L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 294, October 24, 2004
"Scare the crap out of the statists!"
Socialism Causes Self Destruction (and Insecurity)
Special to TLE
Letter to a Conservative
Conservatives are continually telling me that the "if it feels good do it" mentality is what has caused the demise of countless societies and cultures. Indeed, I was chastised by the following remark very recently.
"Fact: no nation for 5000 years has lasted past three generations after the "Feels Good Do It Attitude" was accepted as doctrine of freedom."
1st, I don't know of any libertarian who advocates the "if it feels good do it" doctrine of freedom. Indeed, rapists tell us their crime feels good. What some libertarians may advocate is the "if it feels good do it, as long as you don't hurt somebody else, attitude."
But barring this mischaracterization of libertarian principles, let's assume the rephrased comment is the one the person in question meant.
Fact: most of the "if it feels good do it mentality" is caused by government intervention.
Yes, I agree with my friend, Rome fell because all the people cared about was "Parades and Elephants and Wine" (to paraphrase Shakespeare's Julius Caesar).
But what precipitated that? Empire and socialism.
By the end of the Roman Empire people looked to the State for free goodies (welfare), but because most of the wealth had been destroyed by state intervention Rome had to wage war to get those "goodies" so they could bring them back to the people.
Government sponsored war and socialism is the encourager of self destructive behavior.
Point in case, I went to my home-town in Bonners Ferry ID, to find that one of my friends from College had decided to become a cop, and was with the local DARE program in ID. I mentioned that I had developed into a libertarian over the past couple years and that drugs shouldn't be illegal, because it's outside the bounds of basic protection of life, liberty and property from infringements caused by others (per the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, and most of the classical liberal tradition.)
He said, "I'd have to disagree" And he mentioned about walking into a meth house, and the kids are there, and "you know what's in that stuff." (I very much into chemistry in High School).
But then I asked him the following question.
"How many of those drug busts, and meth houses that you've walked into are in government housing."
He looked at me, kind-of shocked. He hadn't thought about it. But he tried to think, but mentioned he thought all of them had been in government housing.
From my own personal experience of living in the small town growing up, I'm all to aware that the vast majority of the drug traffic goes through the government subsidized apartment buildings.
When you give people free money, thereby discouraging them from improving themselves and their condition, and allow them to continue the same lifestyle even if they make themselves worseindeed, making themselves worse off can sometimes even get them more government money. People are going to tend towards self destructive behavior. Socialism encourages self destruction. Drug abuse, is simply that particular form of self destruction that the government has decided is the area in which it needs to "protect" us from ourselves.
My boss at where I work here in Sioux Falls, SD said he used to work for the government in the reservations. The drugs are rampant there. But, the reservations in many ways are also socialist cesspools. Free Money, Free housing, Free Everything. I even saw one time when I visited that one person had knocked out a hole in the wall, because he didn't want to walk around through the door. If it all gets replaced by the government for free, why not?
Socialism encourages self destruction.
And then you have government schools that program kids to be hedonistic and materialistic. (See John Taylor Gatto's The Underground History of American Education. Or click here for an overview.
And you have a government enforced Media Cartel known as the FCC. (Why the FCC Must die)
It's no wonder people act the way they do, with all these government created pressures encouraging irresponsibility and self destruction. This is the nature of socialism.
It's government intervention that causes moral quandaries and encourages moral turpitude. And my dear conservative friend, you want more government intervention to "fix" the problem?
Well, that's exactly what happened, power hungry politicians made a case that the government should do something about drug abuse (a problem they encouraged in many waysif not outright caused), and now we have the drug war, property confiscation, mandatory sentencing, the 4th through 8th amendments thrown out the window, etc. The drug war is nothing more then an excuse to turn the U.S. into a police state.
I really don't care about the drug war. I don't have this mission to fight for marijuana legalization like some libertarians do. (Although, it should be legalindeed all drugs should, as it's not the governments job to protect us from ourselvesIndeed, it's protecting us to death as it is.) I just don't think it's the real issue. Libertarians could win on this issue, and the drug war could be gone, and the federal Mafia would dream up some other excuse to bully us around. The real issue is massive government, and socialism.
Socialism encourages death, and self destruction, (and other people caused destruction for that matterafter all, if it's public property, I partially own it, so why shouldn't I be allowed to vandalize it if I want? Right? Socialism creates these moral quandaries. The Bible says though shalt not steal, but the very concept of thievery becomes meaningless if nobody owns anything. Read Faith and Liberty. It's an excellent book about the late Spanish Scholastics. See an excellent review at the Mises Institute: Part 1 and Part 2.)
So socialism, government ownership, the idea that we're all serfs and the government can take and redistribute anything under our control breaks down the respect people have for themselves and for each other. Socialism is what's destroying the family structuresomething that conservatives believe should be the foundation of society. So if you want to save the family, and save Marriage, and all these other things that social conservatives (including myself) cherish, the answer is to abolish socialism, and abolish big central government.
Like I mentioned before, socialism also encourages warmongering (and vice versa). Conservatives used to understand this. They used to understand that the warfare/welfare state were one and the same. Interference abroad or interference at home,: there really isn't any difference. This is where modern liberals are all wet. You can't have big government socialism at home, with-out the warfare state. Socialism encourage tariffs and other protectionist legislation, and we're all to familiar with the adage, "If goods don't cross boarders, armies will." But likewise the conservatives are wrong too. You can't have warfare abroad with-out the welfare state. So if you want to get rid of the welfare state that contributes to the continuing decadence of our culture, you must oppose the warfare state as well. Famous old right critic of FDR, John T. Flynn, explains it well in his now currently out-of print book As We Go Marching.
All of our enemies are of our own creation. We funded the Talaban and put them in power in Afghanistan to help get rid of the communism there. (You know, that big bogeyman, that eventually just collapsed under it's own tyranny, while simultaneously giving the U.S. an excuse to increase a warfare/welfare- regulation/police state of it's own brand.) We also funded and propped up Saddam to help us with Iranian theocracy. (Of course, the only reason they had a Shah was because our own CIA de stabilized the one democracy that was over in the middle east and installed him.)
You see, the only reasonto support this war (indeed, any war this country has been involved with since WW1) is to "fix" the mistakes that we've caused(or "blowback" to borrow a term from the CIA) But like government government "fixes" to their own interference domestically (like when it tried to fix problems caused by socialism with the drug war), "fixing" foreign problems just cause more problems.
The Government is like a plumber who breaks more pipes then he fixesonly because he's coercively funded off the backs of taxpayers, you can't fire him.
Indeed, this very war in Iraq is being espoused by many people as a form of welfare. We're doing the Iraqis a great charitable service, by "liberating" them. But just like domestic government welfare/police state only causes more problems and hurts the very people it's supposedly designed to help, Foreign welfare/warfare is wrong too.
Realistically, If we want to help "stabilize the region" and help liberalize (and I mean that in the classical sense) the people of Iraq and the rest of the world, we should be promoting unilateral free trade (not international government regulated "fair trade" like NAFTA, GATT, etc.). Instead of sanctions that lead to war, and more instability. It's the best way to help increase the prosperity of those countries while at the same time not propping up dictators like our foreign welfare program (which incidental Bush is proud that he's increasedor did you miss that whole AIDS Bill to Africapart of which uses tax dollars to fund abortions). Incidentally foreign welfare is another example of the insidious relationship between the warfare and welfare states. Foreign welfare causes civil wars, and makes us enemies.
Even disregarding all our nation building the past 80+ years (100+ if you count Teddy Roosevelt.) It's our government's fault 911 happened. Our government regulates the entire airline industry (a form of socialism), while at the same time it makes it illegal for airports to have their own private security, and usurps our right to bare arms. So What does Bush do? He creates even more government bureaucracy. A bureaucracy that still stonewalls pilots from having guns. He also promised to renew the semi-auto weapon ban if congress extended its sunset. (Which fortunately, they didn't.) More police statism, and more victim disarmament only makes us less secure.
Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would sacrifice liberty for security, deserve neither and will get neither." The only way for us to be maximally secure, is to have maximum liberty. The lesson of 911, is that top-down centralized government in inherently incompetent to protect us against a diffuse, amorphous, decentralized tactic like terrorism. Private individuals exercising their right to defend their own property, is the type of diffuse, amorphous, decentralized method we need to respond to this threat. But the government's basically made that illegal, and then said, "Trust us, we're the government."
So if you want security, cease military adventurism, and take back your right to defend yourself. Neither Bush or Kerry, are going to help you do that.
This has been the pattern of the Statist for eons. The State interfereseither in domestic or foreign affairs. The State interference causes problems. The State blames those problems on market processes and takes it upon itself to "fix" them, which causes more problems.hence, the road to serfdom/fascism/ omnipotent government/(whatever you want to call it).
So, if you want your families to stay in tact, support ending domestic interference (socialism, regulation, etc.) It's utopian and naive to believe that some government law can "fix" our moral problems. And it's downright idol worship to put your trust in The State, to protect the holy and sacred institution like Marriagesomething that should be the realm of the church.
And that's another thing.
I understand the constitution doesn't say "Separation of Church and State." But I've come to the conclusion that separation of church and state is the best way to keep the church from becoming corrupt. We need to oppose Bushes tax funding of "faith based charities" and other intrusions. You don't want the church dependent on government for support or protectionist laws or anything like that. It's only a matter of time before somebody you don't like gets elected and used that new found power coercively against the church. (Indeed, many Catholic hospitals around the country have been in lawsuits because they take public money, but don't want to perform abortions.)
So, if you want the Church to be healthy:
Abolish the Warfare state, Abolish the welfare state, Abolish the regulation/surveillance/police state, and Abolish centralized big government.
And eventually we need to abolish the federal government itself in an effort to try and prevent this build-up of centralized government interference from happening again. Only by doing this will we be able to stay the free, secure, and moral culture that conservatives long for.
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