The Battle for America Is Now Makers vs. Takers

Since the death of George Floyd, America has been awash in violent protests and the sudden rise of radical, far-left political ideology. In the span of a few months, America’s cities have been overcome with looting, property destruction, and violent crime. In the meantime, mayors and other city officials have done little but cast blame and engage in ad hominem attacks against their political opponents.

As if this is not enough to undermine the founding principles of the United States, radical Marxist groups are gaining prominence and pushing socialist dogma that would have been antithetical to mainstream America just a few years ago.

Put simply, the future of American freedom and prosperity is teetering on the precipice.

At the root of all the chaos currently gripping the country is that America is in an intense battle between “makers” and “takers.” This is not a new idea. It has been discussed in-depth for decades.

Many times in our nation’s past, political leaders and social commentators have warned of the fact that increasingly more Americans are becoming net-takers, meaning they get more from government than they put in. For instance, when President Roosevelt’s New Deal policies were being imposed, many on the Right were apoplectic that this was the beginning of socialism in America.

Looking back, the critics were correct. Nearly 100 years after FDR imposed his New Deal, much of the United States now openly embraces a bevy of policies that have a long track record of failing in socialist countries across the globe. Americans are on the brink of disavowing the very same capitalist system that has lifted billions from abject poverty in favor of a disastrous system based on class envy.

In recent times, one of the most notable examples of the makers vs. takers battle occurred when Mitt Romney, of all people, uttered during his 2012 presidential campaign these now-infamous words, “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president [Barack Obama] no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.”

Although Romney received a ton of negative press at the time for making those comments, it turns out that he was right. And eight years later, his message is resonating more than ever because it’s clear the problem is only getting worse.

Last week, the DNC held its national convention, during which the party formally nominated Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) to represent Democrats on the 2020 ticket. During this four-day political extravaganza, the party revealed its true colors, showing that Democrats have gone all-in on progressivism and even socialism. From the official party platform to the Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force Recommendations, the Democrats have unequivocally become the party of “free stuff.”

At the same time, the DNC embraced cancel culture and downplayed the idea of America as the land of opportunity. According to Democrats, America is hopelessly oppressive, racist, sexist, xenophobic, and homophobic. It’s also an oligopoly based on privilege, which they claim makes it almost impossible for the vast majority of people to achieve the American dream.

Democrats, as echoed by countless presentations at their convention, are now feverishly working to convince tens of millions of Americans that if they are not successful, it’s because the country’s institutions have been rigged against them, and that there’s nothing they can do to improve their lot in life. Therefore, they say, “Vote for us and we will take stuff from successful people and give it to you.”

Now, there’s no question that safety nets, whether they be private charities or state or local government programs (that’s a question for a different day), are necessary in a compassionate society to ensure that those who truly need help don’t fall into ruin. But that’s not what Democrats are calling for. They are demanding a total restructuring of society and markets, radical wealth redistributionism, and policies that would effectively put government in control of health care, the energy industry, and so much more.

The “vote for us and we will take stuff from successful people and give it to you” notion that has become so popular within the Democratic Party is a dangerous, fundamentally socialistic philosophy, one that has the potential to destroy the country. As nineteenth century Scottish economist Alexander Fraser Tytler observed after examining centuries of historical records, “A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by a dictatorship. The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations has been 200 years. These nations have progressed through this sequence: From bondage to spiritual faith; From spiritual faith to great courage; From courage to liberty; From liberty to abundance; From abundance to selfishness; From selfishness to apathy; From apathy to dependence; From dependence back into bondage.”

If Tytler’s theory is accurate, one can argue that America is currently dangling between apathy and dependence. However, Tytler’s theory is far from iron-clad. Although the natural course very well might be for government to expand and dependence on government to increase over time, it is not by any means guaranteed to take place. Further, the United States has already exceeded Tytler’s 200-year lifespan.

Of course, this is not to say that the United States is incapable of succumbing to the final stages of Tytler’s scenario. Americans are at an important crossroads and must make vital choices: Are we a nation of takers or a nation of makers? Will we, the People, buck the trend of other historic democracies, demonstrating that America is still the most exceptional nation in history? Will America remain the land of opportunity and the home of the brave, or will we the People throw it all away and become a nation of takers who fall for hollow, unsustainable promises of “free stuff”?

These important questions must be answered, and come November, many likely will–for better or worse.

PHOTO: Former Vice President of the United States Joe Biden speaking with attendees at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. Photo by Gage Skidmore. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is the editorial director and a research fellow at The Heartland Institute, as well as a researcher and contributing editor at