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Liberty’s Dilemma

America. Two Nations Dependent/Independent

Seymour W. Itzkoff

Liberty’s Dilemma is a diagnostic analysis of the falling away in the United States from the founders’ vision of individual liberty and freedom of association. The founders never could have envisioned the enormous expansion of industrial and scientific power we have experienced, nor the national and international conflicts. Never could they have predicted the massive growth in power of the federal government – the kind of power they fought against in our initial struggle for independence and liberty. One significant consequence of these events for our future is the massive dependency of large portions of our present population and the consequent debilitating redistribution of the productive wealth of the independent classes.
This growth of a seemingly permanent dependent class has gone largely unexplained. Liberty’s Dilemma points to the declining intellectual capital in large portions of our society as cause. This is reflected in the disintegration of family life, lowering educational achievement levels, and the flight of our industrial and technological base. Until our leadership awakens to this fundamental issue of our intellectual capital deficits and their cause, the fundamental vision of liberty that was brought into reality by our Constitutional founders will have forever slipped beyond our political reach.
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Preface

Extract



A European Perspective

To start with, an important statement: We now live in the best of times. Not in the best of all possible worlds in the words of G. W. Leibniz, but, compared to the past millennia, the best that has ever existed. Let’s play an intellectual game: Who would you prefer to be—a Roman emperor of 2,000 years ago, an English queen of 150 years ago, an American president of 80 years ago, or a contemporary welfare recipient in a western country? Of course, on welfare you will lose your reputation.

Here are some other examples of our better life: Think of something as simple as a visit to the dentist—all of Louis XIV’s teeth were extracted (without anesthesia of course) because the physician thought they would cause illness. In the 18th century, as the parent of a feverish child with increasing temperatures, in the range of 104 F°, 105 F°, 106 F°, you could do little or nothing. Ten of Charlemagne’s children died before he himself was old. A human life is seriously compromised without antibiotics, vaccination, analgesics and modern physicians. For a woman there were few choices.

Not only has medical care improved, but also nutrition, transport, quality of housing (water, indoor plumbing, electricity, light, heating, air-conditioning), ← ix | x → access to information (from libraries to the Internet), education, here having average intelligence. Washers, vacuums, and amazon.com replace servants. More people know how to read, to...

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