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For the sake of us all ...

Published: Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 2:01 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 2:02 p.m. CST

Freedom always involves personal risk and responsibility. Some struggle under it. Most thrive. There are those in our country today who are looking to socialist ideas to address some of the problems we are experiencing. Let the government enact social equality. Don’t all fair-minded people want equality?

The idea that we can have freedom and socialism is a dangerous misconception. No one can deny that we see in our democratic system of government a certain level of corruption and failure. We must continue to be vigilant in holding those we choose to govern us accountable, and we must address our failures. But the more power we give the government, the more potential for corruption and the less power individuals will maintain over their own lives. Our founding fathers understood that as a government grows in power, so it will grow in corruption. Power always corrupts. And if the government distributes the wealth of its citizens, how motivated will people be to work hard and live up to their potential if only to benefit the population at large, not themselves or their loved ones?

Many have fought and died for our freedom. To come to a place in this country of taking that for granted and looking to a system that historically has never been successful and has even been the cause of great human suffering is shortsighted, to say the least. Rather, let’s look back to the principles that made this country great. Perhaps the trend away from those principles is the cause of the increasing distress we find ourselves in today ... more government in education, more government regulation of private business, more taxation, more government entitlements, government takeover of healthcare. Do we really think that even more government intervention into our lives will solve our problems? What we are seeing now is increased corruption, incredible waste, an out-of-control deficit, and the degrading of individuals who have become unnecessarily dependent upon the government. (Yes, there are those who are unable to care for themselves and those of us who can have a moral responsibility to intervene. But let’s respect one another enough to guard the freedoms that enable us all to live up to our God-given potential.)

I proudly say I live in the greatest country ever known to humankind. I am profoundly grateful to those who selflessly gave their lives for my freedom. I can and must take responsibility for it by educating myself on the issues of our day and by exercising that most precious right, the right to vote. Not just for my own sake, but for the sake of future generations.

In 1848, Alexis de Tocqueville said: “Democracy extends the sphere of individual freedom. Democracy attaches all possible value to each man, while socialism makes each man a mere agent, a mere number. Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word: Equality. But notice the difference: While democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

Jan Walters

Princeton

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