October 25, 2020

Gen Z Conservative

The thoughts of a young conservative on political issues relevant to all ages

what is the american dream

What is the American Dream? Freedom and Economic Opportunity

The Quote

“The ingredients of the American Dream are freedom, limited government, American capitalism, hard work, and personal responsibility.” -Rachel Campos-Duffy answering “What is the American Dream?”

In my opinion, taxation is theft when taxes are spent on programs other than law and order or national defense. Because of that, people who want to raise taxes certainly can’t answer “what is the American dream?”! If you agree, order one of these! Buy one here: https://teespring.com/taxation-is-theft-1776

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My Take on “What is the American Dream?”

Democrats say that the American Dream is dead. In their end of time-like view of America, the middle class is disappearing, social mobility has all but disappeared, and we need “free” everything to cover basic costs.




Of course, all of that is absurd. The middle class isn’t really dying, it’s just gradually becoming the upper-middle class that Charles Murray discusses in Coming Apart. Similarly, social mobility isn’t disappearing in the way that Democrats say. Hard workers can still rise up the social ladder. But, it just looks like it is because getting to the top requires making the right decisions and getting an education. And finally, the idea that we need “free” college, healthcare, or anything else is ridiculous. Despite what Democrats may claim, those things aren’t “rights.” Instead, getting them from the government is just a gradual enslavement of the American people.

In my view, the reason many Americans don’t understand that is that they can’t answer the “what is the American Dream?” question. They think it just means having the oft-envisioned house with a white picket fence.

In reality, the American dream is being productive and free in a capitalist, small government state. That used to be the American creed, as Samuel Huntington explains in Who Are We?.

what is the american dream? what is symbolized by the statue of liberty
The Statue of Liberty: A Symbol of the American Dream

Luckily, some Americans still understand that and know that small government and capitalism are the solution to poverty. Trump, for example, is helping all Americans by expanding their access to economic opportunity and cutting the size of regulatory agencies.

And, of course, our Founding Fathers knew that. Chief Justice John Marshall worked to strengthen property rights so Americans had stable legal ground to better themselves economically, and both the Federalists and Anti-Federalists wrote about the need for liberty and a small government. The Libertarian Reader provides a good synopsis of those viewpoints.




Those early Americans, like many conservative Americans today, saw that a stable and prosperous middle class is the best class to have for a just society. It allows people to follow their interests and earn money in a non-back breaking way while still ensuring that they have to work and use their time purposefully. You still have to get out of bed and build something.

And that is, I think, an ingredient of the American dream that is too frequently forgotten when we attempt to answer “what is the American Dream?” Just look at was Duffy said. Freedom, limited government, American capitalism, hard work, and personal responsibility are all mentioned. See what isn’t mentioned?

A welfare state. A life of ease. Universal Basic Income. And so on and so forth. America was not intended to be a welfare state and that is something that should not be forgotten when answering “what is the American dream?” Here, you are free to follow whatever career you might want. We have no guilds or hereditary positions. You are free to follow whatever path you choose, no matter where you come from. That is the American Creed and is helpful to remember when answering “What is the American Dream?”

But, up until recently, at least, you could not just loaf around and live off of the public dole. That was never a component of the American Dream mentioned when past conservatives have attempted to answer “what is the American Dream?”

Unfortunately, far too many Americans seem to have forgotten that. They think that the government is supposed to use taxes to steal from the successful and then use that money to provide for their every basic need. Hence why we have the welfare state and so many people defend it, despite its obvious expense and flaws.




In my opinion, if conservatives want to conclusively answer “what is the American Dream?”, then they need to start bringing up that living off of welfare is not part of it. The Founding Fathers expected everyone to work hard. Because of our laws and customs, you have a near-unlimited opportunity to do so. Unlike the Old World, here you can do whatever you want and build a fortune despite your starting circumstances, as many of the so-called “Robber Barons” of the Gilded Age did.

And because of that freedom, no one has a responsibility to take care of you. As a free American, you have easy access to a multitude of paths that you might follow to build your life and fortune. But you have to be the one that takes advantage of them. Remember that if you are ever asked “what is the American Dream?” It is the opportunity to work, not the responsibility of others to take care of your every want and need.

So, in conclusion, if you’re ever asked about the American dream then you need to respond in the same manner as Ms. Duffy. The American Dream isn’t just the nice house, middle-class job, and white picket fence. Theoretically, the government could provide those things, but if it were to do so, that wouldn’t really be the same dream. That’s just the government redistributing wealth and “giving” you things. Instead, the American Dream is having the opportunity to better yourself. The ingredients for that are, basically, capitalism, opportunity, and limited government.

By: Gen Z Conservative


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