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America's Real Problem

     As the republicans lick their wounds and democrats lick their chops the American people remain gleefully, blissfully, ignorant of the real problem America faces. You see, it's not the fiscal cliff, it's not ballooning deficits and burgeoning debt, it's not the easy money policies of borrow, print and spend. It's not stubbornly high unemployment or a sluggish economy or runaway entitlements. It's not a wholly mismanaged healthcare system or illegal immigration or illegal drugs - in fact it's not anything illegal at all. All of these issues, all of these problems are symptoms of a more hideous disease. The real problem America faces is the misuse of personal power.

Americans are intentionally, deliberately, enthusiastically giving up their personal power for the promise of a modicum of comfort and a measure of security. The burden of personal responsibility is just too much for too many Americans to bear. So, instead of embarking on an adventure and building a life of substance they cede power to an ever expanding state and the moneyed interests that govern that state. The easy, short term, feel good now choice is consistently winning out over the difficult long term, put forth some effort option. We are proving to be a people easily led to the slaughter.

Socialism is an attractive concept. In theory it is a wonderful way of life. Every person contributes their intellect, their talents, and their energy to the collective. In turn they receive everything they require to live a full and fulfilling life. Each supports the other. This utopian ideal is very attractive.

A functioning, happy family is a microcosm of effective socialism. Those members of the family that have the ability do what they can for those that lack ability. Everyone contributes in some way to the family and everyone benefits. In truth, humanity has not found a better way to live. The challenge arises, however, when factoring in human nature and broadening the scale.

The difficulty we find in socialist societies is the same difficulty found in dysfunctional families. Every individual bears a responsibility to choose and a responsibility to contribute. In dysfunctional groups these responsibilities break down. Dysfunctional families and dysfunctional socialist societies can't figure out how to effectively balance power. The inevitable consolidation of power leaves most people without responsibility, and without responsibility nothing tempers desire. Centralized planning causes free-riders to proliferate. Free-riders are people who take, but never give; people who benefit, but never contribute. Socialism demonstrates people are not stupid. Ultimately the power shift plants a devastating seed. In time the need for independence and the avarice of unconstrained desire multiply to overwhelm the socialist system and it collapses.

In the United States we have a pronounced, two-pronged problem. As we attempt to convert to a socialist construct we continue to delude ourselves, and the world, with the notion we are champions of free-market capitalism. The government takes over industry after industry, function after function and yet we encourage the world to invest in this folly. This effort corrupts both capitalism and socialism. This rush of citizens to relinquish power, turning it over to any socialist or capitalist who will claim it, has given unprecedented opportunity for the ruling classes to consolidate power; and that is the one and only thing they do exceeding well.

Now, don't get me wrong. The direction we are headed in, though woefully destructive for most people, still stands to benefit many. The elite will amass all the wealth and power the humbled masses care to relinquish. And those elite, to ensure their status, will begrudgingly award some of those lucky masses the crumbs they need to survive. They will also offer an illusion of security allowing the people to, at least, entertain themselves. After all, bread and games are all we really need.

What we the people are failing to realize as we rush to abandon responsibility is that the promises we are buying into wholesale are empty, baseless, pure fantasy. The real problem Americans face is the fear of responsibility. We want freedom, but we don't want responsibility. Unfortunately you can't have one without the other. Though we can continue to fill the airwaves with ranting's and ravings about the symptoms, until we begin to address the disease, the disease will continue to consume us.

Copyright (c) 2012 Scott F Paradis

Article Source:

Scott F. Paradis, author of "Success 101 How Life Works - Know the Rules, Play to Win" and "Warriors, Diplomats, Heroes, Why America's Army Succeeds - Lessons for Business and Life" focuses on the fundamental principles of leadership and success;

Posted on 2012-11-17, By: *

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Note: The content of this article solely conveys the opinion of its author.

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