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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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Let’s Raise Our Vision to a Higher Level


Given the myriad problems afflicting America under the welfare-warfare state way of life, the American people living today have a choice: They can continue devoting their efforts to coming up with reforms in the hopes of fixing all those problems, or they can raise their vision to a higher level and lead the world out of the statist morass in which it is mired. I say: Forget the reforms and go for the higher vision.

After all, if there is anything that Americans should have learned by now, it is that the welfare state and the warfare state are inherently defective. That’s precisely why statists haven’t figured out how to make these philosophies work in the real world. They cannot be made to work. They are inherently defective.

Consider, for example, healthcare. So many people, conservatives and liberals alike, are obsessed with Obamacare. Liberals want to keep it. Conservatives want to ditch it. They both think that if their particular reform is adopted, everything will be hunky dory with healthcare.

But it won’t be. There will continue to be a healthcare crisis regardless of happens with Obamacare. That’s because of such socialist and interventionist programs as Medicare, Medicaid, medical licensure, healthcare regulations, and insurance regulations.

In other words, as long as you have those programs in existence, there are going to be healthcare crises. Thus, it really doesn’t matter whether you repeal Obamacare or not. The healthcare crisis will remain. In order to resolve the crisis, there is but one thing to do: raise our vision to a higher level and totally separate healthcare and the state. Leave healthcare entirely to the free market.

It’s no different with any other welfare program. Consider the much-vaunted war on poverty, the federal program that was supposed to end poverty in America. After decades of warfare, there is one thing that everyone can agree on: Poverty won the war. It is still with us.

Even worse, however, is the fact that the war on poverty has actually exacerbated poverty.  It has locked countless people out of the labor market with such things as minimum-wage laws, regulations, and occupational licensure, converting them into dependent wards of the state. It has nurtured mindsets of governmental dependency and damaged such values as self-reliance and independence. It has generated political corruption and corrupted genuine charity within the private sector.

So, why should anyone spend his efforts trying to reform such a system? If it hasn’t been fixed by now, it’s not ever going to be fixed. Why not simply ditch it entirely by raising our vision to a higher level — to one that prohibits the government from providing any welfare for anyone?

Indeed, why not free people to keep everything they earn and decide for themselves what to do with it? Why shouldn’t people be free to donate their money to worthy causes, to invest their money, to spend it, or save it? Why not separate charity and the state, just as our ancestors separated church and state? Why not leave charity entirely to the private sector?

Isn’t that what genuine freedom is all about? Isn’t that why our American ancestors considered themselves free, given that they had no income taxation or welfare state? How can people who are forced to help others genuinely consider themselves to be free? How can people whose income falls under the control of the government genuinely consider themselves to be free?

Why spend any portion of our lives trying to reform the educational system? If the state schooling system hasn’t been fixed after more than a century, it’s not going to be fixed. All attempts at reform, including vouchers, are only going to fail. That’s because the concept of public schooling is inherently defective. Why try to fix something that is inherently defective?

Why not raise our vision to a higher level? Why not separate school and state entirely, just like charity and religion? The free market produces the best of everything. It’s our heritage as Americans. Why continue placing our faith in a gigantic socialist enterprise such as public schooling? Why not raise our vision to a higher level — to one that rejects any governmental participation in education and that relies totally on the free market to provide the educational vehicles for families?

The drug war? Anyone who still thinks that he’s going to come up with a reform for this one needs to have his head examined. Everything possible has been tried. The drug war is another inherently defective system. Nothing can be done to fix it. It will continue to generate corruption, gang wars, killings, robberies, muggings, bribery, corruption, overcrowded prisons, and ruined lives. No reform will work. Why not raise our vision to a higher level and simply legalize drugs, as we have legalized alcohol and tobacco?

The warfare state and the national security state? Total fiascoes. The Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and so many others. So many needless deaths. So much needless destruction. So much financial waste. So much dark-side behavior, including torture, regime changes, assassinations, support of dictatorships, wars of aggression, invasions and occupations, and partnerships with unsavory regimes and entities. So much loss of freedom and privacy for the American people. So much anger, hatred, and resentment against the United States.

Americans can continue trying to figure out ways to make empire and interventionism work. That means leaving the giant military empire, CIA, and NSA in existence and hoping that they can finally be made consistent with the principles of a free society.

But it will never work. Like the welfare state, the warfare state is inherently defective, no matter what reform is imposed on it. Why not raise our vision to a higher level — one that entails a restoration of America’s founding principles of a constitutional republic? Why not dismantle all the overseas military bases, bring all the troops home from foreign lands, and discharge them? Why not end all foreign interventionism? Why not close all those unnecessary domestic bases at the same time? Why not abolish, not reform, the CIA and the NSA? Why not lead the world by building a free, prosperous, peaceful, and harmonious society here at home?

Throughout history, the giant strides that mankind has made have been accomplished by those generations that have been willing to extricate themselves from the muck of statism and to raise their vision to a higher level. That’s how mankind got such things as freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, due process of law, and habeas corpus. Why not follow their lead by dismantling, not reforming, the American welfare-warfare state?

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.