What’s Right With America?

by Burt on February 26, 2014

The loss of freedom in America in the last ten years has disheartened many who value free markets and liberty. Indeed, we need to cut tax rates and restore a freer economy in the U.S. to speed up our recovery and halt the explosion of debt.

But having said that, we need to recognize that much is right with America, and our lives are, in many ways, steadily getting better.

First, the growth of the Internet has brought information and commerce into the living rooms of most American families. Radio talk show host Jim Blasingame calls his new book The Age of the Customer because we can now compare a multitude of products, buy the one we want, and have it shipped to our doorstep. Steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie devoted his fortune to building libraries, but the person with a computer today has personal access to a library of books and knowledge without ever leaving his house. And smartphones let us communicate immediately with friends and family.

Second, American energy has been in decline since the oil crisis of 1973–until now. Fracking has opened up new ways to capture oil and natural gas. Sixty percent of our oil was imported in 2008 and that figure is only about 40 percent today–and will steadily drop (along with gas prices) as we pump more energy out of Texas, North Dakota, and Pennsylvania. The Keystone Pipeline will help as well, unless regulators and politicians stop this new energy windfall.

Third, although Obamacare has been a healthcare disaster, medical progress continues. Two generations ago, tuberculosis, diabetes, and polio devastated the lives of millions of Americans. Vaccines and scientific improvements have greatly mitigated these killers today. Gall bladder surgery and cataract surgery are now easily done with little jeopardy to patients. Lasik surgery helps the almost blind to see and penicillin continues to give life to those who would have died in an earlier age.

All three of these areas of improvement–the Internet, energy, and medical care–have improved because entrepreneurs have been relatively free to invent and invest, and reap the rewards of their work. When government has increased in recent years, however, progress has slowed. Free people satisfy their desires by satisfying others; politicians and bureaucrats satisfy their desires by meddling in the marketplace and stifling liberty.

The trend seems to be for freedom to recede and government to increase–but even here there is hope. Twenty-four states, including Michigan, now have right-to-work laws, which increases freedom in the workplace. True, Americans voted for the Democrat, the bigger government candidate, for president in the last two elections. But the Democrats lost the House decisively in 2010, and independent pollsters are talking about the Democrats losing the Senate in 2014. To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Americans do the wrong thing until the pain finally causes them to do the right thing.

Much is still right with America, and when we focus on that it can often inspire us to fight effectively to preserve the liberty we still have.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: