We hear a lot about “making America great again”.
The question has to be asked: What made America great in the first place? What did we get less and less of to make America less great, and what do we need more of to make it great again?
Even among Trump supporters, the answers may differ. And the answers differ wildly – even fundamentally – between Democrats and Republicans. It no longer appears to me that Democrats and Republicans actually want the same things, with only different ways of getting there.
America became a great country because of its commitment to individual rights. Slavery was a glaring contradiction from the start. But it was the principle of individual rights that ultimately made slavery a thing of the past, even at the cost of a bloody Civil War.
If it were not for the concept of individual rights, slavery would still be with us.
Individual rights will always be the answer to what makes America great. In practical terms, this means private property. It also means freedom of association. It also means secure borders, not to keep out good people but to keep out people who mean to do citizens harm, such as terrorists. Individual rights does not mean indiscriminately letting people in so as to gain votes for one of our two political parties. Yet that’s what we’ve been doing.
Most basically, individual rights means upholding the First and Second Amendments. The First Amendment protects the right to freedom of thought. The Second Amendment protects the right to life. Without the right to speak and think freely on your property, your mind is enslaved. Without the right to use weapons to protect your ability to go on living, your body is enslaved.
The First and Second Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, combined with private property and free markets, united mind and body in a way no other civilization in human history ever achieved. That’s what made us great.
Democrats have shown again and again, particularly throughout the Obama years, that they don’t care about individual rights. Obama used the IRS and exploited a friendly media to suppress as much dissent as he could get away with, short of installing an outright dictatorship. If we have a Democratic regime like Obama’s again, the next logical steps, based on their own assertions since Donald Trump’s election, will be to openly suppress speech. They have already paved the way with their notion of “hate speech”. The very idea that any idea can be against the law openly defies our First Amendment. And Democrats have made it very clear they have no tolerance or patience for any ideas that are not their own. Dictatorship is the last remaining step they have, and I believe they will take that step if they manage to get hold of power again, as they could.
Without individual rights, no society will be great. That’s why we have to fight for individual rights even as we fight for the less inadequate of the two parties or candidates to buy us more time. Buying time is not the same as defending the right principles, but it’s a necessary step to avoid collapse into totally wrong principles. Whatever you think of President Trump and the Republican Party, they’re arguably the only option left for buying us time before the Democratic left imposes a complete dictatorship, as I believe they will if given the chance. Donald Trump will be their rationalization for doing what they’ve wanted to do for years.
America will be great again only the extent to which it becomes free again. Freedom includes the right to private property, the right to keep all of what one earns, and the right to participate in an uncontrolled free market for trading goods and services. And, most of all, it depends on the First and Second Amendments.
Our greatness resides in our freedom. If Republicans ever forget that, then we are done.
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