LONSBERRY: Madison and Jefferson, or Marx and Engels?

In America today, there are two warring concepts of government, one borne of the nation’s founding documents, and the other of “The Communist Manifesto.”

The one focuses on income inequality, the other individual liberty.

In the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, Americans once proclaimed that rights are innate and individual, and that the government exists to safeguard those rights.In “The Communist Manifesto,” two German philosophers proclaimed that income inequality is the defining reality of society, and that government exists to eliminate it.

Both philosophies speak of “rights,” but one refers to liberties, and the other refers to entitlements – guarantees of freedom as opposed to guarantees of income.

The very nature of these philosophies dictates differences in the size and scope of government. A government focused on protecting individual rights is small and self-limiting– as reflected in the U.S. Constitution. A government focused on redistributing wealth is large and ever growing – as reflected in the American government of today.

These distinctions are more than just classroom lessons taught to earlier generations of American students, they are the defining differences of our nation’s politics today. Thechoice between them is the crux of almost every election in our day. The philosophy of individual liberty is vestigially represented by the Republican Party, and the philosophy of income inequality is represented by the Democratic Party – especially in therecent socialist surge represented by the Democrats newly elected to the House of Representatives and the Democrats running for president of the United States.

The candor and success of these socialist calls would have been hard to imagine in an early day. Not because we were less developed, but because we were more educated. The UnitedStates embraced public education in order to prepare its children to be citizens in a Republic. The belief was that operating and sustaining a freedom-based government required a populace that understood its political philosophy and its superiority over othersystems.

But the schools – from kindergarten to college – were long since infiltrated and adulterated by those whose priority is to prepare children to be members of a collective, not citizensof a Republic. And so the simple, eternal benefits of our freedom-based government have not been taught or understood. In fact, just the opposite has been done. Instead of preaching American truth, the pulpits and professors have been teaching Marxist oppression.

And that’s why approximate half of people under 35 say they want socialism. It’s why the Democrat presidential candidates are staking out the positions they are. It’s why a 29-year-oldwho was tending bar last year is the darling of the Democrats and the anathema of the Constitution.

And the future of the country depends on whether or not the American people understand the differences between the philosophies, and the importance of choosing individual libertyover government redistribution.

Freedom provides choice, and choice brings consequence, and in consequence is found a large measure of the disparity in the world. The only way to protect people from disparateconsequence is to deny them personal choice, which is to enslave them. Government cannot protect you without enslaving you. It can’t take away the consequences of your freedom without taking away your freedom.

And when the government seeks to protect you from all ills, including income inequality, it does so at the expense of your liberty.

The socialist idea, that government exists to eliminate economic disparity, demands that government be more powerful than personal choice. If you choose to obey the law and stayin school and pursue a professional education and budget your money and have a stable family unit, those choices are more likely to bring you to a more-prosperous economic outcome. If, on the other hand, you choose to break the law and drop out of school andnot get a professional education and waste your money and do not have a stable family life, those choices are more likely to bring you to a less-prosperous economic outcome.

Is the resulting income inequality proof of societal oppression and economic injustice demanding governmental redistribution, or a result of individual choices which must be protectedas a manifestation of individual liberty?

If individual liberty includes the right to own property, does the Marxist war against income inequality supersede that right and empower the government to confiscate that property?And when the government takes one person’s money to give to another person – at the point of a bayonet or under threat of criminal prosecution – that is a confiscation, and it is the denial of the individual right to control your own property.

The two philosophies are mutually exclusive. They are at irreconcilable cross purposes. You cannot advance the one without damaging the other.

And a decades-long slide into socialism has significantly damaged America’s historic commitment to individual freedom. And the recent surge in patently socialist politicians andpolicies has made that obvious and of great import.

And soon America will choose.

Whether to follow Madison and Jefferson, or Marx and Engels.

Whether to re-embrace a Republic in which individual liberty is enthroned, or to succumb to a collective in which entitlement is paramount.

Whether to rise to our better lights, or to decay into a tribal society of envy and resentment, covetousness and greed, the government becoming the master and divider of an ever-shrinkingnational prosperity.

While the germ of American genius – our proclamation that all mankind is equal, free and sovereign – is thrown in the gutter outside the welfare office.

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