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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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An All-Abiding Faith in the Welfare-Warfare State


Among the more amusing political mantras in the presidential race is that of Mitt Romney. “Washington is broken,” he declares, inevitably bringing cheers from Republican audiences. It’s as amusing as the popular mantra employed by the Democrats: “Change!”

They still just don’t get it. It’s not “Washington” that is broken. It’s the welfare-warfare state that Americans have lived under all their lives that is bankrupt in every sense of the term—morally, financially, and economically. People still just don’t want to face that harsh reality. For them, the welfare-warfare state is everything. That’s why many of them think it’s just a matter of changing the identity of people who are running the system.

Consider the welfare state. What part of it isn’t an absolute mess? Social Security? Medicare? Medicaid? The dollar? Education? Home mortgages? Foreign aid?

Every one of them is in crisis. Yet, people continue to pray for a political miracle, even while looking everywhere for scapegoats on which to blame the woes of their beloved welfare state. The most popular scapegoat, of course, is illegal immigrants. “They’re coming to take our welfare!” is the popular refrain, ignoring the quite obvious fact that the vast majority of illegal immigrants come here to work and improve their lives through labor. It’s only because the welfare state forces their participation through mandatory school-attendance laws, government-owned hospitals, and Medicaid that causes them to “take” people’s welfare.

It’s also amusing how people combine the welfare state with their religious beliefs. The more the government helps others, the more Christian everyone feels. Former Democrat presidential candidate John Edwards, who wants the welfare state to finally abolish poverty, is a good reflection of this mindset. But of course so is Republican President Bush who just this week endorsed increased federal funding of church-based drug-rehab programs.

Speaking of how religious the welfare state has made us, it’s also somewhat amusing how people continue trying their best to use the welfare state to get into everyone else’s pocketbook while, at the same time, using every tax device imaginable to protect their own pocketbooks from being looted by everyone else.

Meanwhile, while people are going to church every Sunday, no doubt to celebrate how religious everyone is because of the welfare state, no one ever discusses the holy welfare state’s attitude toward illegal aliens, who are among the world’s poorest people. Perhaps the feeling is that when Jesus said that God’s second-greatest commandment is “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,” God only meant one’s next-door neighbor and certainly not citizens from other countries.

In any event, be prepared for more scapegoats, especially as the economic situation continues to deteriorate. While conservatives lambaste the illegal aliens, the liberals are now starting to chime in against the evil capitalist lenders. We’ll soon be hearing the condemnation of those horrible market creatures, the speculators. And as prices continue to soar, one of the favorite demons will be the price-gougers. Oh, and be sure to be prepared for the standard calls for price controls to protect us from all those greedy businessmen who are raising their prices to make all those “excess” profits.

What about the warfare state? Well, things aren’t faring there any better. The drug war? What bigger fiasco than that? Except of course Iraq. Iraq is now a country filled with terrorists who want to attack America, or so they tell us. Never mind that before the warfare state’s invasion of Iraq, there were no terrorists in Iraq who were trying to attack America. Of course, that enables the government to assume more power over Americans in order to protect them against all these new terrorists. I suppose some people might consider that a success. Did I mention Afghanistan, where opium dealing, murder, rape, and bombs have become a normal part of everyday life?

As the welfare-warfare state continues to crack at the seams, Americans will have no one to blame but themselves as things go from bad to worse. As they chant and cheer their empty mantras, not only do they continue to behave uncivilly to themselves as well as their foreigners, they continue to obstinately embrace their welfare-warfare state, believing that they will be saved by continuing to put their all-abiding faith in this immoral and debauched system.

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.