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Is there a connection between the destruction of the free market and the serial scandals that have shined the spotlight on America’s criminal, out-of-control government? I believe so, and here’s why:
For more than a hundred years, governments around the world have worked hard at trying to destroy the free market – through credit expansion and easy money policies, trade barriers, subsidies, taxation and stifling regulations, among other things. Even war has been used as an excuse for interfering in the natural flow of the marketplace.
Anti-capitalist politicians have transformed taxation into outright confiscation. They have championed ever more government spending as the best way to increase a nation’s wealth. They have sold their citizens on the belief that more and more government welfare is the best way to increase the wealth of individuals. Their methods, of course, have always failed, but that doesn’t seem to faze them – or prevent them from continuing to blame capitalism (which today is light years removed from real, or laissez-faire, capitalism) for their failures.
There is no mystery as to why governments around the world are able to get away with this false finger pointing. It’s because a majority of their citizens are envious, lazy, avaricious and/or uninformed. Thus, it’s not hard to understand why they see capitalism as the cause of their nations’ faltering economies, high unemployment and rising prices.
As a result, for at least a century, a majority of people have favored putting more and more power in the hands of their governments. And because actions have consequences, they end up getting the governments they deserve. (Unfortunately, the rest of us get those same governments.)
In the case of the United States, its history can be roughly divided into two ideological periods. The first period emphasized freedom and self-determination, which resulted in the establishment of democracy, the emergence of capitalism and an astounding increase in people’s living standards.
It is the period during which the foundation was laid for the richest, most civilized, greatest nation in world history to emerge. It is the period during which most people believed, in the words of Thomas Paine, that “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” Most people were patriotic in that they were anti-government!
The second ideological period (roughly the past 100 years) has focused on the omnipotence of the state. As the masses became what Eric Hoffer called “the newly poor” – people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder who no longer had to focus on day-to-day survival – they had time to think about a natural aspect of capitalism that politicians happily seized upon: the disparity of wealth between those at the top and those at the bottom.
As politicians fed them a daily diet of poisonous envy, a majority of Americans, through the phenomenon of gradualism, became anxious to cede government the power to use compulsion and coercion “for the good of society.” In other words, turn the Constitution on its head and demand that government employ its monopoly on the use of force to redistribute property rather than protect it.
Today, the average person, forever preoccupied with the difficult decision of whether to play with his iPod, iPad or iPhone, cheers politicians who mask government intervention as progress. They really believe that the superior humanoids in Washington are capable of fundamentally transforming America into a cheap-steak and sports paradise. If this were not so, why would they keep re-electing the same scoundrels to office year after year?
The most serious threat to the political cockroaches in Washington is freedom of thought. If a person tries to question the accepted doctrines of socialism/statism, he is thought of as a heretic – ridiculed, cursed and, finally, ignored. It is seen as outrageous for anyone to doubt the beneficence of the state.
A perfect example of this was illustrated just a few months ago when the consummate lifer statist, Mush McCain, responded to Rand Paul’s heroic 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor by saying, in part, that Paul’s concerns that the U.S. could kill innocent American citizens on U.S. soil bring the debate into the “realm of the ridiculous.” He finished his slap down by adding, “If Mr. Paul wants to be taken seriously, he needs to do more than pull political stunts that fire up impressionable libertarian kids.”
McCain, a lifelong supporter of the omnipotent state, was skillfully employing one of Saul Alinsky’s most cherished techniques – isolate your target and ridicule him. Uncle Saul would have been proud of him. Eat your heart out, Barry.
Statists, of course, in the name of progress and freedom, constantly try to outlaw progress and freedom (e.g., the Patriot Act) – and they back up their laws with police power. If Americans actually took the trouble to think, they would realize that if laws that impede freedom and progress were so beneficial to everyone, they wouldn’t need to be backed up by the threat of violence.
That brings us back to the destruction of the free market. Once the American people allowed the government to destroy capitalism in the name of fairness, it gave politicians the power to trash the Constitution and do anything they damn well pleased.
What puzzles me is why so many people are so surprised that we now have serial scandals like the NSA’s surveillance of American citizens, the IRS’ targeting of conservative and tea party groups and the White House’s relentless attempts to silence the press. Such violations of human freedom are natural consequences of the omnipotent state.
Unchecked government power is what you end up with when citizens happily give criminal politicians the go-ahead to destroy the free market. Once you open the door to evil, evil takes full control. Thomas Paine certainly gave us enough advance warning about this phenomenon.