This column is archived at: http://www.chuckbaldwinlive.com/c2007/cbarchive_20070710.html
We hear much today about the American dream. By "the American dream," most people mean buying a big house, driving an expensive automobile, and making a lot of money. However, this was not the dream envisioned by the Founding Fathers. Remember that, for the most part, America's founders gave up their material wealth and substance for something they considered of far greater worth. Unfortunately, this hedonistic generation knows little of the kind of sacrificial spirit personified in the lives of America's patriarchs.
In the minds of the founders, liberty--with all of its intrinsic risks--was more desirable than material prosperity, if that prosperity was accompanied with despotism or collectivism. So strong was their desire that they were willing to give up the latter in order to procure the former for themselves and their posterity.
How dare Americans today refer to material gain as "the American dream." It is not! It is the freedom to honestly pursue one's goals that should be celebrated. Material gain is only a fruit of freedom, not its root.
Furthermore, much of America's gain today is predicated upon dishonorable and even dishonest practices. We have become a nation of gamblers and socialists. We allow an unconstitutional tax system to tax our brains out. Rather than cast off a tyrannical tax system, however, we choose to cast away the noble virtue of industry and hard work (because government will wind up with most of it, anyway) in favor of receiving revenue from the labor and effort of others. It is called socialism, and most Americans today (including Christians) appear to fully embrace it.
We expect government to fund our retirement, to reimburse our losses, and to even pay for our health care. What we cannot get from Uncle Sam, we expect from Lady Luck. Americans today want the fruit of freedom but seem unwilling to pay its purchase price. It was not always this way.
Can you imagine a nation without an I.R.S.? Can you imagine a nation with little crime and where children were free to pray in schools? Can you imagine a nation where the father's income was able to adequately provide for his household? Can you imagine a country with low divorce rates and where virtually everyone with a high school diploma could both read and write and was capable of earning his or her way in society?
Can you imagine a nation without an A.C.L.U. or a N.E.A.? Can you imagine a country that did not legally murder its own unborn children and that would not pander to sexual deviants or criminals? Can you imagine a country that did not glorify, much less sponsor, gambling? Can you imagine a nation with strong state governments and a limited federal government?
Can you imagine a country where you could order a firearm through a catalog and where there was no such thing as a B.A.T.F.E.? Well, you might not be able to imagine such a country, but that was the kind of nation our founders dreamed about, fought for, and bequeathed to their posterity.
Unfortunately, since World War II, we Americans have seemed willing to squander the sacrifice and repudiate the principles of our ancestors. With the way things are going, can you imagine what this nation will look like in another 50 years?