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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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Nothing but Failure for Welfare-Warfare Statists


I can’t imagine why any statist would be proud of being a statist, especially given the manifest failure of his three favorite government programs — foreign interventionism, the war on poverty, and the war on drugs.

Did you see that al-Qaeda has taken control over Fallujah in Iraq? Two things immediately come to mind. First, despite all the hoopla over killing Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda is still around. Second, despite a decade or so of killing and destruction, the U.S. military and the CIA didn’t bring freedom to Iraq.

Oh sure, the statists can come up with all sorts of excuses — that a ten-year occupation of Iraq wasn’t long enough, that Iraqis are just too incompetent, or that U.S. military officials failed to exercise sufficient brutality to adequately “pacify” the country.

Regardless of the excuses, the fact remains: The invasion and occupation of Iraqi didn’t produce a paradise of peace and prosperity. Moreover, at the risk of belaboring the obvious, Operation Iraqi Freedom didn’t bring freedom to the Iraqi people. The country is ruled by a crooked, corrupt totalitarian regime that embraces such dictatorial practices as arbitrary arrest, torture, and indefinite detention, i.e., all the things that characterized the brutal dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein.

Iraq is nothing but a hell-hole. Perhaps the best proof of the disastrous consequence of the U.S. invasion and occupation is the fact that not one single U.S. interventionist has taken his family on vacation there. The reason? He knows that his family would be killed or kidnapped.

It’s no different in Afghanistan. It’s another hellhole. No U.S. official would be stupid enough to take his family and travel around Afghanistan on vacation. They’d be killed or kidnapped in a New York minute. The same goes for Pakistan. People in that part of the world hate America and they hate Americans. Why would that surprise anyone given that U.S. forces have been killing, torturing, detaining, or assassinating people in that part of the world for more than a decade?

It’s the same with the statists’ war on poverty, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. If the war on poverty had been victorious, it could be ended. There would be grand celebrations on how the war had been won and how there was no more poverty in America.

But the best proof of failure is the need, according to statists, to continue the war on poverty. They tell us that there is more poverty than ever and that it’s more urgent than ever that the government continue waging war on it.

The truth is that the war on poverty that is the root cause of poverty. In the process of confiscating the wealth and income to fund their poverty programs, statists destroy the foundation for building a wealthy and prospering society.

Thus, the war on poverty was doomed from the start. The poverty warriors were lucky that through most of the war on poverty, the private sector produced more wealth than was being confiscated. But we have now reached the point where the total wealth pie is diminishing even while the poverty disbursements are increasing.

The notion that wealth and prosperity could be produced through laws, taxation, and welfare programs was always a ridiculous one. After all, if a welfare-state apparatus could end or alleviate poverty, every nation on earth would be without poor people, since it really isn’t difficult to enact tax-and-spend welfare programs.

What is the key to achieving rising standards of living, especially for the poor? Prohibit the government from waging war on poverty. That’s all that needs to be done. That would bring into existence the economic enterprise, savings, and productive capital that raise people’s standard of living, especially that of the poor.

The drug war is another gigantic failure. It certainly hasn’t achieved its purported end — a drug-free society. Instead, it has brought us gang wars, political corruption, robberies, thefts, muggings, ruined lives, deaths, draconian jail sentences, and overcrowded prisons.

Interestingly, the drug war is one area of statism that Americans are finally seeing for what it is: one gigantic failure that has produced nothing but horrific results. That’s reflected by the ever-growing number of people who are now calling for an end to this immoral and destructive war.

Despite the manifest failure of their most beloved programs, welfare statists and warfare statists just won’t let go. They plead, “We’re not responsible for this. Things just happened that were beyond our control. Judge us by our good intentions, not by the actual results of our statist programs. Please give us 10 more years to turn things around.”

They’re not entitled to another day. They’ve done enough damage. Their statist programs need to be dismantled, not reformed, along with the welfare-warfare departments and agencies that operate them. The time has come to let libertarian principles lead us to peace, prosperity, harmony, and 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.