Mark Anderson

American Liberty

11 months ago written by
Americans have a unique place in the world when it comes to the idea of individual liberty. I will stop short of calling it uniquely American, but that our founders applied it on such a massive scale is unique. Unlike most countries, Americans think in terms of the individual rather than the collective. When describing ourselves, Americans tend to use individual character traits such as smart or funny. In other countries, such as Japan, India, Brazil, or Kenya, people often use their group roles to describe themselves such as: “I am a good brother, son, friend, etc.” Those countries and many more like them believe the individual has a duty to his or her society, or the collective. It is much more important to be a good citizen and to fit into society than express individual personality traits or assert one’s individual liberty. A study by Heejung Kim and Hazel Rose Markus had people from American and East-Asian cultures select a pen from a collection. Most of the pens were the same color with a few different colors mixed in. The Americans typically selected the different colored pens while the East-Asians typically selected the predominately colored pens. Americans like to be individualistic and express ourselves as individuals. We are much less inclined than our European friends to feel we owe a debt to society; in return we are less inclined to believe society or the government owes us a debt. This is one of the reasons socialism has never fully taken root in the United States. The average American feels that each individual can achieve their goals through hard work. We call this the American Dream. Consider that for a moment, that such an idea as the American Dream even exists. This is our DNA. Throughout American history, the stories retold over the generations are of individuals going through great trials to reach their goals. For centuries, people from countries all over the world have come to America to make a better life for themselves. The West was tamed by people saying “I will go there and build a life”. Great industries have been built by lone individuals risking it all to try something different. It is the American Way. It is no wonder that the authoritarian governments of the 20th century took hold in societies that believe they live to be a part of the collective: Russia, Germany, Italy, and Japan. Even though governments like these differ in many ways, they nearly always gain traction by appealing to the idea of the collective. Communism and socialism appeal to people who believe those who have accomplished the most have done so on the backs of the little people and that everyone should share in the profits. The Fascist movement in Germany played on the nationalism that existed in that country. I fear that America is no longer impervious to these dangers. We have both a strong socialist movement building in which the rich are expected to further subsidize the poor and middle class, and we also have a building nationalist movement where cultural appropriation is a fear for many. To be fair, both of these movements have existed for some time. FDR ushered in an unprecedented level of big government programs that created a new base level of normal. And the idea of “American Pride” has been around for quite a while. Though, at just under 40 years-old, the idea of even that has changed in my lifetime. American pride used to focus on individual liberty. We celebrated who we were because we were “the freest country on Earth”. Now that American Pride appears to focus on cultural identity: race, religion, etc. As government grows, individual liberty shrinks. When government figures out what will make people accept a growing government, be it to protect our culture or offer a shortcut to success, it will have found a way to make people readily accept the loss of individual liberty. Americans cannot allow this to happen. Our country has been successful precisely because individuals are free to undertake any challenge we wish. If we give in to attractive ideas of free healthcare or education, or a government that protects our culture, we give away our liberties and relinquish control of our own destinies.

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Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson

Contributor at Freedom Gulch
Mark Anderson lives in Frederick County, Virginia, where he chairs the libertarian advocacy group Frederick County Libertarians. He was the 2015 Libertarian Party candidate for the Virginia House of Delegates in the 33rd District. Mark is currently earning his Associates Degree in Business Administration with plans to study Economics at George Mason University.
Mark Anderson

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free market · immigration · live free · Uncategorized

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