Conservatives love preaching about their supposed devotion to the Constitution. They also love proclaiming their opposition to socialism.
Fine. Fair enough.
But conservatives also love and are unswervingly committed to America’s premier socialist program, Social Security, which is the crown jewel of our country’s welfare state.
The question arises: How do conservatives reconcile their supposed love for the Constitution and this supposed opposition to Social Security with their love and support of Social Security?
The simple answer: They don’t, and they can’t.
There is no authority in the Constitution that permits the federal government to establish a system of Social Security. The regime of President Franklin Roosevelt enacted the program as an emergency measure during the Great Depression, but the Constitution did not delegate to the federal government to enact such a program.
The idea of Social Security originated among socialists in Germany in the late 1800s. It was then adopted into law during the German regime of Otto von Bismarck, the so-called Iron Chancellor of Germany. The concept was then imported into the United States by the Progressive movement.
Of course, conservatives have never worried about consistency. They’ll exclaim against socialism and out-of-control federal spending and express their support for the Constitution but then support Social Security and every other welfare-state program that comes down the pike. And they don’t think twice about doing this. They’ll just keep repeating empty mantras like “free enterprise, private property, and limited government” and “small government.”
What about libertarians? Unfortunately, the conservative movement has corrupted much of the libertarian movement. The libertarian movement began as a radical movement for liberty, one that favored genuine liberty, one that called for the repeal of Social Security and every other socialist program.
Once disgruntled conservatives began flooding into the libertarian movement, however, they brought their support of socialism with them. The effect was to corrupt the libertarian movement by inducing many libertarians to abandon their call for Social Security repeal and to adopt a position of Social Security reform.
Thus today, unfortunately, in much of the libertarian movement it is impossible to distinguish the libertarian position on Social Security from the conservative position. For many libertarians, the libertarian-position on Social Security, as well as for other welfare-state programs, is reform, reform, reform, but never repeal, abolish, or terminate. In the process, this has contributed to making libertarianism nothing more than a libertarian-conservative mush and making the libertarian movement into simply a revolving door for disgruntled conservatives.
What about the Constitution? Libertarians, like conservatives, express support for the Constitution. How do libertarians who support Social Security reconcile their position with their support of the Constitution? They don’t. And they can’t.
But the problem is even worse for libertarians because for them the Constitution serves only as a guidepost. The real core of libertarianism is the non-aggression principle, which holds that libertarians will never support the initiation of force against others.
But Social Security necessarily entails the initiation of force against others. Therefore, libertarians who support Social Security are necessarily supporting a violation of the core principle of their own philosophy.
Moreover, libertarians who favor “phasing out” Social Security over the next 40 years are saying that they favor the initiation of force for the next 40 years.
Equally important, such libertarians are implicitly telling people that freedom won’t work. They are saying that without Social Security, people would die in the streets.
Who is going to be attracted to libertarianism with that type of message being delivered by libertarians? Shouldn’t we be communicating that liberty does work and that people need not fear freedom?
A society with a welfare state is not a free society. If we are ever going to achieve a free society, it will necessarily have to be a society with no welfare state (and no warfare state).
There is no hope that conservatives or progressives will ever lead America to freedom, especially given their ardent support for Social Security and other socialist programs.The only people who can lead America to freedom are we libertarians. In order to do that, we libertarians must be willing to make the case to our fellow Americans for achieving the genuinely free society. That necessarily entails making the case for repeal, not reform, of Social Security and every other welfare-state program. We libertarians must never be like conservatives or progressives. We must continue adhering to our principles and maintaining our integrity. That’s the way that we lead America out of the statist morass into which both conservatives and progressives have plunged our nation.