“By the sweat of your face you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”

Within the first few pages of the Bible, Adam and Eve were cast out of the Garden of Eden. The man and woman were living in Paradise, but instead of basking in gratitude for all they were given, they gave it all up for the one thing that was off-limits.

But before you condemn Adam and Eve, know that their story is our story. When people are born into a life of comfort, they’re apt to mess things up.

America is by no means Paradise, but on this side of eternity few—if any—nations can compare. We Americans inherited a rich and prosperous land founded on the notion of natural rights laid out in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, paid for with the blood of hundreds of thousands of soldiers and sailors, and strengthened by the bonds of strong civic institutions that unite us despite our differences.

We should be proud and grateful to call America home. Americans invented much of the modern world, from the airplane to the assembly line to the microchip to the personal computer to most modern medicine.

America was instrumental in defeating Nazi Germany and bringing down the Iron Curtain. America has shone like a beacon of freedom to millions around the world living under tyranny who would give anything to have what we have.

But today, many in this country take America for granted.

Some would—or think they would—trade our rich inheritance for the rotten fruit of socialist and Marxist ideologies. Even though the average American is better off than all but the most politically well-connected in any socialist country, Americans under the age of 30 view socialism more positively than capitalism.

Those who have lived through socialism know that it brings only misery.

Socialist leaders promise the moon, enshrining constitutional rights to things like “quality” health care, but such promises aren’t worth the paper on which they’re written.

The “right” to services cannot be guaranteed without compelling others to provide those services, and the more the government coerces health care providers, the less desirable those professions become. In Venezuela, for example, underpaid doctors and nurses fled the country in droves, leading to a near-complete collapse of the health care system.

Here in America, the media, university professors, celebrities, and activists decry the disparities that allow some to build great wealth while others live in relative poverty. But they don’t simply call for people to have more equal opportunities. They want an “equitable” society, where people experience equal outcomes.

As long as mankind is born with an imperfect human nature, a world in which everyone is assured the same outcome is either impossible or dystopian. Who would want to live in a world where nobody is allowed to prosper more than the most self-destructive of addicts? For that matter, who would want to live in a world where you can’t accumulate wealth over the course of your lifetime?

The ideology of equity is incompatible with how humans are wired. People work far less if they have nothing to work toward. The more the government seizes and redistributes the fruits of our labor, the less inclined everyone is toward work, and everyone is left poorer.

But it’s not just America’s economic system that some on the Left would abandon. They also want to reorient America’s moral compass away from faith, family, and virtue and toward self-indulgence and hedonism. In the process, they distort the very idea of American liberty.

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is not about libertinism.

When Hollywood, schools, and society promote the pursuit of base desires from sexual promiscuity to drug abuse as being about “freedom,” they trivialize the fundamental natural rights that Americans should cherish.

A drug addict is not free in any true sense.

Some may view religious faith and moral virtue as inhibiting ideas, but life is more fulfilling when it’s lived for a higher purpose than immediate gratification.

As we Americans celebrate Thanksgiving this year, let’s be grateful that we live in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Let’s not take our many blessings for granted. Let’s remember all that is good and worthy of praise.

And let’s rededicate ourselves to the task of ensuring that future generations of Americans continue to enjoy such blessings for many years to come.

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