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Forum Post: American Dream vs. American Reality

Posted 7 years ago on Dec. 21, 2011, 1:54 a.m. EST by Just1MoreVoice (76)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

The Free Market Economy, that holy grail of the capitalist philosophy, does not exist. Two factors preclude its existence: Crime and Politics. This may well be the root of the “small government” maxim: “The government that governs least governs best.” One of the great misinterpretations of this statement arises from a fundamental confusion between civic administration and governance. Civic administration is the execution of various functions designed to insure the continued security of the rights of individual citizens and to lubricate social friction. This is accomplished through the use of civic and social services, a legal system, and usually some sort of militia. If these organizations are the “tools” of civic administration, then governance is the manipulation of these tools to control the populace.

The United States’ spin machine touts it as a government of the people, by the people, and for the people and if this was actually the case, a free market economy (or something reasonably close to it) might well exist. Under these circumstances we can make the general assumption that the economy would operate on a purely voluntary basis within the framework of a set of guidelines designed to protect and respect the individual rights of all citizens and because our founding fathers had rather high-minded humanist ideals, these individual rights were assumed to include not only life and liberty, but also equal opportunities for the pursuit of happiness (i.e. self-actualization) without privileging any citizen over another. While this is the essence what our national mythology claims, it is very clearly not the reality of life in these United States.

So what happened? How did we end up with government of the people, for the wealthy, by the greedy? I’m not sure it matters. What does matter is that we re-direct our government to its original purpose in the most expedient manner possible. (more in the comments section...)

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[-] 1 points by Just1MoreVoice (76) 7 years ago

Conservatives are very fond of pointing out that “pursuit of happiness” is not a right protected by our Constitution. While this is technically true, it is important to remember that the document our founding fathers drafted to proclaim our existence as a separate and sovereign nation, which outlined the core principles by which we intended to define ourselves and was unanimously declared to the world by all thirteen original colonies, included these sentences: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator (Note that the term “creator” doesn’t automatically mean God or Jehovah or Yahweh or Allah or even anything with a gender) with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

In modern parlance, these words have become more of a mission statement than a self-evident truth. It has been demoted from guiding principal to long-term goal, and our current administration appears to have disregarded it completely. What is more, they appear to be unaware of (or apathetic toward) the famous statement that explains the function of the Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” And THIS is the actual mission statement – the goal to be worked toward while adhering to the guiding principals listed in the Declaration of Independence. Note the action verbs in the preamble. This is the actual objective of our government – its reason for existing. It makes very clear just who the real ruling body is intended to be: the people. Students of American government will tell us that the framers of the Constitution did not, in fact, intend “the people” to make all the decisions, nor did they really believe it was anything short of folly to try, which is why our republic is a representative democracy, as opposed to a pure democracy. The very real danger of mob rule or rule by factions was, through institution of a three-branched republic supposed to be far easier to avoid. Apparently their assessment of our capabilities in this regard was overly optimistic as there can be little doubt we have failed in this endeavor.

But getting back on topic, while perhaps “the people” were not intended to do the actual governing, the representatives of the people were intended to do the following: 1) work to improve social conditions for the people 2) enforce a fair and unbiased penal code in service to the people 3) take measures that people be allowed to live out their lives as unhindered by other people or institutions as is reasonable given proximity and the individual responsibilities each person has taken on 4) be prepared to provide the people with emergency services and military defense when needed 5) work to improve living conditions for the people 6) and all of the above without violating anyone’s individual freedoms Not for some of the people, not for the wealthy people, or the white people, or the male people, or the straight people, or the Christian people, but for ALL the people “with malice toward none and charity toward all. “ (Alright, this is not in the Constitution nor the Bill of Rights, nor even the Declaration of Independence. It’s from Lincoln’s 2nd Inaugural Address, - poor Abe, to think the GOP has strayed so far…- but it is as much a part of the national mythology that makes up the American Dream as anything else and I feel it belongs here, )

[-] 0 points by NewEnglandPatriot (916) from Dartmouth, MA 7 years ago

The representatives sold us out a long time ago. Some smaller communities and governments still operate with good intentions. The small town, example here I lived - Rochester, Massachusetts. This town still has actual people in power, but slowly the uppers moved in. Taxes went up as property values soared. The selectmen/women and town admins have always played by the rules. The upper level wealthy that infiltrated wanted to expand "town services" The schools were expanded, etc. Taxes went up. Those very people that snuck into power were ousted, as none of their children attended the schools. Some debts remained, and were paid down. People that lived in Rochester for generations stood up, and exposed the flaw, and put a halt on rural development. There are laws on books that prevent breaking up property for more housing. They are holding ground for now. Little by little surrounding towns have succumbed to bigger business, and job creation - This small town is an example of we the people still running the show. However, nearby Freetown and Assonet has been expanded. They sold out to Stop and Shop, distribution center, and many companies. It has been developing for some time. This resulted in urbanizing this area, job creation, but still the towns have come close to going bankrupt more than once. They are in severe debt, despite the business that were allowed in. Stop and Shop pays very little taxes, as that was used to get them in. Even the Dunkin donuts, Mobil, Sovereign bank that were allowed in put the little mom & pops out of business. I have seen it happen, countless times before my very eyes. The people always pay the cost, sought or unsought in the end. For larger cities , it is already too late.