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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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A New President Won’t Change Anything

by

Many Americans have the quaint notion that a new president is going to convert American into a functional society. It’s not going to happen. Regardless of who is elected president, America will continue to be a drug-addled society and one afflicted by suicides, mass murders, and other dysfunctional behavior.

That’s because of the type of government that Americans have lived under for the past several decades. That’s what has produced the model dysfunctional society in which we live. As long as Americans choose to maintain that type of governmental system — a welfare-warfare state — the new president, whoever he or she might be, will preside over a country characterized by drug addiction, alcoholism, mass murders, and suicides.

Just think: the state took control of almost every American adult living today when he was six years of age and then retained control over him for the next 12 years. That’s what public schooling is all about. Every day, for five or six hours a day for twelve long years, government officials (that’s what public schoolteachers are) had control over all those children who are now adults. Through licensing and supervision, even most of those who attended private schools or were homeschooled came under the indirect tutelage of the government educational system.

And yet, look how screwed up American society is. Just think: After 12 years of a government-supervised or government-approved education system, there are so many people on drugs that the federal government and most state governments feel the need to continue waging their decades-long war on drugs. Do they ever stop to wonder why there are still so many people on drugs when they have control over them from ages 6-18? Did they forget to tell them “Just Say No!” during those 12 years? And that doesn’t even count the number of people addicted to booze, tobacco, and other destructive substances.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, each year almost 43,000 Americans die by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country. For every suicide there are 25 attempts.

How come so many Americans are choosing to check out early? Isn’t this supposed to be the place where people are free to pursue happiness rather than death?

And of course there are the mass murders, some that seem to be entirely random and others that are directly related to the death and destruction that the U.S. government now wreaks on a permanent basis on people in the Middle East.

Which brings us to the root cause of all this ongoing dysfunctionality — the type of governmental system under which Americans have lived for the past several decades — what is known as the welfare-warfare state, along with the life of the lie that has accompanied that system.

The life of the lie is the mindset of the American people that tells them that the welfare-state, warfare-state way of life is “freedom and free enterprise.”

The reality is that the welfare state is the opposite of freedom and free enterprise. It is a political-economic system in which people are using the force of government to take money and income from everyone else, even while doing their best to protect their own income and wealth from being plundered. It is a system of coerced, mandatory charity, one that involves everyone warring against everyone else.

Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, education grants, corporate bailouts, food stamps, aid to the arts, and all the rest. Every single welfare-state program is based on using government force to take money from people to whom it belongs and giving it to others. It is a direct violation of the principles of voluntary charity and free will. It would be difficult to find a better example of a contravention of the principle of individual liberty, a principle that holds that people should be free to do whatever they want with their own money.

Yet, Americans have convinced themselves (and permitted themselves to be convinced) that all this is freedom and free enterprise. When you ask them how they would describe 19th-century America, which had no welfare state (or income taxation), they are totally befuddled because they’ve been taught (in their public schools) that America has always been a free country.

Or consider the drug war against all those (millions?) of drug-using Americans. People are convinced that this is what freedom is all about — the “freedom” to be punished by the state for ingesting harmful substances.

Or consider the war on immigrants. Each Sunday, Americans go to church and listen to their ministers preaching about how important it is to love thy neighbor as thyself. Then they leave church and support ever-more vicious measures against people who happen to be of a different nationality who are just fulfilling God’s mandate to save, sustain, and improve their lives, or the lives of their families, through labor. The person living the life of lie fails to see the contradiction.

But as bad as all that is, it’s much worse with respect to the national-security state apparatus that was attached to our federal governmental system in the 1940s. For more than 70 years, it has been engaged in assassinations, coups, regime-change operations, invasions, occupations, wars of aggression, and support of dictatorships. For the past several decades, it has been wreaking death, destruction, and violence in Latin America with the drug war. For the past 25 years, the national-security state has killed or maimed untold numbers of people in the Middle East—perhaps even totaling in the millions.

But Americans are convinced that all that death and destruction is about “freedom.” Operation Iraqi Freedom or Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Freedom Whatever. Americans go to big sporting events and, with tears in their eyes, praise and glorify the killing, the maiming, the bombing, the death, and the destruction. They just want to thank the troops for “defending our freedom.”

It’s all just part and parcel of the life of the lie, the lie that holds that all this plunder, looting, incarceration, death, and destruction, is what living in a free society is all about. If all this is freedom — if this is the best that life has to offer — no wonder so many Americans are addicted to drugs and alcohol, checking out early with suicide, engaging in mass murder, or doing other highly dysfunctional things. Those are the types of things that a welfare-warfare state and its life of the lie produce.

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.