No one in the year 1870 could have guessed how wonderful it would be in America 150 years later. Who could have predicted there would be cars, jets, electric lights, air conditioning, antibiotics, vaccinations, birth control, recorded sound, videos, TVs, cell phones, personal computers, and, most impressive of all, instant wireless communication through the internet? Who could have imagined that in America the masses would be freed from 60 hours per week of hard labor and that less than 5% of the workforce would be able to feed the entire country? After millennia of struggling just to avoid starvation, starvation in most regions would be eliminated. In the last 150 years life expectancy in America was more than doubled, Americans walked on the moon and surgeons developed methods to repair fatal heart defects from a simple incision in a leg or arm.
To what, or whom, do we owe these mind-blowing advances in the length and quality of our lives? The broad answer is: our institutions. America’s success rests on its economic institutions of private property rights and free markets, its systems of justice and education, and its devotion to the rule of law. Some regions of the world without these institutions still suffer from starvation and short life expectancy. However, much of the world despite having inferior institutions, is able to prosper from observing the myriad innovations that were invented or popularized in just one country: the United States.
While the last 150 years of progress could not have been predicted, can we predict what America will be like 150 years from now in 2170? Well, if the progressive left has its way the world will be easy to predict. Progress will halt and society will decay in every regard. Life will deteriorate not just in America, but throughout the world. We must understand that when a country like Venezuela adopts socialism, it can still manage to pump a little oil out of the ground to sell to countries with institutions that work. But socialism in some countries depends on other societies having the institutions that enable economic progress, and more importantly, reveal market prices. Market prices are the constantly-evolving signals that reveal the information required throughout a modern economy to cooperate in an increasingly complex and rapidly changing world. Without at least one country with a very large economy having well-developed markets, the entire world will digress back into dark ages.
The fantasies of the left were espoused by John Lennon: no countries, no religion, no possessions and a world living as one. But the realities of the left’s world have been demonstrated by Lenin and other despots: 100 million killed in 100 years by the totalitarian end game of socialism. Socialists start with controlling economic institutions and then move onto controlling all institutions. Global totalitarianism is what 2170 will be like if the progressive left has its way.
Venezuela and North Korea are cases in point of what happens when a nation adopts socialism in a world in which some countries are free and in which market prices are revealed. But, if America goes left, there won’t be another country to solve new problems and to innovate. If America goes left, the next time there won’t be an American economy and its freedom-fighters to save the world as it did in World War II. Germany’s attempt to transform its National Socialism (Nazism) into global socialism failed. The goal to castrate America is step one of the left’s plan for global socialism.
But here is the alternative. If America remains free of socialism, astounding economic miracles will occur over the next 150 years. Immortality? Teleportation? No one knows. But this is sure: if America remains free then in 2170 much of the rest of the world can continue to prosper from the innovations that America cradles and the market prices that it reveals.
Ronald Reagan said it well: “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”