baseball who instead chooses to do marijuana behind the bleachers. When we have it so good for so long, we take our opportunities for granted.
That doesn’t dismiss the fact that when Americans are free to tap in to their innate abilities, they can change the world. Just ask Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Jeff Bezos.
Equal Sharing of Pleasure
To paraphrase the great Winston Churchill quote about socialism, capitalism is a philosophy of success, the creed of knowledge, and the gospel of compersion. Its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of pleasure. Today, outlining the merits of capitalism might violate the curriculum in a college lecture hall. Instead, we are meant to espouse only the groupthink ideology that decrees the only roadblocks to utopia are freedom and individual autonomy. To celebrate the Fourth of July properly, raise your barbecued Schneider’s hot dog, your can of Coca-Cola, and your 78 Victor RPM records to what made America great in the first place: free-market capitalism.
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