The State of the Union: 2010

We are in a state of statism.

Statism, as I have said,

boils down to one thing: the use of government’s power to direct resources and people toward outcomes dictated by government. . . .

The particular set of outcomes toward which government should strive depends on the statist who happens to be expounding his views. But all of them are essentially alike in their desire to control the destiny of others. . . .

“Hard” statists thrive on the idea of a powerful state; control is their religion, pure and simple. “Soft” statists [sometimes] profess offense at the size, scope, and cost of government, but will go on to say “government should do such-and-such,” where “such-and such” usually consists of:

  • government grants of particular positive rights, either to the statist, to an entity or group to which he is beholden, or to a group with which he sympathizes
  • government interventions in business and personal affairs, in the belief that government can do certain things better than private actors, or simply should do many things other than — and sometimes in lieu of — dispensing justice and defending the nation.

Hard statists simply reject liberty. Soft statists reject it in fact even as they claim to embrace it in principle. Together, hard and soft statists have harnessed themselves and the liberty-loving minority to the yoke of the state. It is by this tyranny of the majority that America has descended into Europeanism, from which there can be no escape unless the liberty-loving minority begins actively to resist it — as did a similar minority in 1775.

If you are a “fish in water,” and cannot see the extent to which America is in thrall to statism — nationally, regionally, and locally — consider these examples of the ways in which statism grips us:

1. Compulsory public education has been used by statists to inculcate statism. Higher education — especially the so-called liberal arts — is dominated by the products of statist inculcation.

2. “Free enterprise” and freedom of personal action are barely more free than they were under Hitler or Mussolini. If you doubt that, consider the hundreds of thousands of pages comprised in the U.S. Code, its implementing regulations, and the statutes, codes, and ordinances of States and municipalities.

3.  “Private property” has gone by the wayside, in company with “free enterprise,” thanks to the same enactments. If you doubt that, think about compulsory unionism, smoking bans, the continuing misuse of eminent domain, and various restrictions on the sale and use of personal and business property.

4. Productive Americans, on the whole, pay about half of their income to their governments, for the purpose of supporting the counterproductive activities of those governments and their clients. Some of those productive Americans endorse and support this confiscatory regime because (a) they don’t understand its costs and consequences; (b) it makes them feel good; and (c) they subscribe to the Nirvana fallacy, in which an all-good, all-knowing government can (somehow) do the “right” things and do them “right.” The persistence of the Nirvana fallacy owes much to compulsory public education (point 1).

5. Our prosperity, such as it is, waxes and wanes with the whims of the Federal Reserve, which has the power to inflate, to  feed bubbles, to cause depressions, and to fund government’s profligate spending (where taxation is insufficient or politically unpopular).

6. Incentives to work and save — to be self-reliant, in other words — have been diminished by the establishment of welfare “rights,” Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. To this list has been added the expansion of Medicare-Medicaid known as Obamacare.

7. Affirmative action, equal lending opportunity, equal housing opportunity, and other  “preference” schemes penalize the more-capable at the expense of the less-capable. In a single stroke, such schemes enable advancement based on personal characteristics instead of merit, while destroying freedom of association and freedom of contract.

8. Various legislative, executive, and judicial acts have led to a kind of perverted legality that requires prisoners to be released when prisons become “overcrowded”; allows unborn and partially born human beings to be killed on a whim; stifles the free expression of political views for which the Founders fought and suffered; and treats foreign enemies as mere criminals with the same jurisprudential rights as the American citizens whose lives and property they would destroy.

There is much more, but that is all I can bear to acknowledge in a single post.

Is it any wonder that the Tea Party movement enjoys strong support, that Barack Obama (our statist-in-chief) merits strong disapproval, or that we must resort to civil disobedience if we are to enjoy a smattering of liberty?

Have a nice day!