We have veered so far from the vision of our Founding Fathers that, unless the American people regain a strong commitment to the traditional American values of self-reliance, individual liberty and equality of opportunity, our democracy will inevitably lead to socialism.
In fact, it's hard to argue that we aren't already there.
We live in an age when some banks are too big to fail - when the tax-paying minority of Americans must carry the burden of failed investment firms that were run into the ground by our "best and brightest."
We have a government that has bought private companies and that picks winners and losers in the free market.
We have an annual trillion-dollar budget deficit, and the majority of that budget is made up of payments to individuals (meaning wealth redistribution) and interest on the national debt.
According to the Heritage Foundation, 1 in 5 Americans - not including government employees - is dependent on the government. But since government is necessarily of the people and by the people, that really means 20 percent of us are dependent on the other 80 percent. Since the U.S. government is the largest employer in the history of the human race and America's state and local governments collectively employ even more people, it is safe to say that the situation is even worse than that. A conservative estimate would be that 40 percent are dependent on the other 60 percent.
What results from this state of affairs is that respect for other people's property rights has eroded, and individual responsibility has declined. We have a president who, by simple fiat, tells insurance companies what they must provide for free. And since nothing in life is actually free, he forces some people to pay for other people to have unrestricted sex. Sexual profligacy is actually being encouraged.
We have got used to an entitlement mentality and class envy in our society. Our president, the leader of the free world, has made the main plank of his re-election platform a promise to take even more money from the successful.
Instead of looking in the mirror, we look for scapegoats to explain our misfortune. Rather than working harder or changing careers, we have people here who blame free enterprise, who blame successful people for their problems. Do they really think that's a solution?
Worst of all, this decline in our traditional values is being championed by the president, the political establishment, the academic elite and the mainstream media in an unholy alliance. Who can stand against it?
With the erosion of traditional American values, it is becoming even easier for the 51 percent majority at the bottom of the economic ladder to have the government take from the 49 percent minority at the top of the ladder. Most people would never think of taking something from somebody else without their consent, but when the government offers an entitlement, the majority has no qualms about having others pay for it through government taxation.
As America follows Europe down the welfare-state path, we will see our dynamic capitalist economy slide into economic lethargy. Our turnaround will come, if at all, only when we hit economic bottom as Greece has. At that point, we will realize the truth of Margaret Thatcher's words: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."
Will it be too late at that point to turn around? There comes a time when, because of compound interest, a debtor reaches a tipping point, a point of no return. It's hard to know when that point might be for a country like the U.S., but considering that we have no plan at all for even balancing the budget, never mind paying back our debts, I cannot help but wonder if we have already passed it.
• Armstrong Williams, author of the 2010 book, "Reawakening Virtues," is on Sirius Power 128, 7-8 p.m. and 4-5 a.m., Monday through Friday. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/arightside, and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/arightside. Read his content on RightSideWire.com.
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