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.
This is one of the best articles I’ve yet to read on why socialism is evil, and how it has creeped into our government. The article is “Why We Love Government”, written by Walter Williams for the Washington Times.
Unlike today’s Americans, the Founders of our nation were suspicious, if not contemptuous, of government. Consider just a few of their words.
James Madison suggested that “All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.”
Thomas Paine observed, “We still find the greedy hand of government thrusting itself into every corner and crevice of industry, and grasping at the spoil of the multitude. … It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without a tribute.”
John Adams reminded, “You have rights antecedent to all earthly governments; rights that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws; rights derived from the Great Legislator of the Universe.”
Thomas Jefferson gave us several warnings that we’ve ignored: First, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” Second, “The greatest [calamity] which could befall [us would be] submission to a government of unlimited powers.” And third, “Whensoever the general government assumes undelegated powers, its acts are unauthoritative, void, and of no force.”
In response to what Jefferson called an “elective despotism,” he suggested that “The tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
With sentiments like these, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison became presidents. Could a person with similar sentiments win the presidency today? My guess is no. Today’s Americans hold such liberty-oriented values in contempt, and any presidential aspirant holding them would have a zero chance of winning office.
Today’s Americans hold a different vision of government. It’s one that says Congress has the right to do just about anything upon which it can secure a majority vote. Most of what Congress does fits the description of forcing one American to serve the purposes of another American. That description differs only in degree, but not in kind, from slavery.
At least two-thirds of the federal budget represents programs that force one American to serve the purposes of another. Younger workers are forced to pay for the prescriptions of older Americans; people who are not farmers are forced to serve those who are; nonpoor people are forced to serve poor people; and the general public is forced to serve corporations, college students and other special interests who have the ear of Congress.
The supreme tragedy that will lead to our undoing is that so far as personal economic self-interests are concerned, it is perfectly rational for every American to seek to live at the expense of another American. Why? Not doing so doesn’t mean he’ll pay lower federal taxes. All it means is there will be more money for somebody else.
In other words, once Congress establishes that one person can live at the expense of another, it pays for everyone to try to do so. You say, “Williams, don’t you believe in helping your fellow man?” Yes, I do. I believe that reaching into one’s own pockets to help one’s fellow man is both laudable and praiseworthy. Reaching into another’s pockets to help one’s fellow man is despicable and worthy of condemnation.
The bottom line: We love government because it enables us to accomplish things that if done privately would lead to arrest and imprisonment. For example, if I saw a person in need, and I took your money to help him, I would be arrested and convicted of theft. If I get Congress to do the same thing, I am seen as compassionate.
This vision ought to bother the Christians among us, for when God gave Moses the commandment “Thou shalt not steal,” I’m sure He didn’t mean thou shalt not steal unless you got a majority vote in Congress.
As Davey Crockett clearly explained, it’s not [theirs] to give. Uncle Sam has absolutely no right to “rob from the rich and give to the poor”. That is not the purpose government was intended to serve. D’Anconia, Galt, and Danneskjöld have a thing or two to say about this… :)
The JBS’ commentary is quite excellent as well:
The Founding Fathers based our political system on the belief that governments are instituted, in order to secure our rights to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. The social welfare programs created by government involve taking money from people who have earned it and giving it away to people who have not earned it. This is a clear violation of the right to property, the right to keep the fruits of our labor.
Alexander Fraser Tytler warned that, as soon as voters are given the opportunity to vote themselves benefits from the public treasury, the majority will vote for the candidates promising the most benefits from the public treasury. History shows that this always leads to economic and political collapse.
Our Founding Fathers understood this, which is why they made no provision in the Constitution giving Congress the authority to tax incomes and redistribute the wealth of the people. Government programs that redistribute wealth and incomes are the equivalent of legalized plunder.
If only Ragnar DanneskjÃ¶ld really existed and would refund my income taxes as well…