“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” These few words are powerful and summarizes the spirit of America. It has been stated that his single sentence is the best know verse in the English language. While it originated as the second sentence of the Declaration of Independence the intent of the words can be found in later constitutions from 1700s France to post war Japan.
Unfortunately over time the meaning of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has been modified by many to be life, liberty and a guarantee of happiness. The original meaning stems from a time when the Declaration of Independence was written and the young country was full of immigrants seeking a better life. America was welcoming immigrants with no pre-requisite as to race, culture, country or religious affiliation. There was also no guarantee that an American would succeed in life, but they were guaranteed that they would be allowed to pursue this. As the country matured America grew from within its’ borders more than growing from immigration. Over the years America took care of its’ own and laws were instituted to take care of the less fortunate. The Great Depression gave a conscience to our young country.
America went to war in the 1940s and the young men and women that returned brought a resurgence to the term that guarantees a pursuit of happiness. Veterans that had seen the horrors of war wanted to come home and pursue the American dream. America exploded, fueled by what is referred to as the greatest generation.
Social programs that were enacted during the Great Depression such as social security were seeing massive funding increases brought on by a huge growth of a country that did not have to endure years of bombing and fighting on its home land. By the mid 60s lawmakers that wanted to do more for the population began to provide a wider range of services and benefits. Entitlement programs were enacted and the government began to guarantee happiness while transitioning away from guaranteeing that Americans can pursue happiness without government intrusion.
Today we have had a detrimental effect on American culture by trying to insure that everyone is financially equal. Instead of providing a level playing field to guarantee that everyone can pursue financial gains America is attempting to guarantee financial equality without individual striving to do so. This is the concept of socialism and when extreme regulations are added to socialism and religion is discouraged or banned communism becomes the form of government.
Russia was under communist rule and ultimately failed. This caused Russia to become a minor player in the economic world. A country of immense proportions and blessed with natural resources was unable to survive under communism. China has thrived but only after open market concepts were expanded and China has become more of a hybrid communist/market-based country. England had strong socialistic tendencies. With the introduction of a conservative government and reduced government intervention in the lives of the population, England has once again become a European economic leader as it has moved away from socialism and more toward a government that allows a citizen to pursue happiness but does not guarantee it. Greece on the other hand embraced socialism and has refused to change its’ policies. Amid cries of thousands that have grown use to the government taking care of their needs, the government refuses to change and it is on the verge of collapse. Other governments such as Germany and other members of the Economic Union have grown tired of continually funding Greece’s give away programs and it is only a matter of time until Greece leaves the EU and fails economically or completely revamps its socialist programs.
It’s sad to see a great country like America destroy the motivation of its’ population to achieve in life while the country attempts to provide happiness for all. This will ultimately lead to the demise of the greatest country in the history of the world. There is only one way to regain the confidence of the citizens and once again grow the country to a point that we are the leader of the world. We must wean ourselves of the numerous entitlement programs that are causing us to heavily borrow from China and other countries. We must also lift the repressive government regulations that make it so difficult to pursue new entrepreneurial opportunities. If we continue in the direction that we are going today our children and grandchildren will inherit a country that’s greatness is only a figment of one’s imagination and a country that’s burdened by oppressive regulations under centralized control.

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