It’s no secret that government dependency has massively increased in the last few years. It’s shocking enough that one out of seven Americans is on food stamps (as opposed to the 1970s, when one in 50 was on food stamps); what’s more ominous is how actively the government is encouraging people to overcome their pride, independence and “stubbornness” in order to take free stuff. Equally menacing is how successful they’ve been. By some accounts, 49 percent of Americans now live in a household that accepts some kind of government benefit.

This goes way, way beyond any so-called “compassionate help” for those who are temporarily down on their luck. Instead, this smacks of deliberate engineering to increase the population of dependent citizens by dangling the carrot of endless free goodies.

The word “free” should raise red flags. We’ve all heard the phrase “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” It should be apparent that anything “free” has invisible strings attached, especially if the government is involved.

The reason these “free” things worry me is because for every freebie we accept, we regress more and more toward a state of childish helplessness. With each handout accepted, we relinquish some of our freedoms.

Free stuff removes the incentive to achieve something on your own. Why should anyone work a minimum-wage job in order to afford a cell phone, after all, when the government will just give it to them for free? And what about housing? Food? Education? Health care? Why work at all? For over 92 million (and rising) working-age Americans without jobs, that’s a lot of lost liberty.

Fewer and fewer people see the importance of earning the things they want. Freebies encourage dependency and apathy. It utterly destroys a work ethic.

Those invisible strings attached to anything “free” become chains that rope us into a state of infantile dependency. It’s gotten to the point where anyone who is fiercely independent and refuses to accept government help of any sort is viewed as freakish and maybe, just maybe, a threat (domestic terrorist, anyone?).

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The prevalence of free stuff has turned attitudes around. In the past, if someone offered you something free, your suspicions would be aroused and you’d ask, “What’s the catch?” Today, when someone offers you something free, you grab it with glee and announce, “All right! I deserve this!” You’ve been trained to feel entitled to freebies. And an entitlement mentality, above all, is antithetical toward freedom and independence.

The government has adopted the loathsome path of actively encouraging people to become dependent by signing up for food stamps. “USDA claims that eligible people who do not participate are actually harming their communities by preventing additional funds from entering their respective economies,” notes this article, which further discusses how the USDA is trying to overcome the “hurdles” of those who are too proud or independent to accept government aid by claiming food stamps help the community and stimulate the economy.

The government is helped in its efforts by the simple fact that freedom and independence take hard work. It takes effort, thought and time. Free stuff is so much easier. Thanks to an increasing legacy of handouts, America’s work ethic has sunk to the point that few people are interested in doing what is necessary to achieve things on their own. Why should they, when it’s so much easier to get giveaways from the government?

One thing should be immediately apparent: Government freebies aren’t paid for by the government. They’re paid for by productive citizens through taxes. The government cannot produce; it can only take and then redistribute. But too many Americans cannot seem to grasp this simple economic concept.

So what’s the deal behind free stuff like welfare, health care and education? What kinds of invisible strings are attached?

You see, it’s not about health care. It’s not about education. It’s not about the environment or food or firearms safety. It’s about complete government control. Why can’t people SEE this?

For example, “free” education means we sacrifice our children to the State, where they are indoctrinated into endless thought-control that is antithetical to individual liberty and self-reliance. It also means another generation of children will grow up with beliefs in conformity to government-approved group-think and are less likely to think for themselves.

Pick a freebie – anything will do – and then think about what kinds of invisible chains might be associated with it. There’s always something. Government freebies are a deliberate attempt to emasculate our nation and make citizens helpless and dependent. The seduction of free stuff goes against everything on which America was founded. When we accept free stuff, we sacrifice freedom and move toward slavery.

Too many people are unable to understand how this gilded cage of dependency undermines our society. “By claiming compassion and providing comfort in being poor,” noted one commenter, “there are now generations of Americans who have not developed the drive or confidence to succeed on their own. It is not compassionate, but a debilitating and cruel thing to do to another human being.”

An economic crash has moved beyond the realm of possibility into the land of statistical certainty. When that happens, what will become of those who have forgotten how to work, or to those who never learned how to work because of their dependence on the government?

There’s an old story that goes something like this: A rich man saw a poor man eating a bowl of lentils. The rich man said, “If you learned to toady to the king, you wouldn’t have to eat lentils.” The poor man replied, “If you learned to eat lentils, you wouldn’t have to toady to the king.”

Thomas Sowell said it most succinctly: “Although the big word on the left is ‘compassion,’ the big agenda on the left is dependency.”

By toadying to the king, you get freebies. By eating lentils, you get freedom. Which do you prefer? The answer, unfortunately, is distressingly clear.

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