Robert Ringer is a New York Times No. 1 best-selling author and host of the highly acclaimed "Liberty Education Interview Series," which features interviews with top political, economic and social leaders. His latest book is "The Entrepreneur." To sign up for a free subscription to his pro-liberty, pro-free-market e-letter, A Voice of Sanity, CLICK HERE.More ↓Less ↑
The two most poisonous words in the English language are rights and entitlements. They mean essentially the same thing, and both are subjectively created in the minds of collectivist dreamers.
Though the notion of rights/entitlements has been around since the founding, and has been heating up at an accelerating pace since FDR first introduced Americans to the welfare state, it is Barack Obama whom historians will credit with bringing the issue into the debate arena.
His nasty, Alinsky double-down style has caused millions of heretofore sleepwalking citizens to wonder if his fundamental change of America is transforming it into the kind of country they really want for their children and grandchildren.
Right now, Republicans are obsessing about “reforming” entitlements, though few of them dare talk about taking away people’s artificially created rights (a right to an education, a right to a good job at a “decent” wage, a right to “affordable” housing, a right to free health care … a right to just about anything one can imagine).
Even though rights and entitlements are really one and the same, the word rights has a much stronger moral connotation. A right sounds very official, as though it were handed down from on high, while an entitlement has a twinge of victimization to it.
But whether one refers to involuntary gifts from his neighbor as rights or entitlements, the bottom line is that they are made possible only through the government’s never-fail trump card: the use of force. And it’s not a force for good, but evil.
Mao had it right: Political power does, indeed, grow from the barrel of a gun. Patriotic Americans like to delude themselves, but the reality is that government can do anything it wants to you, your children, or your property through the threat force – and the use of force, if necessary.
Even so, most people – including some of the most sophisticated media types – tend to ignore what government’s essentially unrestricted use of force means in real terms. Their normalcy bias tells them that we have checks and balances via our three branches of government, so a Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Mao, Castro, or Chavez could never happen in today’s America. Alas, they are hopelessly naïve.
Whether it’s Waco, Ruby Ridge, taxes, silencing free speech, or regulating activities individuals want to engage in, government’s use of force is always the trump card. This was made evident yet again when a video of another Obama far-left appointee, Alfredo Armendariz, went viral last week.
Addressing a group in 2010, Armendariz was caught on video saying that the philosophy of enforcement at the EPA is to “crucify” a few oil and gas companies to get the rest of the industry to fall into line, likening it to how the Romans used to conquer little villages and crucify the first five guys they’d run into.
Then, he said, “that town was really easy to manage over the next few years.” His remarks were right in line with the day-in, day-out words and actions of his boss at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Which brings me to the financial news on television. When I watch these shows, it always crosses my mind that the government’s proclivity for using force is totally ignored in all discussions. Make no mistake about it, most of the guys you see on Cavuto, Kudlow, Lou Dobbs and other financial shows have brilliant economic minds.
The problem, however, is that they are trapped in The Great Economics Glass Bubble, a sheltered world inhabited by high-level economic minds where only facts and figures matter. They debate whether or not we’re in a recovery; whether interest rates will go up or down; whether the housing market has bottomed out; and so on. But never do they take into account that government force can trump all other factors.
For example, when a pundit says, “More and more doctors will refuse to take Medicare,” he doesn’t take into consideration that the government can force doctors to take Medicare.
“Then they’ll just stop practicing medicine.” Reality check: The government can force doctors to continue practicing medicine.
Or how about the debate over raising taxes on oil companies? “The oil companies will simply pass along any tax increases to the consumer in the way of higher prices.” Reality check: The government can force oil companies not to raise prices.
“Then oil companies will simply move to another country.” Reality check: The government can force oil companies (or any other kinds of companies) to stay in the U.S.
In fact, through the use of force, the government can simply nationalize the entire petroleum industry (as Rep. Maxine Waters once hinted should be done) – or, for that matter, companies in any other industry.
Conservatives love to fret that we are on a path to becoming a “European-style social-welfare state.” That’s not news. We’ve been on that path for decades. Forget the European-style social-welfare state talking point. That we can handle. The problem is that the path we are now on leads to a collectivist dictatorship!
This is what the far left’s campaign for “fairness” is all about. In truth, it has nothing to do with fairness, but everything to do with government force. After all, if the rich aren’t willing to give poor people a “fair shot,” the government has no choice but to use force to bring about fairness.
If the statists in Washington really wanted to bring about fairness, the fairest thing they could do would be to allow people to opt out of any or all government programs and regulations – including taxes. Unfortunately, government takes that option off the table and instead embraces the role of being the No. 1 aggressor against the natural rights of supposedly free people.
And what makes such tyranny possible? Plain and simple, it is the fact that government holds the ultimate trump card: THE USE OF FORCE. Wake up, America!