What do history's most notorious despots have in common with many of the flag-waving, patriotic politicians of our day? Both groups rise to power through the exploitation of fear, which has become a societal plague. There have been widespread casualties. We need an antidote. Feardom offers its readers a much-needed immunization.
photo credit: Capannelle
Due to continually creeping socialism and the ever-expanding welfare state, American citizens are now being raised with an entitlement mentality. Rather than being instilled with a desire to work hard and follow the law of the harvest, children are ingrained with the errant notion that they will be able to depend on government for their social well-being (often termed “security“).
A recent column in Newsweek paints the picture:
Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—programs that serve older people—already exceed 40 percent of the $2.7 trillion federal budget. By 2030, their share could hit 75 percent of the present budget, projects the Congressional Budget Office. The result: a political impasse.
The 2030 projections are daunting. To keep federal spending stable as a share of the economy would mean eliminating all defense spending and most other domestic programs (for research, homeland security, the environment, etc.). To balance the budget with existing programs at their present economic shares would require, depending on assumptions, tax increases of 30 percent to 50 percent—or budget deficits could quadruple. A final possibility: cut retirement benefits by increasing eligibility ages, being less generous to wealthier retirees or trimming all payments.
Little wonder politicians stay silent.
The entitlement mentality is promoted by Congress, who, courting the votes of their constituents, aims to be a quasi breadwinner who will provide them with a dole. They are seen as the protectors of future wealth whose job it is to secure free money for those who think they “deserve” it. Frederic Bastiat, the noted French statesman and author, explained why this is a fallacy:
You say: “There are persons who have no money,” and you turn to the law. But the law is not a breast that fills itself with milk. Nor are the lacteal veins of the law supplied with milk from a source outside the society. Nothing can enter the public treasury for the benefit of one citizen or one class unless other citizens and other classes have been forced to send it in. If every person draws from the treasury the amount that he has put in it, it is true that the law then plunders nobody. But this procedure does nothing for the persons who have no money. It does not promote equality of income. The law can be an instrument of equalization only as it takes from some persons and gives to other persons. When the law does this, it is an instrument of plunder.
Ed Emery argues the point as well:
Not many generations ago, people just wanted government to leave them alone. Now, some want government to be fully responsible for them, regardless of the impact on others. Instead of asking, “how can I help my neighbors?” — the question is “what do we want!?” “When do we want it?” It reflects the entitlement mentality of our day.
Society has moved from independence to dependence and from security to anxiety. Government has failed to provide true security. Security does not come from government programs but from building my life around absolutes that cannot be taken away. Security comes from absolutes such as character, a good name, or a sovereign God.
Nowhere is this entitlement mentality more apparent than when a person falls victim to a tragedy, whether intentional or otherwise. Rush Limbaugh noticed this disturbing trend after 9/11 and commented as follows:
I just can’t let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country.
If you lost a family member in the September 11th attack, you’re going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million. If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000, direct death benefit, half of which is taxable. Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there’s a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.
Keep in mind that some of the people that are getting an average of $1.185, million up to $4.7 million, are complaining that it’s not enough.
We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11th families are getting.
In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well. You see where this is going, don’t you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It’s just really sad.
Those who sit around and siphon the national coffers—indeed, thinking that they have a right, or are entitled, to do so—violate the principles of individual liberty and spit in the face of all those who work and toil to fund their entitlements.
We all fall victim to tragedies throughout our life. Who am I, should I become injured while walking down the street, to demand that you give me some of your money? If a baseball lands on my windshield, I have no right to turn to the guy next to me and rip a $20 bill out of his wallet. We should not be funding each others’ misfortunes.
The simple fact is that this entitlement mentality will soon lead to our economic demise. Have we ignored the lessons we are to learn from civilizations that have come and gone, fallen due to their folly? Do we think that our entitlement system can continue to balloon forever?
This mentality must be fought, and the principles of prosperity which our forefathers understood better than we do must be ingrained in our minds and those of the rising generation. Our economic survival depends upon it.