The most insidious lie of government – and the one responsible for the greatest destruction of liberty – is that one can receive something for nothing.
Government does not create, it destroys. It is a parasite, a veritable regulatory remora attached to the soft, fleshy underbelly of the Republic. For government to have anything to give to one, it first must take it from another – and yet politicians become elected officials through promising to take from the “other” to give to you.
The problem with this line of thinking is that at some point, everyone becomes the “other”, they become the “forgotten man”, the man that Yale University professor William Graham Sumner identified in an a 1876 essay as:
“As soon as A observes something which seems to him wrong, from which X is suffering, A talks it over with B, and A and B then propose to get a law passed to remedy the evil and help X. Their law always proposes to determine what C shall do for X, or, in better case, what A, B, and C shall do for X… What I want to do is to look up C. I want to show you what manner of man he is. I call him the Forgotten Man. Perhaps the appellation is not strictly correct. He is the man who never is thought of…. I call him the forgotten man… He works, he votes, generally he prays—but he always pays…“
Our Constitution was never designed for such perfidy, such economic sleight of hand. It was designed specifically to prevent such redistribution because the Founders knew the evil and corruption of tribute paid to a central authority to be given back to them in a way seen fit by the authority (or not given back as the colonists experienced). Patriots like Patrick Henry and even Thomas Jefferson proposed the common ownership of natural resources – but those ideas were rejected in favor of protection of individual ownership of private property because these were people who understood that individual liberty and economic liberty were inexorably linked.
If coerced collectivism was the way for America, why is it not written into our founding documents?
Coercive redistribution will always fail because it divides a nation into three factions and establishes an irreconcilable conflict between them – the producers, the looters and the administrators.
The producers are angry at the looters and administrators due to the production taken from them at the point of a legislative gun, the looters are envious and angry at the producers and the administrators that not more is given to them and the administrators loathe both of the other groups because the producers don’t give enough, the takers take too much and they believe themselves above the rabble. They believe themselves better and more enlightened and can’t understand why the lower castes simply do not obey.
This cycle of anger, envy and loathing is a death spiral.
I long ago arrived at the opinion that who is elected president is immaterial as long as a majority of the country clings to the idea that a soulless, arbitrary and capricious human-driven government, one susceptible to the worst of human desires, is actually a munificent, benevolent and loving entity concerned for the welfare of the individual and has unlimited capacity to give without taking.
Remember this: while we rarely receive what we deserve, we will always receive what we allow.