Hornberger's Blog

Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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No Faith in Freedom


Why are so many people opposed to ending the welfare-state programs that have come into existence since the 1930s, especially when they see that they’re contributing to the downfall of our nation?

One reason is because after years of paying taxes, they feel like they’re entitled to receive a dole from the government.

But they often forget that government is just a fiction. For the government to pay a dole to them, it must first forcibly collect the money from people who are working for a living.

Does the fact that people have paid taxes all their lives morally entitle them to use the government to do the same thing to other people? I can’t see how it does. How can a wrongful act morally justify another morally wrongful act? Suppose the government had spent all those tax monies over the years bombing and killing people in overseas invasions, wars of aggression, and occupations. Would people’s attitudes be different in that case? Or would they say, “By taxing me to fund those overseas military adventures, the government has left me poor. The government now owes me a dole”?

But why should it matter whether the government used the tax money it collected from people to bomb and kill people or to provide a dole to people? Why should that morally justify the continuation of a system in which the victims victimize other people?

Even though statists won’t acknowledge it, everyone instinctively knows that the welfare state way of life has proven to be a dismal failure. Just look at Cuba or North Korea, both welfare-state paradises in which people are on the verge of starvation. Or look at Greece, which is busted and pleading for international welfare handouts. Even here in the United States, everyone knows that the system is cracking apart with massive spending, debt, taxation, and inflation.

The crux of the problem is the welfare-warfare way of life that now characterizes our country. The spending and borrowing to pay for welfare-warfare activities have become so massive that the government is now faced with bankruptcy. The debt now amounts to $46,000 a person, and it just keeps growing and growing. Yet, so many Americans, just like so many Greeks, are steadfastly holding that the system be maintained.

In addition to the moral debauchery of using the state to plunder and loot people for the purpose of putting others on a dole, and in addition to hurtling the government toward financial bankruptcy, there is something else that should be considered: the fact that so many Americans have lost their faith in freedom and free markets. Thanks to the dole way of life, many Americans are absolutely convinced that without these socialist programs, seniors would die in the streets from starvation, sick people would die from lack of medical care, and people would never get educated. Like people in the Soviet Union, who were so convinced that free markets would bring even more starvation and destitution than socialism had brought them, Americans just cannot bring themselves to let go of their own socialism.

Getting America back on the right road requires confronting the welfare state and warfare state directly and, equally important, confronting ourselves. America is not in need of welfare-warfare reforms or getting better people in public office to manage an inherently immoral and defective system. Instead, our nation is in need of an entire paradigm change, one that entails a total dismantling — repeal — elimination — of the welfare-warfare way of life that has proven so immoral and destructive. We need a sound moral, economic, and financial foundation, one that will lead our nation to peace, prosperity, and harmony. That means freedom, free markets, voluntary charity, and a limited-government republic. That necessarily entails a faith in ourselves, others, freedom, free markets, and God, rather than in coercion, bureaucracy, and statism.

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.