Our recent survey that showed “Free Market Capitalism” was favored by 59 percent to 16 percent over “Big Government Socialism” came as a shock to some in the establishment. Many were convinced socialism was gaining favor, and we had to spend our time apologizing for capitalism as it declined.
Fortunately, it seems that two generations of educational indoctrination and news media bias have not dented faith in Free Market Capitalism– nor have they meaningfully increased support for Big Government Socialism.
There are three reasons for this.
The first is cultural. A deep belief in achievement, hard work, big dreams, and success forms the heart of American culture. The spirit of American belief in excelling is captured in the Heisman Trophy, winning the Master’s Tournament, television shows about great chefs, the Final Four in college basketball, and the winners in shows such as Dancing with the Stars— the list is endless.
As Gen. George S. Patton told his troops:
“Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. Now, I wouldn’t give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war.”
Good radical activists might scoff at Patton as an obsolete example of right-wing thinking, but most Americans will resonate with his theme. This is why there is such anger about failing and leaving Americans behind in Afghanistan.
The belief in working hard and achieving is captured in the reaction to Oregon’s insane new law abolishing standards in math, reading, and writing for high school students. According to Rasmussen, the American people reject abolishing graduation standards by 81 percent to 12 percent. In fact, most Americans believe collapsing standards hurts minorities and poor children who need the standards to be able to learn enough to rise.
Big Government Socialism fails these cultural tests. It emphasizes subsidizing dependence, giving money to people who haven’t earned it, propping up politically connected interests (even if they always fail), favoring bureaucracies over small business, and discriminating against successful people. This alienates most Americans and is counter to their sense of how life should be lived.
Most Americans believe we have been endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And most Americans believe “pursuit of happiness” means working to achieve your own success. They do not believe we are guaranteed a“right to happiness.” This is why most Americans favor the idea of “equality of opportunity” but reject government intervention to impose “equity of outcomes.”