When “Free” Existed in America                                                                   July 10, 2019

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There was a time in America when everything many of our citizens needed was given to them.  The leaders of this group established a program to ensure food, shelter, clothing, education, childcare, and medical benefits were provided to their citizens. The citizens worked for equal pay and did not worry about retirement because it too was covered.

The leaders of another group set up a program where nothing was free. It did offer everyone the option to work or not work and the ability to choose the type of work each person wished to do. If any of these citizens wanted the freebies the other group provided they had to pay for them out of their earnings, and each person was payed according to the service and quality of service they provided. Each citizen could buy as much of whatever they could afford, or they did not buy it. If they wanted to buy more, they either found another type of work they were qualified to do that paid more or they worked more. Some decided they could buy more if they started their own businesses and provided work opportunities to other citizens in the group willing to work hard.

As one would suspect, the tension between these two groups grew over time because one group wanted what the other group had. These desires eventually lead to disputes, conflicts, and violence between the two groups, especially the leaders of each group. The reader may assume these conflicts were the result of the second group feeling it was unfair they should have to pay for all those things the first group provided for free. Let’s put names and titles to each group to see if this is true. The leaders of the first group were called Plantation Owners and the program is called slavery. The leaders of the second group were Capitalist and the program is called liberty.

In the 1860s a Civil War was fought over giving the citizens of the first group the right to give up everything they received without cost from their leaders, so they could have the right to pay for all those things the citizens in the second group had to buy for themselves! Why? When Plantation Owners own and control the resources everyone needs and distribute those resource as they determine, freedom and liberty do not exist. Only when every individual has the ability and responsibility to determine his or her own destiny, and the destiny of their families; can freedom and liberty flourish.

Some will say the Civil War was not the result of economic issues, but of cruelty and abuse of the enslaved citizens on the plantation. While this is true, we must recognize the Plantation Owners did not want to give up their inexpensive labor force. The free meals, clothing, and shelter were meager and deplorable. Free medical care was just enough to keep the adults alive and working in the fields as was the free childcare. Free education only taught enough English for immigrants to read, write, speak and take direction and obey rules. Retirement was confinement to and a grave on the plantation.

Families are a microcosm of society, replicas of small societies of citizens who are related to one another through birth and marriage and civil wars are more the norm than the exception. As such, they are a Petri Dish we can observe to predict the effects and outcomes different environments, conditions, and personalities will have in a macro-society. Families that foster entitled children dependent on family authorities for survival create a society of new leaders who embrace and create more entitlements. It becomes a downward spiraling whirlpool into destruction. This is why 70% of family wealth is lost each time it transfers to the next generation, and completely gone in three generations. It will surely have the same result on societies that encourage entitlement rather than self-sufficiency and self-governance. Children raised in homes where they get everything they want without having to produce the resources to acquire it will become spoiled, entitled, unproductive, emotionally damaged, and low self-esteem adults unable to care for themselves.

After slavery was legally and officially abolished, many slaves chose to remain on the plantation. They feared the freedom of a world that required them to care for themselves. They had no skills beyond picking cotton, plowing fields, chopping wood, and all the other chores they performed for their masters for which there was relatively little demand outside the plantation. Children emancipated into a world today that requires high-level skills and intellect that serve a society’s demand for performance, who have never had to actually produce anything, face a very scary and uncertain future. They will choose to stay on their modern-day plantations rather than venturing into the unknown.

Imagine a family or society that adopts the following rules: (The words Citizens and Children are interchangeable)

“Citizens have the right to work, that is, are guaranteed the right to employment and payment for their work in accordance with its quantity and quality.”

“Citizens have the right to rest and leisure. The institution of annual vacations with full pay for workers and employees and the provision of a wide network of sanatoria, rest homes and clubs for the accommodation of the working people.”

“Citizens have the right to maintenance in old age, and also in case of sickness or loss of capacity to work. This right is ensured by the extensive development of social insurance of workers and employees at state expense, free medical service for the working people, and the provision of a wide network of health resorts for the use of the working people.”

“Citizens have the right to education. The right is insured by universal, compulsory elementary education; by education, including higher education being free of charge, by the system of state stipends for the overwhelming majority of students and universities and colleges.”

That sounds like a good deal. Who wouldn’t want to be a member of that family or society? I will confess to a little deception. Those paragraphs actually start with “Citizens of the U.S.S.R have the right…” These are quotes from Chapter X of the 1936 Constitution, Stalin’s Constitution for the Soviet Union.[i] This is the ideal world socialism and communism say they will provide. Reality proves it does not!

My point is family leaders or leaders in society who remove requirements to earn what you need and want and replace it with free handouts are the equivalent of Plantation Owners who enslave their citizens by taking away their freedom and liberty to produce, risk, fail or succeed, and become responsible citizens who will preserve and grow the family wealth or society’s wealth to benefit themselves and future generations. Unwarranted “free” always creates a form of slavery. I again offer my quote from Lloyd Reeb, spokesperson for Halftime and author of From Success to Significance; “Every time you give something to your child you take something else away. What are you depriving your children of?” Likewise, every time you give free things to society’s citizenry they do not have to earn for themselves, something else is taken away. What will “free” deprive our citizens of?

[i] Copied from the transcript of Life, Liberty, and Levin on the Fox News Station, June 30, 2019

Kip Kolson is the president of Family Wealth Leadership, a multi-family office and family coaching firm, and author of You Can Have It All; Wealth, Wisdom, and Purpose—Strategies for Creating a Lasting Legacy and Strong Family. You can order your copy at Amazon, the FWL website below, or email info@familywealthleadership.com

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