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Our “Too-Cool” Generation Voted for the Cold of Statism

Look around. Commit what you see to memory. One of the most oft-quoted Reaganisms warns that “one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children’s children, what it once was like in America when men were free.” We better start making memories of freedom so we can tell or children and our children’s children what America was like when we were young. When we were free.
I wrote those words the day after the election. And I stand by them now that the dust has settled. Appropriately, Reagan was talking about the threat of socialized healthcare when he spoke those fateful words. Yes, I am upset about the results of the election. But I am not crying fraud, nor am saying that the Romney campaign failed. Both campaigns did an admirable job of presenting their cases to the American people. And our generation chose the path of socialism. I wasn’t nearly as discouraged by the results of the 2008 election because I wrote it off as ignorance. Surely our generation doesn’t know the real nature of socialism. They don’t know that the ideas of President Obama aren’t new, but rather dry-cleaned policies of the 1930s. I resolved that if we dedicate ourselves to educate our generation about the fundamental differences between the threat of socialism and the promise of free enterprise, that Americans would chose free enterprise. That resolve led to projects like Values & Capitalism, and to countless books, seminars and YouTube videos. We spent the last four years educating young voters, but they still voted for the socialism, thinking it is “cool.” Too bad they don’t know that cool chill is only the beginning of the biting cold of statism. Many of my fellow freedom fighters are taking the “chin up” approach, marching on and looking toward 2016. I appreciate their attitudes—after all someone has to see the silver lining. But I am choosing to feel the pain of losing an opportunity for free-market policies, and to really let it sink in that Barack Obama succeeded in his goal of “fundamentally transforming” our country. A friend and fellow freedom fighter, Gabriella Hoffman, is one of those whose resolve is setting and is looking towards the future. If anyone’s perspective can make me feel better, it is hers. Whereas I am upset that our generation made an educated decision for socialism, she points out that we have only voted with our head knowledge, not our personal experiences. The daughter of Lithuanian immigrants who fled the USSR as political refugees in 1985, Gabriella does understand tyranny and truly values freedom. Unlike her, most in our generation do not understand the heroism of individuals like Ronald Reagan, they don’t remember the horror of the Soviet Union, and they don’t see the striking similarities between the policies of our current administration and the evil empire. In Hoffman’s estimation, the genius of President Obama is that the “goodies” of his socialistic healthcare program came before the election, while the “pain” will come after. Our young generation of voters did get an education about socialism versus free enterprise over the last four years, but they have only really experienced the fruits of our free enterprise system. They haven’t felt crippling taxes (on all of us, not just the richest one percent). They haven’t witnessed the decrease in the quality of our healthcare, shortages in medication or long lines for life-saving surgeries. Hoffman holds that hope won’t be truly lost until our generation experiences the sting of socialism, and still chooses it over freedom. But that day hasn’t come yet. We still have time, and therefore we need to make the moral case for free markets. This will only be aided by the stark reality of socialism building like a storm cloud on the horizon. Does our generation need a taste of our own socialized medicine to learn the lesson our parents’ generation failed to teach us? I had certainly hoped not. I hoped that we could learn from the past and make a better future. But maybe Hoffman is correct, and we must learn this lesson for ourselves. Today, the American Way is not the popular way. Like our Founding Fathers before us, we are counted as a small band of rebels for believing in freedom.