Statism vs. Democracy

Pennireef Papers

Statism vs. Democracy

When Alexis de Tocqueville looked into the fog of America’s future, he said of its citizens:
“I do not fear that they will meet with tyrants in their rulers, but rather with guardians.” Today his fears are manifest in a Welfare State that wants to be involved with individuals from the womb to the tomb. In fact, the State virtually controls both ends via abortion and euthanasia.
These ideas and programs are statist. They were popular in France in the 18th and 19th centuries, but have proven to be ineffective and downright dangerous. The French economist Frederic Bastiat unmasked the deception when he said, “The state is that great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.” Politically it’s called “Socialism.”
So how did we get into this mess? First, there was a conscious strategy to persuade people to value security over freedom. Folks, if there is anything we value more than freedom we will lose our freedom. And the tragedy is, if we value comfort, pleasure or security more than freedom we will lose those things too. Second, manipulate the language. Third, use our courts to overcome (through “re-interpretation”) legitimate legislation and popular will.
With the promise of a government engineered utopia, Americans have been seduced by a “taste of entitlement” in order to give everyone, as President Clinton liked to say, “a stake in the system.” It’s more like a stake through our heart. His most dramatic bid was a failed health care initiative which would have put another 10% of the GNP under government control. Now the Obama administration has reinvented an expanded version and rammed down our throats, making the majority of Americans – for the first time – irrevocably dependent on the state.
Statism’s second means of destroying democracy is manipulation of our language. Welcome to the Orwellian era where “entitlements” replace “responsibility,” coercion is described as “compassion,” compulsory redistribution is called “sharing,” race quotas substitute for “diversity” and suicide is prescribed as “death with dignity.” Only in this oxymoronic administration could one call compensated, compulsory labor “voluntarism.” Abortion is discussed in terms of “reproductive health.” Who could ever be against “health?”
The courts today seem to override democracy with ease. Liberalism pays lip service to democracy but increasingly relies on litigation rather than legislation to achieve its ends. Political discourse has become completely corrupted. If you tell people directly that you want to raise their taxes, transfer their wealth, count them by skin color, or let doctors kill patients, most will object. Statists are therefore obliged to obfuscate.
The spectacle of a “Presidents’ Summit for America’s Future” was a thinly disguised attempt to conscript Americans into bailing out a welfare system that has failed. Moral cohesion and community involvement are American traditions. When the government steps in things get messed up. Private charity works far more efficiently (and with much less expense) than federal bureaucracy.
The late Tony Snow once said to the President, “Sir, you ought to aim higher. Don’t prop up the welfare state with volunteer help. Dismantle it, and challenge the rest of us to fill the breach.” Until that happens Statist will continue to teach that we are the children and government is the parent. Government that breaks the moral law encoded in the Golden Rule ultimately leads us to the altar of the golden calf.

Bill Bathman, 30 Aug. 2010 – Mesa, Arizona

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