Kristy Landgren

Memorial Day, 2219

    With the Memorial Day weekend rapidly approaching, it comes time to reflect on the reason we observe this holiday. It isn’t just about barbeques, picnics, poolside amusements, or a “day-off-work,” although they are welcomed and thoroughly enjoyed.  In fact, Memorial Day is a solemn remembrance of all those who died, serving our Country in the Armed Forces. 

    It was originally called Decoration Day and began, May 30, 1868, after the Civil War, to honor and commemorate the thousands of early American soldiers who lost their lives on the battlefield.  May 30, was set aside as a day to place flowers and flags at the grave sites of those fallen heroes, honoring their ultimate sacrifices for freedom. Today, American flags are usually flown at half-mast until noon, as the tradition continues, in appreciation of all the American veterans who gave their lives, so that we may enjoy our many liberties (which are the envy of the world). Although, May 30, is the official holiday, in 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holiday Monday Act, which designated the observance of Memorial Day as the last Monday of the month, enabling a three-day weekend. I have a brother, whose birthday is on Memorial Day, so we have always enjoyed the jubilant activities of gathering in celebration of him, as well as, memorializing our noble servicemen and women. 

    But it seems that many, especially in younger generations, are no longer taught American history, civics, government, and economics in educational and cultural settings. They aren’t aware of the selfless sacrifices made over the past 243 years of America's existence. Unfortunately, many learn that America is imperialistic and has a history of prejudice and oppression, with nothing good that ever came from it. But, after a long, hard-fought Revolutionary War, between a rag-tag, colonial fighting-ensemble and the Royal, Majestic British Army/Navy, in 1776, this Country was finally born an independence nation! It began its infancy, then advanced through growing pains, as lessons were learned, and progress was made. History is a great teacher and, while mistakes occurred throughout it, just as imperfect human beings achieve growth from adversity, so do civilizations mature, enlarge, and improve with age, in wisdom and experience. 

    Unfortunately, it seems trendy today to embrace the deception of Socialism. Socialism begins by targeting the youth with societal utopian illusions that promise equal outcomes and social justice. It delivers the narrative that the death and violence associated with its long, verified history is just a façade that never happened. But they obscure the firsthand accounts that reveal the contrary (but we need look no further than the modern socialistic saga of once-thriving, oil-laden Venezuela, which is now in devastating collapse.  Socialism must always be painted with a counterfeit brush of flower-filled, rainbow-colored strokes to disguise the harsh reality of poverty, squalor and suffering.

    Socialism claims equal outcomes for all (except the ruling elite) but true Socialism’s goal is to end Capitalism.  Socialistic attitudes view the masses as common and lowly. This condescension places the elite in lofty positions of power and authority. New Democratic Socialists tout their version as superior to the traditional order. Nevertheless, there are centuries of historical evidence worldwide, indicating starvation, repression, and long lines for daily commodities, especially for insufficient or inadequate medicines and treatments. Untimely deaths occur, due to the limitations, controls, and strains put upon the system. 

    Sweden, which has long been revered as the socialistic ideal, is not true Socialism. Its economy is capitalistic, even though they are taxed at a very high rate: Roughly 47-80%.[i] [ii] When interviewed about high taxes, Swedes stated they accepted them because of the promised benefits, such as retirement. 

    Still, most Swedes know how to skirt that onerous tax burden. My Swedish friend, we’ll call Elsa, once relayed a conversation she had with her friend. Elsa’s friend informed her that her kitchen was in dire need of an upgrade. She announced she was going to do her kitchen black. Elsa was perplexed, questioning why on earth would anyone want an all-black kitchen. As she probed deeper, the friend revealed there was just no way she could afford a remodel, except she did it black. Suddenly, the light bulb turned on in Elsa’s head: The friend didn’t want a black-colored kitchen, she needed a Black-Market kitchen! An upgrade could only occur with money exchanged under the table - untaxed, so at a much lower price. 

    Capitalism’s hope and promise of unequal outcomes motivates individuals to work hard, as they imagine, create, invent, and achieve a better life for themselves, their families, and others around them. Fellowship and financial supports are accessible through churches/synagogues, faith-based establishments, neighborhood and community organizations, private foundations, and individual charitable contributions and activities. A capitalistic economy makes possible the high-cost research and development for life-saving prescriptions and discoveries. Technological achievements (often engineered as side-hustles in basements and garages) become widely available and commonplace. Even the poorest around the world are beneficiaries of U.S. subsidies and philanthropic organizations that provide vaccines, medications, health treatments, food, water purification, and technological advancements for communities and countries. The argument that Capitalism makes the rich richer and the poor poorer is not a valid critique of the system. The economic framework, itself, has been the most successful structure for generating economic growth and wealth.  It has lifted thousands, if not millions, out of poverty and continues to produce the highest societal standard of living in the history of the world. However, there is a legitimate rebuke of the corrupt effects that occur when greed and indulgence seduce portions of government, corporate, or private sectors into scamming the system. 

    As Alexander Fraser Tytler said, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the treasury, with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship.”

    He continued, “The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”[iii]

    Once tyranny prevails, the cycle to escape bondage begins again.  Ronald Reagan declared, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”[iv]

    Tytler’s 200-year mark for democratic government existence has already passed for America. Perhaps, it is because we are not a true Democracy, rather, we are a democratic, representative, Constitutional Republic, which has survived beyond prediction. So, how will we pay tribute to those framers, founders, and defenders of our freedoms, this Memorial Day weekend? Hopefully, we will enjoy all the entertaining activities that kick-off this upcoming summer season.  But let us remember to reflect, with sincere and thoughtful regard, on the memory of American heroes, who enabled our holiday festivities and remarkable American way of life. Maybe, the American dream will even be alive and well-enough to be someone else's champion for freedom, Memorial Day, 2219.

[i] Kyle Pomerleax, How Scandinavian Countries Pay for Their Government Spending: 22-56% income tax rates, https://taxfoundation.org/how-scandinavian-countries-pay-their-government-spending

[ii] Swedish VAT rates and VAT compliance: generally 25% sales tax,  https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/country-guides/europe/sweden/swedish-vat-rates.html

[iii]  Goodreads, Alexander Fraser Tytler Quotes, https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/5451872.Alexander_Fraser_Tytler_

[iv] Brainy Quote, Ronald Reagan Quotes, https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/ronald_reagan_183965

Originally published on LinkedIn

Photo: Town and Country Magazine, May 14, 2019

 

Comments

Very thoughtful posts - I'm referring my mom to the site!
Always remember and support our troops!

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