Once there was a group of industrious people who valued individual liberty and hated tyranny.
After winning a titanic struggle against the then most powerful empire in the world, the group decided on a set Bill of Rights that fledgling expressed the idea that each counted for one and only one, and no one was ever a means to another's end. Employing these principles, the nation they founded expanded and prospered greater and faster than any before. It was far from perfect: Some succeeded, others hewed out for themselves a moderate or modest living, and still others failed. This happened because the system they were endeavoring to implement, known as free enterprise guaranteed only the opportunity to succeed, not success itself. Though acknowledging we bring nothing into this world and could therefore carry nothing out, it could not rule out bad luck, humble beginnings, lack of knowledge or experience and the myriad other shortcomings and long-suits to which humanity is heir. Through reason and faith, these individuals wrought diligently: Yesterday's hare-brained scheme became today's labor or life-saving device. Thus abundance and growth multiplied in the land until they achieved the pinnacle of success: World leadership.
Then a strange thing happened.
Somewhere along the line, someone figured out a clever way to make a name and a living for themselves by playing loser's advocate. This new non-industry spread like cancer, first into religion and philosophy, then the political realm, pleading "We are not all equal!" Most just shrugged, said "So what?" and went back to work on a more perfect union, seeking equal rights for all and special privileges for none. Unfortunately for them, the non-industry found receptive ears among legal bottom-feeders and the political class, whose primary concern is getting and staying elected. "Freedom is too risky," they chorused. "We need security and equality."
This message resonated well with homebodies, retirees, and second-generation-wealthy who didn't work for a living either, but wanted to appear industrious as do-gooders. Religion played this violin from the pulpits in churches, mosques and synagogues across the land. Philosophy united the best minds in academia to sell the altruistic fairy-tale to the agnostic. Soon journalists picked up the simpering siren-song of socialism. Then the citizens of the freest nation on Earth made the fatal mistake:
They listened to the doomsayers!
They began to enact laws to take from the working and productive to feed the indolent and slothful; laws that were supposed to "make" everyone equal and be "fair" to the "disadvantaged". Even though it wasn't right, it looked and felt good so more and more people abdicated their individuality and threw in with some or other hastily-thrown-together group of gimmees seeking permanent subsidy. At the same time, some in government used all this as excuse to hire relatives and friends of the politicians as unelected officials to coerce and bully the producers so as to have more collateral to borrow on to feed the moochers. Other do-gooders saw the new opportunity to expand the sphere of government beyond the bounds of the country through foreign wars and bribes to foreign governments...And the bureaucracy was born!
They all lived, but not happily ever after: More corrupt policies and ideas based on getting something for nothing came into being as gimmee-groups galore became the norm. Instead of the individual citizen looking to himself for fulfillment as the source and navigator of his or her own destiny, state-worship, collectivism and corporatism taught via the education establishment "you" are nothing; "we" are everything. People still failed, but were no longer failures, just candidates for subsidy. Those at the top of the pyramid scheme made individual success legally impossible for anyone outside their cadre, so fewer and fewer did. Most occupied themselves in the "degreed" structure; finding more innovative ways to "go along and get along", playing and abusing the corrupt "new" system for their own selfish interests while looking virtuous. "Need" became the new cop-out for extortion from the masses, til all - except of course the OMFR running the scam - were equal in misery, because there is no freedom to succeed without the freedom to fail...
And the world looked elsewhere for leadership.
Read by Superman
6 minutes ago