Big Government, small citizens

[Imported from Whale Oil Beef Hooked on Blogger]

Mark Steyn comments on rampant social agendas. There are some alarming similarities here with Liar-bours approach to life.

As Barry Goldwater liked to say, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.”

And that’s true. But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn’t big enough to get you to give any of it back.

That’s the position European governments find themselves in. Their citizens have become hooked on unaffordable levels of social programs which in the end will put those countries out of business. Just to get the Social Security debate in perspective, projected public pensions liabilities are expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8% of GDP in the US. In Greece, the figure is 25% – ie, total societal collapse. So what? shrug the voters. Not my problem. I paid my taxes, I want my benefits.

This is the paradox of “social democracy”. When you demand lower taxes and less government, you’re damned by the left as “selfish”. And, to be honest, in my case that’s true. I’m glad to find a town road at the bottom of my drive, and I’m happy to pay for the army and a new fire truck for a volunteer fire department every now and then, but, other than that, I’d like to keep everything I earn and spend it on my priorities.

The left, on the other hand, offers an appeal to moral virtue: it’s better to pay more in taxes and to share the burdens as a community. It’s kindler, gentler, more compassionate, more equitable. Unfortunately, as recent European election results demonstrate, nothing makes a citizen more selfish than socially equitable communitarianism: once a fellow’s enjoying the fruits of government health care and all the rest, he couldn’t give a hoot about the broader societal interest; he’s got his, and if it’s going to bankrupt the state a generation hence, well, as long as they can keep the checks coming till he’s dead, it’s fine by him. “Social democracy” is, in that sense, explicitly anti-social.

And then the money line.

Somewhere along the way these countries redefined the relationship between government and citizen into something closer to pusher and junkie. And once you’ve done that, it’s very hard to persuade the junkie to cut back his habit.

He finishes with;

The modern social democratic state is so corrosive of its citizens’ will and so enervating in its elevation of secondary priorities (welfare, paid vacation) over primary ones (family, national defense) that most of them will not survive this great existential struggle. In America, a wartime president should understand that this is no time to increase his own citizenry’s addiction to entitlement. A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have, starting with your sense of self-reliance.

It is bloody hard to disagree with this guy. He just makes sense.

 


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