For their entire lives, Americans living today have experienced two massive infringements on their liberty and well-being, one consisting of what we call the welfare state and the other consisting of what we call the warfare state.
The welfare state encompasses coercive transfer programs, regulatory programs, and all other government programs that take care of people or subject peaceful choices and behavior to the control of government officials.
Specifically, when we think of the welfare state, we think of such programs as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farm subsidies, education grants, foreign aid, public schooling, corporate bailouts, minimum-wage laws, price controls, the drug war, immigration controls, trade restrictions, sanctions and embargoes, banking regulations, the Federal Reserve, income taxation, tariffs, and fiat (paper) money.
The warfare state, which is also known as the national-security state, encompasses the enormous, permanent military establishment, the Pentagon, the empire of thousands of foreign and domestic military bases, the military-industrial complex, the CIA, and the NSA.
Specifically, when we think of the warfare state, we think of such programs as regime-change operations, assassinations, kidnappings, torture, coups, indefinite detention, secret prisons, partnerships with dictatorial regimes, military dungeons, the anti-communist crusade, surveillance, the war on terrorism, infringements on privacy and civil liberties, perpetual crises, constant fear, and a never-ending cast of new official enemies.
As another presidential election cycle shifts into gear, Democrats and Republicans will, once again, be fighting their hearts out to get their candidate into the presidency. Moreover, Americans will, once again, be exhorted to pour millions of dollars of their hard-earned money into the presidential campaigns.
And for what?
If a Democrat is elected, that means an expanded welfare state. More socialist and more interventionist programs and, of course, more out-of-control federal spending, debt, and taxation.
If a Republican is elected that means an expanded warfare state. More death and destruction through foreign wars and foreign interventions, assassinations, torture, kidnappings, regime-change operations, and foreign aid to dictatorships. More surveillance and spying, more infringements on civil liberties and privacy, more fear, and more crises. And more out-of-control spending, debt, and taxation.
In fact, if truth be told, whether Americans elect a Republican or a Democrat, there will be an expanded welfare state and an expanded warfare state, given that Democrats and Republicans both favor socialism, interventionism, militarism, and imperialism. That has been best manifested by Barack Obama’s administration, given that his eight years in power have been really just a continuation of the eight years of the George W. Bush administration.
(We’ll leave Rand Paul out of this equation since he’s clearly not cut out of the same cloth as other Republicans but also unfortunately lacks the philosophical consistency of his father.)
Some, if not all, of the presidential candidates will at some time or another extol the Founding Fathers, the Framers, the Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution.
That, of course, will be ironic because our American ancestors hated everything that today’s Democrat and Republican candidates stand for and believe in. That’s why Americans lived without a welfare state and warfare state for more than a century.
Imagine: No income tax or IRS, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, farms subsidies, immigration controls, Federal Reserve, fiat money, welfare, minimum wage laws, price controls, the drug war, public schooling, enormous military establishment, foreign military bases, torture, assassinations, regime-change operations, CIA, NSA, surveillance, and secret prisons, and few economic regulations.
That’s what it once meant to be an American. That’s what it once meant to be free.
In fact, another irony is that many of our American ancestors immigrated to the United States to escape countries where those types of things existed to come to a country where they did not exist.
Thus, the United States has now had two different types of economic systems and two different types of political systems.
One economic system was a free-market system — that is, one in which markets were free of government control and people were free to keep whatever they earned and decide for themselves what to do with it. That’s the system our ancestors chose.
The other economic system is a welfare state. It’s he system that modern-day Americans have chosen.
One political system — the one our ancestors lived under — was a constitutional republic.
The other political system — the one we live under — is a military-intelligence empire.
Does it really make any difference which presidential candidate is elected? I don’t think so. The problem is not which people are elected. The problem is with the system.
When you’ve got a rotten system, it really doesn’t make any difference who’s running it. In fact, when you’ve got a rotten system, you’re likely to attract those people to power who like running a rotten system.
And the welfare-warfare system is truly a rotten system. It is a cancer on the body politic, one that is destroying our nation from within.
To save our nation and ourselves, isn’t the answer obvious? Forget about presidential politics and think about how to change our economic-political system from a welfare-warfare state to one based on individual freedom, free markets, and a constitutional republic. What greater gift could we give to ourselves and to succeeding generations of Americans? Indeed, what greater gift could we give the world?
P.S. My college tour: I have had two awesome sessions discussing liberty with Young Americans for Liberty (YAL) chapters in Florida. Monday in Miami at Florida International University and Tuesday at St. Petersburg College in St. Petersburg. This evening, on to Santa Fe College in Gainesville and then Thursday evening in Orlando at the University of Central Florida.