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Labor Day, a time to reflect on America’s greatness

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Never had the world seen anything like the creation of the United States. It was a new way to run a country. Some very smart people– the Founders—pooled their knowledge of how countries had failed historically. Out of this crucible of ideas, a new way of living and governing was born.

To the surprise of some Old Country philosophers and historians, this new America not only survived, it prospered. It taught the world how a government should treat its people. It rewarded success. It became a beacon for repressed people everywhere, to come to, aspire to and emulate.

America grew and grew. Its philosophy of limited government, self-reliance and free markets was the fuel used by free and independent people to build an exceptional society.

Now, as we celebrate Labor Day, exceptionalism is threatened. What was predicted by H.L. Mencken, laughed at by people in his day who naively believed in the wisdom of the average voter, has become a reality. Ninety-five years ago Mencken wrote “On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” We have witnessed the proof that this is no longer something that can’t happen, especially if we can include moronic political decisions in our definition of morons.

Miners with their children at a Labor Day celebration in Silverton, Colorado CREDIT: “Miners with their children at the Labor Day celebration, Silverton, Colorado,” 1940. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.
Miners with their children at a Labor Day celebration in Silverton, Colorado
CREDIT: “Miners with their children at the Labor Day celebration, Silverton, Colorado,” 1940. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

Throughout our country’s birth and development, labor was a highly prized ingredient of its success. Honest labor brought dignity, self-respect and a sense of worth to those who labored, manager and worker alike, and the fruits of labor nourished families together and provided sustenance from their own efforts. In turn, the family culture taught young people personal responsibility and respect for others, and taught that the way to get ahead in life was to work harder and perform better than the next person.

And yet, one of the Founders’ great fears has come to pass—the tyranny of the majority. The Founders saw it coming. A critical mass of American voters have realized they can elect representatives to power who will give them money without laboring for it. These takers believe it is “fair” to be handed money belonging to others, money earned by the labor of others. And so, in order to live with themselves, these recipients of blatant welfare handouts convinced themselves that they’re “entitled”, that the wealthy and successful are taking unfair advantage because they made their money on the backs of “victims”.

Unions haven’t helped, with their socialist demand that a worker should not do a single ounce of work more than they are paid to do, even if they make a personal choice to work harder to get ahead in life. This has morphed into higher pay for overtime work, a minimum wage even if the job market can’t justify it, automatic robo-raises and family leave where people are paid even though they do not produce. These unions do not recognize merit, they want the same compensation for slackers and doers, hang the merit.

So now our country, founded by well-read geniuses who understood human nature and history, is more and more being run by unqualified dunderheads who place their own interests above the country. Nations sometimes commit suicide. If you believe America cannot be brought to its knees, on this Labor Day rivet your attention on the actions of leaders like Barack Obama, Harry Reid, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton. They are changing this nation, and they are threatening our ability to return to exceptionalism.

John R. Smith

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