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Blame It on Freedom

by

One of the distinguishing characteristics of statists is their inability to take responsibility for their failures. The fault always lies elsewhere. Two of the best examples of this phenomenon are the welfare state and the warfare state.

For more than a century after the founding of the Republic, Americans had lived with little or no income taxation, economic regulation, paper money, legal-tender laws, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, SBA loans, corporate grants, education grants, drug laws, and other forms of paternalism. Early Americans believed that freedom involved the rights to engage in economic enterprise freely, accumulate unlimited amounts of wealth, and decide what to do with their own money — e.g., invest, save, spend, or donate.

All that changed in the 20th century, thanks to the statists. In 1913, the income tax and the Federal Reserve were established, heralding a way of life in which government would wield omnipotent power to take or destroy people’s income and wealth.

Major change came again in the 1930s, when President Franklin Roosevelt built the foundation for the modern-day welfare state, a type of socialism that had originated among the socialists of Germany.

Since then, the welfare state — the paternalistic state — the nanny state — the socialist state — whatever label you wish to put on it — has grown by leaps and bounds.

To fund all this socialism, well, that’s where those two mechanisms that were formed in 1913 come into play — income taxation and the Federal Reserve.

Today, the welfare state is cracking apart. Everywhere you look, things are in crisis. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, FDIC, the dollar, the national debt, and federal spending. It’s all broke or breaking. Just like it has in Greece, whose the welfare state has finally reached the breaking point.

But what do the statists say? Oh, it’s all because of freedom and free enterprise. You know, such guilty culprits as greed, speculation, banking, deregulation, and profit. Not surprisingly, their solution to all these welfare-state woes is … you guessed it — more statism.

It’s no different with the warfare state. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the statists went into panic mode over fear of suffering massive reductions in welfare for the military and the military industrial complex. Desperately in search of a mission that would permit them to maintain their hold on their Cold War largess, they embarked on course of action designed to poke hornets’ nests in the Middle East, with deadly and destructive consequences.

There was the Persian Gulf intervention against their old partner and ally Saddam Hussein; the intentional destruction of Iraq’s water and sewage facilities after the Pentagon confirmed that this would help spread infectious illnesses among the Iraqi people; the brutal sanctions that contributed to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children; U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright’s infamous declaration that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children were “worth it”; the illegal no-fly zones over Iraq, which killed more Iraqis; the stationing of U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands, knowing how insulting this would be to Muslims; and, of course, the years of unconditional financial and military support given to the Israeli government.

Then came the inevitable “blowback” — the retaliation: the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the attack on the USS Cole, the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and 9/11.

What was the response of the statists? It’s all because of freedom! You see, according to the statists, the anger and hatred that had boiled over in the Middle East after a decade of brutal U.S. intervention, was all because Muslims hate America for its freedom, not because people were angry over all that death and destruction that came with intentionally poking those hornets’ nests.

Today, both the welfare state and the warfare are in deep crisis, and things are only getting worse by the month. Count on the statists to become angrier, more frustrated, and more fearful that people might discover the truth as to the real causes of America’s woes. Count on the statists to continue blaming freedom for America’s woes, both foreign and domestic. It’s the only hope statists have that Americans will continue following them down the road to serfdom and impoverishment.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.