09.30.2009 0

The American Century Continued — If We Want It

  • On: 10/16/2009 10:20:52
  • In: Fiscal Responsibility
  • by David Bozeman

    The recent lighting of the Empire State Building to honor Communist China’s 60th anniversary led some around the water cooler to ask if China actually owns the famed skyscraper (no, a real estate company does). Many Americans, in fact, believe that China will someday own the US, if it doesn’t already, and continue its trek to world domination.

    By noting the observations of average citizens, one can feel the pulse of the nation’s morale. Before the Soviet Union’s demise, either a defeat of the US military or all-out nuclear annihilation seemed all but inevitable. Throughout the Cold War, however, leaders of both major parties assured the world of US resolve to not only maintain but strengthen our status as a world superpower. One recalls JFK’s pledge to pay any price and bear any burden to protect freedom abroad and Reagan’s over-riding theme of American exceptionalism. Their words calmed and inspired a jittery world.

    Granted, few if any sharp parallels exist between the Cold War and Chinese-American relations today. We are connected to Asia in ways too numerous and complex for even our greatest minds to understand, and it is China’s brain power and economic dominance, as opposed to its nuclear arsenal (which can’t be discounted, either), that most Americans fear. And with good reason, some would add, given that they control countless dollars of US debt.

    Nonetheless, a concept some of our greatest minds have grasped is that if America falls, we will not have been defeated from without, we will have surrendered from within. From President Obama on down, our leaders rarely if ever extol America’s greatness — they would just as soon apologize for our arrogance and hubris.

    With few exceptions, America’s business leaders have failed to lay a moral foundation in defense of capitalism. Sure, one hears the argument that, on a practical level, capitalism is more efficient. Every conservative has heard (and some have surely spoken) the concession that socialists are well-intentioned people, just misguided. But one seldom hears from capitalists that capitalism, the engine driving a free society, is a moral force for good.

    The average American is told that taxpayer bailouts of auto giants and financial institutions define capitalism, as do Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and government manipulation of the housing market. Famed propagandist Michael Moore, producer of the 6th highest grossing movie for the week of October 5, tells the AP that he longs to hear someone say, ” ‘. . . capitalism’s got to go.’ Because we can’t have a system where the richest 1% own as much as the bottom 95%.” He omits that government is far abler at equalizing dependency than wealth. Still, the word ‘capitalism’ is as often as not mentioned derisively in public discourse. Not surprising, since a culture that can’t define its core principles certainly lacks the will to defend them.

    Ronald Reagan used to inspire Americans with his belief that our best days need never be behind us. In fact, ideas and not teeming populations and military might empower nations. From democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square to Microsoft, McDonald’s, Boeing, Coca-Cola, etc., the American institutions of limited government and capitalism have transformed the world. Immigrants still flock to America to taste freedom, not to wallow in Michael Moore pity-fests or promote the dreary socialistic policies they were probably fleeing in the first place. We can remain a beacon in the 21st Century if we define and not dilute such founding principles as capitalism. The words of Ronald Reagan in 1981 are no less true today: Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid.

    David Bozeman is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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