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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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What Kind of Society Do You Want and How Do You Get It?

by

Ask yourself: What kind of society do you want?

I would think that most people would answer: I want to live in a free society and one that is prosperous, peaceful, and harmonious.

Obviously, those of us Americans living today do not live in that type of society. Yes, I know that there are multitudes of Americans who are convinced that they live in a free society. They sing glorious praises to the troops for defending our “freedom” and proudly sing “Thank God I am an American because at least I know I’m free.”

But believing you’re free when you’re not doesn’t make you free. A denial of reality only leads to psychosis, which might partly explain the decades-long, ongoing drug-use crisis in America. The words of Johann Goethe sum up the plight of many Americans today, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.”

If Americans are free today, then what does that make Americans who in lived in, say, 1890? They lived in a society that was a total opposite of the type of society in which Americans live today.

Imagine: No income tax, IRS, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public (i.e., government) schooling, farm subsidies, education grants, foreign aid, welfare, immigration controls, minimum-wage laws, drug laws, occupational licensure, standing army, military industrial complex, Pentagon, CIA, NSA, Federal Reserve, fiat (i.e., paper) money, sanctions, embargoes, foreign aid, and foreign military bases.

Today, those are the core elements of American society.

It would be difficult to get more opposite than that.

Moreover, in 1890 the federal government lacked the legal authority to arrest Americans without judicially issued warrants, incarcerate them indefinitely in concentration camps or military dungeons, torture them, and execute them without trial by jury. The government also lacked the legal authority to assassinate Americans.

Today, the government wields those omnipotent powers over the U.S. citizenry and has ever exercised them.

Two opposite systems. How can people who live under two systems that are opposite both be considered a free people? Since we’re dealing with opposites, if one people are considered to be free, the other must be considered to be unfree.

Today, American society is riddled with ongoing chaos and crisis. The immigration crisis. The Social Security crisis. The healthcare crisis. The crisis in Iraq. The crisis in Afghanistan. The crisis in Syria. The monetary crisis. The financial crisis. The banking crisis. The drug-war crisis. The refugee crisis.

The crises never stop.

Today, we are as far from a peaceful society as a country can get. We’ve already been advised by U.S. officials, repeatedly, that their “war on terrorism” is almost certain to last longer than even the Cold War. The U.S. government continues bombing countries, killing people, destroying things, and assassinating people on a regular basis. Is it really just a coincidence that much of the world hates the United States and that many foreigners would love nothing more than to kill as many Americans as they can? That’s not exactly a harmonious society.

Today, the U.S. government is, for all practical purposes, bankrupt, owing to the enormous and ever-growing money needed to fund the welfare-warfare state. There is no way that it can repay the massive debt it owes plus comply with all the unfunded mandates, such as Social Security and Medicare, with reasonable levels of taxation on the young and productive. Oh sure, it could start taxing young people to the tune of 50-60 percent of their incomes to pay off its debts and keep the Social Security and Medicare largess flowing to seniors and to keep paying all the rest of the welfare-state largess, as well as continue flooding the “defense” industry with warfare-state largess, but who’s going to keep producing and saving when people are being taxed at that rate?

Thus, no matter how much some Americans have convinced themselves otherwise, we clearly do not live in the type of society to which most people would aspire — a free, prosperous, peaceful, and harmonious society.

Therefore, what do we need to do to achieve that goal?

One option — one that I would bet many people favor — is to just keep doing the same things. Continue Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, and the rest of the welfare state. Keep fighting the drug war. Keep the national-security state intact and continue funding the “defense” industry. Keep bombing, destroying, and assassinating to make us more “secure.”

But there’s one big problem with that option. It’s the welfare-warfare state way of life itself that has brought us a society of constant crisis, chaos, impoverishment, conflict, war, and disharmony. Why would continuing it produce any different results? Recall the popular definition of insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Another option: Elect Donald Trump or (insert your favorite candidate here) president and elect “better people” to Congress. The problem with that option, however, is that it assumes that the welfare-warfare state system is capable of succeeding if we could just find the “right” people to run it.

But that’s just not going to happen. Why? Because the welfare-warfare state is an inherently defective paradigm. When a system is inherently defective, it doesn’t matter who is running it. Inherently defective means incapable of working, no matter who’s in charge.

The only system that will produce a society based on freedom, prosperity, peace, and harmony is one that is not based on a welfare-warfare state. That is, the way to attain the type of society most of us want is to adopt a system in which there is no income tax, IRS, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, education grants, Pentagon, CIA, NSA, standing army, military-industrial complex, drug laws, economic regulations, foreign aid, and other aspects of the welfare-warfare state.

Why are so many Americans so convinced that the welfare-warfare system that was grafted onto America’s original federal governmental system in the 20th century can still be made to work, notwithstanding the horrific results it has produced after decades of operation?

It’s a good question. The continued allegiance to the welfare-warfare state system just makes no sense to me.

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.