The reason for the many woes currently afflicting the American people lies with three separate apparatuses that have been attached to our original federal governmental structure. Those three apparatuses are the welfare state, the regulatory or interventionist state, and the warfare state. The key to restoring a normal society to our land — one of freedom, peace, prosperity, and harmony — depends on the dismantling, not the reform, of those three apparatuses.
The welfare-state apparatus was attached to the federal government in the 1930s during the presidential administration of Franklin Roosevelt. It was an apparatus by which the primary purpose of the federal government became taking money from people who had produced wealth and giving it to people who had not produced it.
Prior to the attachment of the welfare-state apparatus to our governmental system, the United States was based on the principles of the free market, private charity, and wealth accumulation. That’s why there was no income taxation for most of the first 125 years of the country’s existence. With no federal income tax and no IRS, Americans were free to keep everything they earned.
Equally important, for more than a century after the adoption of the Constitution, there was no federally mandated charity — no Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, farm subsidies, education grants, SBA loans, corporate bailouts, and other aspects of the welfare state.
That’s not to say, of course, that there weren’t exceptions here and there prior to the FDR administration. Given that no system devised by humans is going to be perfect, of course there were exceptions. But the fact is that the primary purpose of the federal government at the nation’s founding was to protect the accumulation of wealth in a free-market context and protect the right of people to decide for themselves what to do with their own money.
That came to an end with the attachment of the welfare-state apparatus onto our governmental system. The result is a society in which large numbers of people are now psychologically dependent on federal largess. Many Americans honestly believe that without the welfare-state apparatus, people would be dying in the streets from illness or starvation, not getting an education, not opening up businesses, not working, and not helping out people in need.
In the process, America’s way of life has been converted into one in which large numbers of Americans are waging war against each other. The recipients of the largess are trying their best to get their hands into everyone else’s pocketbooks, through the IRS and the welfare state. It is a way of life based on perpetual conflict and discord, covered up by a false air of friendliness and politeness.
The second malignant apparatus was the regulatory-interventionist apparatus, which started to come into its prominence at the turn of the 20th century but became a full-fledged operating apparatus as the century progressed. With this apparatus, the federal government acquired the power to control, manage, and regulate peaceful behavior, especially economic behavior.
America was founded on the principle of free enterprise, a way of life in which economic enterprise was free of government control and regulation. That’s one of the things that distinguished the United States from other countries around the world and, actually, throughout history.
The best example of this working of this apparatus is the drug war, a federal program that criminalizes the possession, sale, and distribution of illicit drugs, an entirely peaceful economic enterprise.
Prior to the 20th century, there were no drug laws. That’s because Americans believed that freedom necessarily entailed the right to ingest anything a person chose to ingest, no matter how harmful or destructive. Our American ancestors believed that it wasn’t any of the government’s business to control what they ingested.
That way of life came to a screeching halt with drug laws, which reflected the collectivist mindset that everyone belonged to society as a serf and therefore subject to the dictates of the government. If the government concluded that a certain choice was harmful to a person, it now wielded the authority to punish him for making that choice.
Needless to say, the drug war has fundamentally altered American life. Gangs, cartels, gang wars, muggings, robberies, police and judicial corruption, overcrowded prisons, highway robberies by law-enforcement personnel, death, loss of civil liberties, militarized police, and ruination of countless lives. Nonetheless, the interventionists continue to argue that the drug war must go on.
The warfare state apparatus is by far the most destructive apparatus. While its roots stretch back to the concepts of empire and militarism of the Spanish American War in 1898, this apparatus became a permanent part of the federal government with the adoption of the national-security establishment after World War II. This apparatus consists primarily of the enormous standing army —or “military-industrial complex,” as President Eisenhower labeled it — and the CIA.
To justify its permanent attachment to the federal government, warfare-state officials claim that this apparatus is necessary to “keep us safe.” That’s what they use to justify their ever-growing military and CIA budgets.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s the apparatus itself that is the biggest danger to the freedom and well-being of the American people.
Our American ancestors understood that. That’s why they had such a deep antipathy toward standing armies and militarism. In fact, if anyone had told our American ancestors in 1787 that the Constitution was bringing into existence the national-security state apparatus that we live under today, there is no doubt that the Constitution would never have been adopted.
By engaging in endless military adventures overseas, the warfare-state apparatus succeeds in producing an endless supply of people who aim to do American harm. That then produces ever-growing infringements on our freedom here at home in the purported attempt to keep us safe from the dangers the empire is producing overseas. Perpetual war brings perpetual loss of liberty.
There is also a welfare component to the warfare state. Countless cities and towns across America are now dependent on military bases and weapons production activities. People in warfare-state cities live in perpetual fear that they’re going to lose their local base or some other welfare-warfare largess.
There is a domestic war being waged with the warfare state too. Like with the welfare state, defense contractors are trying their best to get into the pocketbooks of the taxpayers.
And then there is the out-of-control spending and debt to pay for these three apparatuses. It never ends and it just keeps going up and up. No one likes to think about it but the fact is that the federal government is headed down the road to severe economic and financial crises, which could mean the assumption of emergency powers by the president, the military, and the CIA, which means even more loss of liberty for the American people.
There is only one way out of this morass. That way simply involves the dismantling, not reform, of these three statist apparatuses. That’s cause for optimism. Imagine how depressing it was if there was no way of the messes America is in.