No Economic Freedom? No Freedom

by | Jun 13, 2012

More from the articulate Florida Rep. Allen West: “What have we seen happen recently, in the last 10 years? A food stamp program that has gone from about $20.6 billion to over $75 billion in allocation of funds. A 267 percent increase. That’s not how you empower the American people. That’s how you enslave the […]

More from the articulate Florida Rep. Allen West:

“What have we seen happen recently, in the last 10 years? A food stamp program that has gone from about $20.6 billion to over $75 billion in allocation of funds. A 267 percent increase. That’s not how you empower the American people. That’s how you enslave the American people. That’s how you drive toward economic dependence instead of economic freedom.”

West cuts right to the heart of the welfare and entitlement state. I can hardly believe that someone who has this courage managed to win election to high office, even one time.

The welfare and entitlement state is slavery. It’s slavery of a different kind than we normally think about. But the essence of slavery is coercion. With not only food stamps, but almost everything else the federal government today does, there are two types of coercion involved.

One is the coercion of those who actually make a living to pay for the food stamps of those who do not. That’s obvious.

The less obvious coercion is the position it puts the recipient of the food stamps in. Once you take help from the government, you’re afraid to let go of it. The government knows it. This is why every time you turn around, the government is extending unemployment, food stamps, and all the other entitlements. ObamaCare has extended health insurance to everyone. Once you start to depend on the government for your livelihood, you’re afraid to let go. Government involvement tends to curtail both private, voluntary charity as well as innovation and free enterprise. The more government gets in the middle, the more government becomes the provider of first, last and ultimately only resort.

The end result is slavery. Once the government takes care of you, and pays your bills, government can tell you what to do.

This isn’t merely government. It’s human nature. In a family, a paternalistic parent pays for his twenty-five year old’s car, or health care, or clothes. Does the parent hand the money over to the child, with no strings attached, with no opinions or requirements about how that money is to be used? Of course not. He who subsidizes wants to control the outcome. This is almost always how it starts out, and is always how it ends.

Why do you think government cares so much about providing health insurance for everyone? Because once government pays for all of health care, then government is entitled to direct citizens about how to eat, exercise, or handle other previously personal decisions. As responsibility goes away for taking care of one’s own health, so does freedom of choice. Freedom of choice and personal responsibility are inevitably and logically intertwined.

In their quest to be taken care of, or in their liberal guilt compulsion to take care of others, Americans are loosening the grip they once enjoyed on their freedom. The more government gives us, the more government will — by necessity — take away. Having a Republican in charge of this massive, growing entitlement state will not change it.

Getting rid of Obama and replacing him with a different Democrat would not change it, either. It’s the entitlement state itself that must go.

Sooner or later it will, because it’s fiscally and otherwise collapsing in on itself. The socialists are, indeed, running out of other people’s money, and tax increases won’t change this.

Up to this point in human history, we have seen civilizations and societies operating under both control and freedom. Most societies have been based on some degree of control. Communist and Nazi societies were extreme examples of control. They failed miserably, morally and economically. Other societies, such as ancient Rome and Great Britain, operated on a mixture of freedom and control. They achieved more than controlled societies, but far less than America at its peak. America, at least originally, was based almost exclusively on freedom and had a minimum of control, even in the economy. The results speak for themselves.

Increasingly, especially over the last century, that freedom in the American economy has given way to control. Obama is simply consolidating that control. That’s what he means when he says he seeks to “transform”

America. He means that government is going to pay more and more for food stamps, for unemployment benefits, for health care, for bank loans, mortgages, (green-approved) automobiles, college tuition — absolutely everything. With each new “benefit” or subsidy comes a new rule, a new requirement, a new set of mandates. And these rules are not determined by a free people, making self-responsible choices in a marketplace.

They’re determined by a people who are still partially free, and who still think they are free — but are increasingly ruled by the whims and dictates of their masters in Washington DC and elsewhere.

We need more elected officials like Allen West who are not afraid to speak the truth, who simply announce what is self-evidently happening.

However, these elected officials have to act on what they think, and put it into legislation, as well. To date, that has not happened. There have been no budget cuts, no tax cuts, no lessening of government power in any respect, not under Bush and certainly not under Obama. Will the American people ultimately permit this? So far, no. We’re reaching a breaking point, however. Societies, like individuals with addictions and other problems, sooner or later hit bottom. America is just about there.

Out of hitting bottom can come renewed rationality and a desire to live — or simply collapse. Perhaps in our lifetimes, we’ll see one or the other of these two emerge.

There is no freedom without economic freedom. When you take away people’s ability to earn (and keep) their money, you take away their choices. It’s beyond foolish to think, “We can have freedom of speech and freedom of sexual reproduction, but curtail freedom of economics.”

As one goes, the other must go with it. Americans have to wake up to this before it’s too late. It’s not enough to be angry at both parties, and express disgust. You have to know why they’re worthy of such disgust — and be prepared to completely reverse course.

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at:

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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