As Americans struggle with choosing between what is right and wrong for our country, we continually find our fellow citizens split from the extremity of the each political party with more frequency. This is causing a depletion of what is left of the unity our country is in dire need of.
Not only have the issues we face as American’s changed rapidly, but also have the core values of the political parties we identify – as well as our beliefs within those.
“The history of liberty is the history of limitation of government’s power, not the increase of it,” former President of the United States and the “Godfather of Liberalism”, Woodrow Wilson once said.
Time has changed, and so has the liberal ideology.
A classic liberal believed that an individual should be the master of their future and that the government’s power should be limited, according to past presidents.
“[…] These are the precepts of freedom and self-reliance that are the root of the American way and the American spirit,” Ronald Reagan told in his autobiography, An American Life.
At some point in time, classical liberal views changed and even “upgraded” in some eyes, to the some of the same ideals as before, but with a more centralized and progressive government.
According to www.reference.com, “Modern liberalism supports an active role of government and advocates fair treatment and strong social support for all members of society.”
Thus, while Franklin D. Roosevelt was in office the creation of many relief programs for emergencies arose.
Reagan believes that Roosevelt unintentionally created, according to An American Life, “[…] Giveaway programs that trapped families forever on a treadmill of dependency” and made them a “permanent feature” of our government.
This quote not only seems to sound true to many, but without extensive thought.
Nothing is wrong with receiving help when necessary, but once help is issued and one finds themselves on their feet again it is time to be a productive member of society. With becoming a functioning component once again, one’s hard work benefits the life of another who might find themselves in a hard time and needing assistance. If one fails to use the assistance correctly and becomes a feature of the government, is it almost hypocritical to continue to identify as a liberal if one is not productively creating benefits for another? Believing one thing, but doing another?
While some relief programs significantly transform the lives of many who find themselves able to support themselves once again, some are unable to accomplish this and unfortunately become dependent and cemented to this lifestyle. With becoming dependent, one finds themselves latched to the government, therefore letting the government rule most aspects of their lives.
Reagan proclaimed that modern liberals rejected the classical liberals ideals.
“[Modern liberals] claimed government had a greater wisdom than individual and it should engineer our economic and business life according to its goals and values; dictate to states, cities, and towns what their rights and responsibilities were,” Reagan explained. “[…] And take an increasing bite out of the earnings of productive workers and redistribute it to those who are not productive. To them, government was the fount of all wisdom- the bigger the government was, the better- and they rejected the principles of Democrats who had gone before them.”
Does the modern day liberal replicate those of the origin they once derived from?
*Information in this column was found in An American Life by Ronald Reagan, 1990, Threshold Editions.
**EDITOR'S NOTE: This is a column written by a staff writer in her own opinion. This is not an editorial based on opinions of the Reporter or community.
Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_GRR