Yesterday on the podcast I spoke about the recent controversy surrounding the Trump administrations decision to take "likelihood of using welfare" into account when admitting individuals on "Green Card" status. In response to this decision, the conversation moved towards the poem on the plaque at the statue's feet.
" Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door " - Emma Lazarus
This poem, as wonderful as it is, has taken on a new meaning; applied by those on the left that wish to help those in need, by way of higher taxes, and increased wealth redistribution.
The new meaning goes something like this: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I will make sure that they are well taken care of by way of increased taxation on the most productive in our society."
An NPR host called the original poem the "American Ethos." Although she was referring to the original poem, her meaning was implied in my sarcastic revision.
So what does the Statue of Liberty stand for?
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the people of France (mostly) to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of our independence from Great Britain.
I think the most important thing to note in the dedication of the statue was that it celebrated a time that we broke off from a tyrannical Kingdom that was taxing the people to death. "Taxation without representation" was one of the leading rally cries of the American colonies.
Another very important thing to remember is that at the time of the statues dedication, there was no income tax in America. There was no welfare system. A simple fact such as this should easily make the case that in no way does the statue mean it is America's duty to finance the lives of people immigrating from other countries. Emphasis on it "should."
There is absolutely nothing about the promise of America that says "We will take from those in our country that have the most, and give it to you if you hit hard times." That is absolutely not what the statue says. Want to know how I know that? The previous paragraph. At the time the statue was made, we didn't even have a welfare system. The government was not forcefully taking trillions of dollars of our productivity and using it inefficiently and ineffectively. So it can't mean that.
What about immigrants?
Keep in mind that I am in no way writing an article against immigration. I believe that immigration is a net benefit to our society. I do not think that all immigrants are coming here simply for a free handout. I think they are coming here for the original meaning of the statue.
Immigrants, like people of all color, are being used as pawns in our governments political games to garner support among the people. Both sides are doing it. I'd recommend looking into the Libertarian Party. If only 3% of the country are voting for them, there's a good chance they are doing something right.
Be charitable, absolutely. People are in need, and they need help. Sometimes people even need help when they been working hard their entire lives. But- If you want to help those that are in need, it's pretty clear that the U.S. Government is the absolute worst option. Free Market Capitalism has created the best quality of life that humans have ever enjoyed. It has lifted most of the world out of absolute poverty. Are their failures? Yes, of course. But are those failures more easily addressed in a free market system, or are they better addressed in a government planned system? A free market means every transaction has value for both parties. That is not the case with the government, at all.
If you want to help the masses, be charitable, and for Heaven's sake, help us keep the Government out of the way.
This is what I would scribe at the bottom of the statue.
"If you want a place where you can be free to pursue your true potential, come to America. If you want a place where you can escape the clutches of a tyrannical government, come to America. If you think you have something great inside of you that's yearning to get out, come to America. But remember this: The responsibility is on you to make something out of yourself. We will make sure the environment remains free of artificial and arbitrary barriers to your success, but nothing else. You may freely choose to help those around you that are in need, but you may not choose to force those around you to help you when you are in need. Come here because you want the opportunity to become something better than you are now. It's going to be tough. Times are going to be hard. But that is the price of freedom. Freedom means that you can make it into the top 1% if you work hard enough, but it also means that you can fall to the bottom 1% if you fail. If you accept that, then welcome to America."
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