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Welfare and Warfare Are a Renunciation of Freedom


Perhaps the most damaging effect of public (i.e., government) schooling is the malleable mindset that it produces in American children, a mindset that defers to the authority of the government in important matters. Day after day, year after year, state officials mold the minds of the children into accepting popular, albeit false, doctrines. While some succeed in breaking free of the indoctrination (libertarians are the premier example), many people carry their molded mindsets for the rest of their lives.

Let’s look at two major examples: the welfare state and the warfare state.

From the first grade on up, state officials in the government schools ingrain every child with the notion that he is living in a free country, one based on the principles of “free enterprise.” The message is reinforced by a combination of the textbooks, schoolchildren, administrators, and teachers.

Thus, by the time they become adults most Americans have no reservations about singing, “Thank God I’m an American because at least I know I’m free.” And there isn’t any doubt in their minds about it.

The mindset is carried over with respect to the warfare state. From the time they are six years old, public-school children are ingrained with the idea that the United States is a “republic,” a notion that is reinforced every day with the Pledge of Allegiance They are taught that the U.S. military’s job is “defense” — the defense of our nation and the defense of our freedoms. The children are taught to glorify and honor the troops, who “defend our freedoms” all over the world.

Libertarians are different, which is what confuses and confounds the statists. We have achieved a breakthrough from the indoctrination.

For example, unlike the statists we libertarians don’t consider a welfare-state way of life to be freedom. A genuinely free person is one who is free to keep everything he earns in life and to do decide for himself what to do with his own money. When government wields the power to forcibly take whatever money it wants from one person in order to give it to another person, there is no way that people in such a society can truly be considered free.

Libertarians also have broken free of the indoctrination regarding “defense.” If a foreign nation invaded the United States, the invaders would be the attackers, the aggressors, the initiators of the war. Americans opposing the invasion would be defending their country against the invasion.

Today, there is no nation on earth that has the military or financial capability or even the interest in invading and occupying the United States. Therefore, since there is no invasion or even the remotest threat of an invasion, there is nothing for Americans to be defending against. Therefore, there is no need for us to have an enormous military machine and an enormous military-industrial complex within our midst.

What statists are unable to do, thanks to the mindset molded within them in their formative years, is recognize that the U.S. government is no longer a republic and hasn’t been a republic in more than a century. Instead, long ago our government assumed the role of a worldwide military empire, one with an enormous standing army with about a thousand military bases all over the world. Having assumed the self-appointed role of guarantor of global “order and stability,” our government has become an invader, aggressor, and initiator of violence. As part of ensuring “order and stability, the Empire engages in foreign regime change, intrigue, deception, interference, sanctions, embargoes, support of dictatorships, kidnapping, torture, abuse, humiliation, foreign aid, invasions, and occupations.

Statists see all that but their mindsets tell them that it’s all part of “defense.” They are unable to recognize that the troops are not defending our nation or our freedoms with their foreign adventures but instead producing nothing but trouble for us, including terrorist blowback and financial bankruptcy, trouble that the federal government then uses as the excuse to take away our freedoms under the rubric a “national security” emergency.

Getting our nation back on the right track requires a dismantling of both the welfare state and the warfare state. That requires Americans to achieve libertarian breakthrough, one that recognizes that the welfare-state and warfare state way of life aren’t freedom but rather a renunciation of freedom.

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.