July 4th holiday weekend. A paid vacation day for most people, and a great day to hang out with friends and enjoy your favorite pastime. It is also a good day to pause and reflect on the freedom that we enjoy. The very fact that we are able to take a day off of work is, in itself, evidence of freedom at one level. That we can choose to pursue any activity we want to, is freedom at another level.
But consider the basic engine of our economy that makes possible all the “stuff” around us. A car to drive around in, food at the grocery store, a grill to cook on. These are all things that exist because someone had an idea to create a new product and deliver that product to you for the best possible cost.
Capitalism is the foundation. Capitalism at it’s most basic is simply the freedom to have private possessions. Capitalism is the basis for our free enterprise system where individuals and groups can start a business. It’s that simple.
Capitalism and Free Enterprise are not right or wrong, good or evil. It is simply a choice. It is a choice on how a society will function with regard to property. What individual people do with capitalism can be good or bad. When unethical people commit fraud, they are “gaming the system”, to borrow a popular phrase, to lie, cheat and steal from others. With freedom comes responsibility.
Capitalism and free enterprise have proven to be the most powerful engine of prosperity in the history of man. And with prosperity comes increased life expectancy and better living conditions. We are the beneficiaries of a two hundred year experiment that has achieved the greatest increase to the standard of living in the history of man. And when you have grown up with the benefits, it is difficult to imagine the struggle that has brought us here.
Capitalism is the opposite of Fascism where the government owns everything and you only get what the government allows you have.
No matter how badly government tries to control our economic system, as long as there is private ownership and the freedom to try new things, Americans, and people everywhere who believe in freedom, will be inventing and experimenting and trying to do new things to make life better for themselves and those around us. To those people everywhere; “Keep up the good work”.
Let us never forget what make us Americans. Never let us forget to protect those freedoms. And never let us forget the men and women in uniform who have paid dearly to protect your freedom and mine.