Late in the eighteenth century there were two revolutions of note, the French and of course the American. It is a testament to the factors which bind us together through the centuries, that the values that motivated each revolution are still what motivates people today, for better or for worse. Even in the United States, the embers of both revolutions still glow brightly and ignite the passions of people on both sides of the political spectrum.
The french Revolution was a populace movement built on a hatred for the wealthy and it blamed them for everything bad in 18th century French society. It resulted in many of the aristocracy being permanently separated from their heads. By contrast, the American Revolution was fomented mostly by the wealthy, and they pledged that wealth, along with their very lives and sacred honor, to the cause of freedom and economic liberty. Most of the Founding Fathers lost their wealth to the revolution, many also lost their lives, but none lost their sacred honor.
If one were to attach one of the two eighteenth century revolutions to the two movements in this country today, Liberals would be more closely associated with the French Revolution and Conservatives with the American. At the very core of the French Revolution was a demand for more government, the opposite was true of the American revolution. And where the French Revolution chose to eliminate their wealthy citizens, the American Revolution was centered around the kind of economic freedom which created more wealthy citizens. Today's Liberals are not suggesting that we engage in public guillotining of the rich, not yet anyway, but the policies they advocate will behead the very capitalist ideals that create wealth. Their campaign to demonize the rich has created a new and growing class of people that demand a bigger and bigger government to redress their perceived grievances.
The entitlists, as I like to call them, are descendants of the French Revolution and keep the embers of class warfare and hatred burning. They want to benefit from the work someone else has done in their own self-interest. The descendants of the American Revolution want only to reap the fruits of the work they have done. Both are working in self-interest, but the difference is that the entitlist wakes every morning scheming ways in which to reap fruit from his neighbor's tree. The sons and daughters of the American Revolution wake every morning trying to devise ways to expand their orchard. The human characteristic of working in one's self-interest is present in every system of government, the morality of Capitalism is that individual self-interest is able to expand to benefit others. Berkshire Hathoway and Microsoft were founded not to create thousands of millionaires but to benefit Warren Buffet and Bill Gates, respectively. The effect was to create wealth for millions of other Americans, thereby expanding the scope of opportunity without any government involvement. Another example of this is the package delivery service. Federal Express and United Parcel Service have not only provided a more efficient method of shipping, but have created wealth for their shareholders, many of whom are every day Americans who own the companies stocks in their retirement accounts. The United States Postal Service, on the other hand, hasn't created wealth for anyone and has in fact run deficits which cost the American taxpayers billions of dollars.
In the final analysis, the French Revolution, as is the case with the modern Liberal, looked through a myopic lens to grab someone else's wealth in the short term, thereby destroying the very engine of that wealth for the future. The American Revolution, and by extension the modern Conservative movement, looked to create an environment of economic freedom which would propel the country into a future of prosperity based on individual liberty.
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