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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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The Statist Impulse to Avoid Responsibility


One of the characteristics of the modern-day welfare state is the refusal of statists to take responsibility for the damage and destruction their philosophy has wrought on the people of the world.

Consider Iraq. How many of the statists take responsibility for the million or so people who are now dead and for the chaos and violence into which their adventure has thrown the country?

Consider Afghanistan. How many of the statists take responsibility for the deaths of so many Afghanis, including brides and children, which their adventure in that country has wrought?

Consider U.S. foreign policy in general. How many of the statists take responsibility for the blowback from the bad things that U.S. officials have done to people overseas, including the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, the 9/11 attacks, the attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, the attack on the USS Cole, and most recently the attack on the Marriott Hotel in Pakistan?

Consider Social Security. How many of the statists take responsibility for a bankrupt retirement system in which the elderly plunder and loot young people, many of whom are having a terribly difficult time making ends meet?

Consider the drug war. How many of the statists take responsibility for the death, destruction, violence, corruption, chaos, and failure of the decades-long war on drugs?

Consider the war on immigrants. How many of the statists take responsibility for the deaths, suffering, infringements on liberty, and forcible repatriations into Cuban communist tyranny that their war has wrought?

Consider Medicare and Medicaid. How many of the statists take responsibility for the soaring health care costs their government intervention has produced?

Consider the dollar. How many of the statists take responsibility for the depreciation of the dollar resulting from out-of-control federal spending, not only for the past 8 years but also for the past several decades?

And now we have the latest example of the refusal among statists to take responsibility for their socialism and interventionism — the so-called mortgage crisis. All we hear is their railings against “unfettered capitalism,” “the free market,” “greed,” “free enterprise,” and “deregulation.”

What nonsense. It’s all just a cover to avoid taking responsibility for what their socialist and interventionist system has wrought and as a way to impose more of their socialism and interventionism on the American people.

Consider, after all, the main causes of the mortgage “crisis”: the federal government’s creation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the federal government’s encouragement of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to borrow money to purchase home mortgages from mortgage lenders, the federal government’s implicit guarantee of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debts, and the federal government’s requirement that mortgage companies make home loans to bad-risk customers.

Now, does any of that sound like “the free market” or “unfettered capitalism” to you?

Yet, how many statists have you seen confronting the real causes of the mortgage “crisis” in their articles, interviews, or speeches? Don’t hold your breath. That would mean having to take responsibility for the welfare-state, regulated-economy way of life under which Americans have suffered ever since the New Deal.

Holding up the concept of responsibility to a statist is like holding up a cross to a vampire.

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.