by Jennifer Bowman
I'm sick of hearing people say that America is a classless society. It isn't. As unfair as that sounds on the surface, it is true. There are three arbitrary classes: Upper class, middle class, and lower class. People refer to them all the time involuntarily, but rarely do they actually realize what they are saying. The truth is, living in a country with subjective social classes fueled by the culture in which it exists is not necessarily a bad thing. These modern "classes" in America are driven by the philosophy of capitalism where individual freedom is cherished above all else.
If everyone in America were completely class-free, then we would be a collective society, or even socialist (European! NO!). The theory of collectivism holds that man is not an individual, but is only a tool to serve the ends of others. Basically, communism. In Ayn Rand's novel Anthem, collectivism is portrayed negatively because the people in her novel completely lose their identity. Saying that mankind should have equal rights does not mean that everyone in the human race is treated equally. Chaos would absolutely take over. One's inalienable right, as defined by the Constitution, cannot violate the rights of another. If it does, it is not a right.
However, the classes in America are divided by money. We have the rich and the poor classes, which are fewer in number, and middle class, to which most people belong. Is it wrong that some people have money, and for whatever reason, others don't? The single most cause of mass poverty is lack of freedom. The poorest countries are those where capitalism is lacking. You can even see it in America. For instance, Washington, D.C. is the most heavily taxed place in the U.S. However, they also have the most murders, teen pregnancies, and poverty. A helping hand should always be extended to those in need who are truly incapable of helping themselves.
But it shouldn't be up to the government to decide who gives what to whom and how much. Ideally, genuinely helpless individuals could easily be supported by private charities-charities made possible by a capitalist society's extraordinary wealth. The forced redistribution of the money will not solve poverty. A lot of the current economic problems can be traced to the government interfering in the workings of the capitalist market.
So, the United States does have classes. But isn't this still bad? What's the difference between ancient classes and modern classes? Well, for one, classes in India were decided at birth. If the father was poor, the son was poor, and they were "laborers" or "untouchables" automatically. Also, members of their classes, such as the Brahmans, were given way more freedom and power than the everyday Sudras.
In America, the poor can vote as easily as the rich can. Each person is given the opportunity to improve his or her station in life. The competition created by capitalism allows our nation to produce better products and services that enhance everyone's lifestyle.
America is not a classless society. It is OK that some people have a lot more money than others. However, because of the freedoms granted by our Constitution, we all have the right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, - the right to pursue our dreams.