Unshackle the American Dream

Individual Independence, Labor is on the Supply Side, Success without the Government, Frederick Douglass

In this issue…

  • Liberty Perspective: Individual Independence

  • Wealth Digest: Labor is on the Supply Side

  • The Word: Success without the Government

  • Historical Hero: Frederick Douglass

Liberty Perspective

A month after the battles at Lexington and Concord, the Second Continental Congress convened in Philadelphia. They authorized the creation of the Continental Army, a currency and a group who could confer with foreign powers. In short, a real governing body was created so the colonists could defend themselves against the British.

At that time, most of the delegates were against fighting for independence. They wanted to remain loyal to the Crown. Thus in July 1775, the Congress sought a peaceful resolution with King George III known as the Olive Branch Petition. The King, however, responded by declaring the colonists were in a state of rebellion and he refused to negotiate.

Over the next year, many more grievances occurred so that the desire to be an independent nation spread throughout the colonies. Fighting for freedom was no longer a minority opinion and on July 4, 1776 America declared its independence from Great Britain.

Individual Independence

Freedom is within the DNA of most Americans. It began with the pioneers who left the old-world for the new, risking everything to freely worship God. The colonists felt the enslaving hand of Great Britain and chopped it off. It continued within those who were actually enslaved against their will. These African descendants saw the free world around them and yearned for the same God-given right for liberty.

The Liberty Perspective is that freedom is a precious gift from God. Unfortunately, there are many on the left who would rather create government dependents rather than promote individual independence.

The more people who rely on the government, the less free our society becomes. Our society becomes less free because ceding power to the government means following it’s rules—e.g., how much money someone can earn and how much assets one can own and accumulate. If a dependent wants to create organic wealth or earn more income, the benefits could stop flowing. I can imagine one day that thought crimes could preclude assistance.

Not only are people trapped, but they no longer seek income by meeting demand in the marketplace. This isn’t good for our economy because ultimately everyone suffers with unmet demand, whether we know it or not.

Even more insidious, there’s a political party that promises even more benefits, only if voters keep them in power. That’s anti-American and something all of us should resist.

It would be nice if our leaders actually encouraged organic wealth creation and individual success. Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda spends a lot of money and creates new entitlement programs. Nowhere in his plan, however, does he promote individual success, just the need for more government.

With the millions of job openings, have you heard Democratic leaders encourage people on the sidelines to get a job? Doing so would be beneficial for those who don’t have a career. Instead, these politicians would rather extend unemployment insurance and make child tax credits a monthly benefit.

I can’t recall many, from either side, speaking about living within one’s means, downsizing, saving and investing; all to create organic wealth for oneself. A good government policy would simply be to encourage society to actually improve their lives. If politicians want to do something, enact laws that make it easier for people to become free without an entitlement program.

Every year, many articles are written about the numbers of new millionaires in our society. About 10% of households are currently worth at least a million dollars. I’ve never heard any politician say they want to double or triple those numbers so that many more people can have economic freedom. Wouldn’t that be beneficial so people don’t ever need government assistance?

Encouraging individual independence should be our goal. It will reduce the size of government and even more importantly, allow people to live out the American Dream as they define it.

Labor is on the Supply Side

The greatest opportunity for individual financial success is with supply side economics. This theory maintains that the more freedom we give people, the more successful people will become.

As you know, supply side economics is most associated with businesses. Examples of good policies would be low taxation, less regulations and fair trade agreements with other nations. When businesses are unshackled, they will work to compete to earn more revenue by meeting demand. This pursuit of profit leads to a robust job market as businesses look to hire people to help them expand.

But that’s only part of the story. Supply side economics isn’t just a theory for business freedom; it also includes labor freedom. It may be surprising that labor is included within supply side economics, but workers meet the demand in the employment market. Therefore, labor is on the supply side.

Businesses are on the supply side when they supply products and services, but on the demand side when hiring workers and paying vendors. Workers are on the supply side with their labor, but on the demand side when spending their incomes.

So when we talk about supply side economics, we should be talking about the entirety of the supply side, not just business. If we want to have a growing economy and opportunities for everyone, then we need supply side policies that give more freedom to all of supply.

A terrible policy, for example, that some may think is supply side economics is permitting the hiring of illegal immigrants. It enables businesses to keep their labor expense down so it does help them compete. But it harms the legal workforce by taking jobs away and it puts downward pressure on wages.

Another bad policy is creating an environment where businesses are incentivized to move their operations to another country. It may appear that it’s supply side economics because businesses have to compete, but in fact it harms the labor supply within the United States.

The recent federal unemployment compensation is another policy that harmed one side. When state governments said it was okay to put the lights on, many businesses couldn’t fully meet demand because of labor shortages. People were being paid to stay home even though job openings exceeded the unemployment numbers.

Here are just some of the good policies that benefit all of supply: low taxes, less regulations, fair trade agreements, job training programs, E-verify, and legal immigration that’s merit and market needs based.

As a society, we need to create policies that give the entirety of supply more freedom to pursue income by meeting demand. If a policy harms one side or the other, then it’s not good for our country. This assumes that we want a dynamic job market and an economy where everyone can obtain success. If some politicians don’t want that, stop listening to them and vote them out.

The Word

In the Liberty Perspective, I closed with encouraging individual independence should be our goal. With that in mind, politicians on the right should be talking about just that, all the time.

The voters would be attentive in hearing how GOP policies will make all Americans more free to live out their God-given potential. Not only is it inspirational, but is something that is preferred to that of the Democratic vision.

People know the vision of the left, to create socialistic policies because the world isn’t fair. But what’s the GOP vision, to let people fend for themselves or get left behind?

We need to correct that vision by promoting policies that will enable people to succeed without a government assistance program. Sure, we’re for a temporary safety net, but we believe most people would prefer a hand up as opposed to being a permanent dependent.

Self-defined success (the American Dream) is only possible within a free market based economy. It’s not achievable if one is reliant upon the government.

There’s a large group of young Democratic voters out there who are entrepreneurial and desire to achieve something. We need to speak to those people. Their best bet is voting for freedom not a controlled economy by the government.

Historical Hero

Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) grew up in slavery. He was taken away from his mother while still an infant and given to an older slave who could no longer work in the fields.

He only saw his mother four or five times his whole childhood, brief periods at night. They barely talked, she just held him until he fell asleep. When he was about seven he was told that his mother had died. No doubt the brutality of slavery was the cause.

Douglass as a young boy witnessed severe whippings firsthand. One was of his aunt where she was tied to a gate and lashed so severely that blood gushed everywhere. Frederick gathered the reason for the beating was because the slaveholder was jealous of her seeing another slave. At least that’s what he heard while she was whipped.

The beating didn’t stop until the slaveholder grew tired. Douglass wrote, “It was the blood‐stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery, through which I was about to pass.”

Soon after this, Frederick was shipped away from the plantation to a new slaveholder in the city of Baltimore where the wife of the house began to teach him to read. They had only just started their lessons when the husband found out and became enraged and forbid it further. He said that learning to read would spoil Douglass and “there would be no keeping him. It would forever unfit him to be a slave.”

The entire episode was a revelation to Douglass. He knew at once his pathway from slavery to freedom; it was to teach himself to read. While living in Baltimore over seven years, Douglas did learn how to read. All Frederick could do was think about being free:

The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing. It was ever present to torment me with a sense of my wretched condition. I saw nothing without seeing it, I heard nothing without hearing it, and felt nothing without feeling it. It looked from every star, it smiled in every calm, breathed in every wind, and moved in every storm.

At about fifteen years old, he was passed on to a new slaveholder who wasn’t kind. To correct Frederick’s rebellion, he was lent to a brutal man named Edward Covey for a year to break him.

  • I had been at my new home but one week before Mr. Covey gave me a very severe whipping, cutting my back, causing the blood to run, and raising ridges on my flesh as large as my little finger.

  • I lived with Mr. Covey one year. During the first six months, of that year, scarce a week passed without his whipping me.

  • If at any one time of my life more than another, I was made to drink the bitterest dregs of slavery, that time was during the first six months of my stay with Mr. Covey. We were worked in all weathers. It was never too hot or too cold; it could never rain, blow, hail, or snow, too hard for us to work in the field.

One day Douglass fell ill in the fields (heatstroke/dehydration) and while on the ground was kicked in the side to rise. He tried and failed and was kicked again. After stumbling to the ground yet again, he was hit over the head with a hickory slat. This caused a severe bloody wound.

Frederick then escaped to return to the actual slaveholder to complain and seek help because he feared certain death. The man, however, sent him back the next morning because he didn’t want to owe Covey a year’s wages.

Soon after returning, Covey came after Frederick, but for the first time he fought back. They fought for two hours and it only ended because both were exhausted. Covey got the worst of it, however, and was bleeding from where Douglass had cut into his skin with his fingers.

In Frederick’s last six months with Covey, the slave breaker never again attempted to whip him.

This battle with Mr. Covey was the turning‐point in my career as a slave. It rekindled the few expiring embers of freedom, and revived within me a sense of my own manhood. It recalled the departed self‐confidence, and inspired me again with a determination to be free.

Ove the next four years, Douglass worked for various slaveholders. Then on September 3, 1838 he escaped, “I left my chains, and succeeded in reaching New York without the slightest interruption of any kind.” He received his help from the Underground Railroad.

Frederick Douglass would end up marrying and writing his autobiography, which became a best seller. You can read it here. Soon after, he went to Ireland and Great Britain for a two year speaking tour, partly out of fear of being legally enslaved by his former slaveholder; he was then well known. While overseas some friends purchased his freedom and he was able to return to the U.S.

Douglass was a famous abolitionist and he started his own newspaper, the North Star to devote to the cause. The paper was used by the abolitionist movement to reach people across the country about the human right of freedom. He would also support the women’s suffrage movement with his speeches and with his paper.

In 1863 and 1864 Douglass visited the White House to meet with President Abraham Lincoln (R) on three different occasions to discuss various issues regarding black soldiers and the voting rights for those who were emancipated.

  • He became the first African American presidential appointee as U.S. Marshal of the District of Columbia. This was in 1877 by Rutherford B. Hayes (R).

  • In 1881 President James A. Garfield (R) appointed him as the recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia.

  • Douglass was appointed as a minister to Haiti in 1889 by President Benjamin Harrison (R).

  • During the Republican National Convention in 1888, he became the first black man to receive a vote for president of the United States.

“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” – Frederick Douglass

Image: Library of Congress

Spread the Liberty Word

Quotable Suggestions:

“The Liberty Perspective is that freedom is a precious gift from God. Unfortunately, there are many on the left who would rather create government dependents rather than promote individual independence.”

“If we want to have a growing economy and opportunities for everyone, then we need supply side policies that give more freedom to all of supply (which includes labor).”

“Self-defined success (the American Dream) is only possible within a free market based economy. It’s not achievable if one is reliant upon the government.”

“The silver trump of freedom had roused my soul to eternal wakefulness. Freedom now appeared, to disappear no more forever. It was heard in every sound, and seen in every thing.” –Frederick Douglass