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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 Perpetual Crises of the Welfare-Warfare State


It’s fascinating to see people get all bent out of shape over the latest immigration crisis. I mean, what planet have they been living on? It’s as though they’re shocked — just shocked — that another immigration crisis would befall our nation. And then they go into extreme fits of anger, anxiety, angst, and depression over the crisis.

I don’t get it. We libertarians have been pointing out that crises are an inherent part of the welfare-warfare state apparatuses ever since such apparatuses were made a part of America’s governmental system in the 1930s and 1940s. Haven’t people been listening?

When something is an inherent part of a system, that means that it’s going to happen, just as surely as thunder follows lightning. Do you ever see these same people going into their hissy fits when thunder follows lightning? Nope. Then why do they do it when crises come with welfare-warfare state policies?

I’ve been watching immigration crises ever since I was a kid in Laredo, Texas, which is on the Texas-Mexican border. Every five years or so, there’s a new crisis and people have a conniption fit, which public officials address with some new stupid reform. That seems to satisfy everyone, well, until the next crisis, which happens about 5 years later, and then the entire comical exercise happens again. Wasn’t it just about 5 years ago when public officials said that that Berlin Fence that they constructed along the border was going to solve all the immigration crises once and for all? Didn’t they say the same thing when they made it illegal to hire illegal immigrants back in the 1980s?

Originally — long before I was born — there were no immigration controls between Mexico and the United States. People could travel freely back and forth. In fact, Mexicans felt very comfortable traveling into Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, given that that those states had actually constituted the northern half of Mexico that President Polk stole from Mexico by starting a war after Mexico had refused to voluntarily half its country to the U.S. government.

During that period of open borders, there were no immigration crises. People peacefully crossed back and forth, in both directions. People retained their respective citizenships, including the Americans in the border states who previously had been Mexican citizens before being automatically absorbed as American citizens when the United States took control over the northern half of their country after the Mexican War.

Mexicans freely crossed into the United States to visit, tour, and even open up businesses. Americans did the same with Mexico.

The immigration crises began when immigration controls were established in the 20th century. U.S. officials enacted laws that made unauthorized entry into the United States illegal. The first immigration crisis occurred when Mexicans ignored the law. As you can imagine, that made U.S. officials furious because they felt that Mexicans should obey their laws. Thus began the endless cycle of immigration crises and immigration reforms.

It’s really no different from the other aspects of the welfare-warfare state.

Look at Iraq and Afghanistan. Crises, big time. Right? That’s because the warfare state invaded and occupied both countries.

The war on terrorism? Okay, sure, we don’t have the color codes anymore but many Americans still live in constant fear that the terrorists are coming to get them and cart them off to some sort of terrorist POW camp or, even worse, that they’re going to take control over the U.S. government and the public schools, where their kids will be taught Terrorism 101.

What’s the root of the terrorism crisis? The warfare state is. After the Cold War, which was another big warfare-state crisis, came to an end, the warfare state went into the Middle East and began poking hornets’ nests. The hornets reacted, just as we libertarians said they would, which was what the 1993 attacks on the World Trade Center, the USS Cole, the U.S. embassies in East Africa, and 9/11 were all about.

The drug war? That’s about the epitome of crisis. Violence, gang wars, deaths, destruction. Why, did you know that some 60,000 people have been killed in Mexico in the last 7 years? That’s not because of drugs. That’s because of the drug war. In fact, the violence produced by the drug war is the biggest factor behind the child-immigrant crisis that has everyone so worked up.

Healthcare? That’s what Obamacare was all about — to address the massive healthcare crisis produced by Medicare, Medicaid, government licensure, and regulation. So that everyone will be ready for it, permit me be among those to predict another big healthcare crisis in about five years or sooner.

Social Security? We’ve got a big crisis there too. There is no Social Security trust fund. That’s been a fraud and a sham since the very beginning. Everyone’s money has been spent. Gone. Poof.  So, what’s left? Taxing young people’ money so that it can be used to pay the seniors during the years before they die. The problem is that there are too many seniors who are living longer and not enough young people to seize money from to give to the seniors. Meanwhile, seniors continue telling themselves that all that money that was taken from them during their work years is safely ensconced in a government trust fund or maybe even a government lock box.

Of course, people get exasperated with us libertarians because we don’t get all worked up over all these crises. That’s because we know that crises are an inherent part of the welfare-warfare state. There’s no reason to get all worked up over them if you know that they’re going to happen.

Our job as libertarians is to keep reminding people that there is an alternative, one that would provide a peaceful, harmonious, prosperous society without all these perpetual crises. That alternative is libertarianism, a philosophy that necessarily entails dismantling, not reforming, the welfare-warfare state apparatuses that 20th-century Americans grafted onto our governmental system in the 20th century.

Otherwise, if Americans choose to continue embracing the welfare-warfare state way of life, they would be wise to just resign themselves to living lives of perpetual crisis without getting so shocked and worked up when they occur.


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.