- February 8, 2023
LION stands for Leaders In Our Neighborhood, and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes — even high school seniors. Ben Watts of Montoursville Area High School was recently awarded the Lycoming County Republican Party Scholarship Award. Inspired since his freshman year by a very devoted civics teacher who encouraged him to attend
LION stands for Leaders In Our Neighborhood, and they come in all kinds of shapes and sizes — even high school seniors. Ben Watts of Montoursville Area High School was recently awarded the Lycoming County Republican Party Scholarship Award. Inspired since his freshman year by a very devoted civics teacher who encouraged him to attend the Summer Institute of Ashland University in Ohio, Ben found himself embracing political science with a newfound appreciation for conservative principles and values. He intends on attending Ashland in the fall, majoring in PoliSci with a minor in Education, and possibly going into the Peace Corps upon graduation. After this, he hopes to get involved directly in the political arena, perhaps working as a congressional aide. And after that? Who knows?
The following is Ben Watts’ award-winning essay. A recent survey shows that some 40 percent of the American population favor socialism. For those who wonder and worry about the future generation, it is young men like this one that can give us hope for the future.
Socialism vs. Capitalism
By Ben Watts
Socialism is defined as a political and economic theory of social organization, which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. In today’s United States, the bridge of credibility between government and the people it serves is crumbling. With the rich labeled as evil, business pinned for prioritizing profit over consumer wellbeing, and the middle and lower classes constantly getting the short end of the stick according to a hostile media, a system in which at first glance brings everyone to an equal point may, and does seem very appealing to many. But is this a system compatible with the founding documents and capitalistic ways of America? NO, absolutely not.
In the opening paragraphs of the Declaration of Independence, the founding fathers proclaim, “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.” The two key inalienable rights that must be focused on here are liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Socialism is a direct violator of liberty in that it infringes upon the free exercise of our way of life and behavior. It has the ability to rob us of our pursuit of happiness due to its tendency to try and make everyone equal. Socialist theory fails to understand that as Americans we innately are equal, in that we all have the equal opportunity to be who we want to be, and do what we want to do under the protections of our founding documents like the Constitution. Socialism seems to cater to those who did not capitalize on that opportunity or were not placed in as good as a situation as another. So, to state it concretely, socialism’s efforts to make everyone equal breach the doctrines of liberty and the pursuit of happiness, two vital components of American government.
To look at the reason the Declaration of Independence and other founding documents were drafted at all can point fingers at why socialism is incompatible with our founding documents. Within the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, one can see a bountiful number of clauses written in opposition to tyranny, and to combat any future possibility of its entrance into American government. Socialism paths the way for cruel and oppressive rule as seen in China, Cuba, and the Soviet Union and cannot coexist with America’s protections of individual rights outlined in the Bill of Rights and other core documents.
To look at socialism from a more economic perspective than political, socialism is a very dangerous ideology. America was founded on the principles of capitalism, with a private ruled economy and not state. Capitalist tendencies coincide nicely with American principles providing the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness crafted by John Locke, to not only us as individuals, but our pockets and the free will do what we wish with our money.
Socialism greatly juxtaposes the capitalist tendencies of America as one can determine simply by looking at Marxist theory clearly inferring the overthrow of capitalism as a vital component to achieving socialism. Winston Churchill puts it best in saying, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery”. The incentivized American Dream of hard work leading to a glorious life under capitalism transforms into a meaningless effort under a socialist system. What is the point of working so hard for a great life and moving up the ladder, when government intervention will drive you down to the same peg as a drive-thru worker at McDonald’s? That is the fatal flaw of socialism; in my opinion, it disincentives the initiative and passion fueling the American Dream.
Slightly altered versions of complete socialism like “Democratic Socialism,” and “Progressivism,” have gained immense traction in the current American political landscape, and the primary reason for this, in my opinion, is that it simply is different. In an America where its citizenry believes our current system of government is performing inadequately, littered by polarization, establishment politics, special interests, and lobbyists on both sides of the spectrum, outside ideologies have room to blossom and have. Socialism is change, and change is what people want. The problem is that an improperly informed and educated electorate throws support behind change in the wrong direction, which in this case is socialism. Seen as the founder of American education, Horace Mann once said, “Education is our only political safety. Outside of this ark, all is deluge.” So, millions of Americans blindly follow the utopian picture socialism falsely portrays promising universal healthcare, Pre-K, free college, 100% renewable energy, and “equality” yet does not provide economically feasible ways to achieve such goals that also do not infringe upon the inalienable rights and core documents this nation was founded on.
Surges in belief structures like these do scare me because it reveals the true ignorance behind a large number of our citizenry, but I do believe we have proper defense systems in place to combat socialism from taking away from what makes America, America. The law of this land in its design serves as a shield from systems like socialism seeking to contravene in the function of the greatest nation on earth. I believe strongly that an informed electorate would learn that change is what they want, but socialism is not that change. I do however believe that in a world where outside influence clouds the truth, this ignorance will continue and the institutions that serve American values as they are dictated in our founding documents will be on a defense from an assault of masked tyranny.