The Government and Society We've Created
Many of my conservative friends, mostly those in my generation or older, continue to be amazed that an avowed socialist – disguised as “democratic socialist” – can be so popular with the youth of our nation.
Like so many of my friends, I’ve attributed the appeal to the liberal bent of our public education system. While that absolutely has an enormous impact, I think there are other elements that those of us who call ourselves conservatives have been missing.
But one factor has been apparent to my favorite talk radio host Mark Levin and he’s talked about it for quite some time. Far too many people in our country have even been offered an opportunity to vote for a true conservative – certainly not since the days of Ronald Reagan. Instead, we’ve been fed a steady diet of “corporate conservatism” and candidates who embrace it, only serving to feed the beast of crony capitalism, which by definition profits those who enjoy close “friends and family” relationships with the governmental state and therefore is not a true free market system. The result is a generation of young adults who don’t see the value of capitalism because the version they’ve experienced is politically corrupt and destructive to many Americans.
It’s the version of cronyism that results in certain industries being bailed out by the government while others are allowed to fail. Or, cronyism that provides economic tax incentives from the government for one segment of industry while creating bureaucracies with cumbersome regulations for others; in essence, picking the “winners and losers” for those privileged enough to buy influence from those we elect to office. For those without political influence, their businesses close or employers are located overseas, and an undercurrent of anger and resentment brews.
Instead of experiencing a true free-market capitalist system, we have a government that subsidizes select industries while ignoring others and then wonder why a younger generation thinks capitalism doesn’t work. Additionally, conservatives who proclaim to detest “big government” are far too willing to re-elect those who enable it because voter attitudes change quickly when it’s suggested that reducing government will threaten the federal funding that is funneled back to the districts.
As I’ve read various commentaries regarding the willingness of younger Americans to embrace even a hybrid version of socialism, there is another component that strikes me as more alarming.
In remarks delivered in 2013 at the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas, recently deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia expressed the following:
"For in order for capitalism to work -- in order for it to produce a good and a stable society -- the traditional Christian virtues are essential…The governmentalization of charity affects not just the donor but also the recipient. What was once asked as a favor is now demanded as an entitlement…The transformation of charity into legal entitlement has produced donors without love and recipients without gratitude. ... It's not my place or my purpose to criticize these developments, only to observe that they do not suggest the expanding role of government is good for Christianity."*
Does that expansion of government perhaps explain what we are seeing so frequently in our society? We’re certainly seeing resentment from those forced by greater taxation to provide more and more of their disposable income for rapidly increasing numbers harboring an entitlement mentality, and expecting even more government services regardless of the cost. The resentment and lack of gratitude has manifested itself in the current presidential cycle on both sides of the political aisle.
By ceding our own individual responsibilities to the government to provide solely for our retirement and health care, funding of an education, and caring for the poor and other social charities, I’m afraid we’ve done little to convince subsequent generations that limited government is of any benefit to their lives or livelihood.
We’ve long sowed the seeds of big government and are unfortunately seeing the harvest.
Marcia Chambliss serves on the leadership team of Smart Girl Politics, www.smartgirlpolitics.com, an online community for conservative women. She can be reached at: Marcia@sgpaction.com. Her views do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart Girl Politics.