Why Government is the Problem–the American Experiment has Failed

by Wallace Garneau | Mar 31, 2023 | LifestylePolitics

Milton Friedman wrote, in his 1993 book, Why Government Is the Problem, “The major social problems of the United States – deteriorating education, lawlessness and crime, homelessness, the collapse of family values, the crisis in medical care – have been produced by well-intended actions of government. That is easy to document. The difficult task is understanding why government is the problem.

The power of special interests arising from the concentrated benefits of most government actions and their dispersed costs is only part of the answer. A more fundamental part is the difference between the self-interest of individuals when they are engaged in the private sector and the self-interest of the same individuals when they are engaged in the government sector. The result is a government system that is no longer controlled by “we, the people.” Instead of Lincoln’s government “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” we now have a government “of the people, by the bureaucrats, for the bureaucrats,” including the elected representatives who have become bureaucrats.”

Friedman was 100% spot on, but I’m not convinced it matters anymore. Allow me to make a brief argument in favor of tyranny.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal poll, the percentage of Americans for whom religion is an important part of their lives has dropped over the past 25 years from 70% to 39%, and the percentage of Americans for whom patriotism is an important part of their lives has dropped from 70% to 38%.

When Milton Friedman wrote that paragraph, this was a religious and moral country of patriots who were willing to die to preserve our values and our way of life. Today we are a country of amoral narcissists who do not believe our nation to be worthy of defending, and who think our values and our way of life are the primary source of evil on the world stage.

When Milton Friedman wrote Why Government Is the Problem, we were a people who both wanted and deserved liberty. Now we are a nation that neither wants nor deserves liberty.

I’m all for the 2nd Amendment in a country of moral people, but ask yourself this: do you really want 330 million amoral narcissists to have guns?

The way we are headed, we’re going to have to give up our guns, as that will be the only way to prevent us from ripping one another to shreds.

Will Durant wrote that a civilization needs two of three things to survive: a shared culture, a shared religion, and a shared language, and even to the degree that we still have English as a common language, we have competing definitions for words like “Fascism,” “Racism,” such that everyone can be called ‘evil’ based on one of the definitions commonly in use.

We are at the end of the road. If we cannot turn this thing around, we will either need a government that has the power to control us, or we will tear our nation apart. We have no shared culture, no shared religion, no shared moral values, and increasingly no shared language. We have nothing to base a nation around.

Take ‘Racism’ as an example. In 1992, we all agreed that ‘racism’ was ‘The belief that there are differences between races that render some people better or worse than others, based on race.” Many of us still use that definition, but the political left defines racism as “prejudice + power,” and goes on to say that we all have at least subconscious biases, making prejudice a given. That means racism = power. To the left, white people are in power, therefore, white people are racist, by definition, and nobody else even can be.

The left’s definition of the word ‘racism’ is racist, making anyone who is not a racist based on the real definition of the word, a racist based on the left’s definition. This is true even as we all agree racism is evil, which means that the left thinks the right is evil, and the right thinks the left is evil.

Fascism is another great example. Giovanni Gentile (the philosopher who invented it) defined it as a nationalist system in which the means of production are privately owned but publicly controlled. Today’s political left doesn’t bother defining ‘fascism’ so much as listing ‘characteristics of fascism’ that are cherry-picked to make conservatives fascist. It’s as if they think Hitler was a libertarian or something, which is, of course, absurd. If you remove the racism from the Nazi platform Hitler ran on before taking power, it’s indistinguishable from that of Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden.

And it’s not just those two words. Postmodernists don’t really believe in definitions, making the left perfectly free to focus solely on connotation (how words ‘feel’) with no regard to denotation (what words mean). It’s as Bill Clinton said when asked if he’d lied to Congress about having had sex with Monica Lewinski in the Oval Office: “It depends on what the definition of the word ‘is’ is.”

I’m sorry, but ‘it’ is not a difficult word to define. For those who are curious, the American Heritage Dictionary (1985) uses this definition: “The third person singular present tense of ‘be.’” If we can’t even agree on the definition of the word ‘is,’ we’re done. We’ve destroyed our language to the point that we cannot functionally communicate anymore.

And that is the whole point of postmodernism. Postmodernism can only destroy – it cannot build. Postmodernism exists to destroy Western Society from the inside out, and by the time anyone really noticed, the postmodernists had already won.

Milton Friedman was correct, but we did not listen to him. Instead, we played stupid games (As Ben Shapiro likes to say), and now we will get our stupid prizes.

John Adams very famously wrote, “While our Country remains untainted with the Principles and manners, which are now producing desolation in so many Parts of the World: while she continues Sincere and incapable of insidious and impious Policy: We shall have the Strongest Reason to rejoice in the local destination assigned Us by Providence. But should the People of America, once become capable of that deep simulation towards one another and towards foreign nations, which assumes the Language of Justice and moderation while it is practicing Inequity and Extravagance; and displays in the most captivating manner the charming Pictures of Candour frankness & sincerity while it is rioting in rapine and Insolence: this Country will be the most miserable Habitation in the World. Because We have no Government armed with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion. Avarice, Ambition, and Revenge, or Gallantry, would break the strongest Cords of our Constitution as a Whale goes through a Net. Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any Other.”

Look back at those poll numbers. We are not “a moral and religious people” anymore. We’ve collectively given morality up over the past 25 years. As a consequence, our Constitution is ‘wholly inadequate’ for our governance, and we need a government “with Power capable of contending with human Passions unbridled by morality and Religion.”

We talk as if voting Democratic or Republican are real options. They are not. Our options are far more basic and far less optimistic than that:

  1. Restore America’s founding values by force,
  2. Tyranny, or
  3. Civil war.

If you vote Democrat, while you might not want option 2, that’s what you are going to get. Whether it’ll look like Mao’s China, Stalin’s Soviet Union, Franco’s Spain, or some combination of those things, is an open question. All are tyrannies, so I don’t know that it really matters which way we go, though I suppose communism is the worst of the bunch to live under.

Note, too, that many of us do not need to worry about which system we will live under, as we are regulating away our ability to make food such that we can have a more ‘equitable’ system. Who will suffer the most from that? Poor countries: Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The political left is going to kill off most of the world’s People of Color, and they are going to do it in the name of ‘equity.’

I hope to have the moral courage not to live to see that.

If you vote Republican, you might still get option 2. Many Republicans are corrupt and are happy to ‘go along to get along,’ provided they personally benefit from their positions in government (this is true of many Democrats too). Statesmen are few and far between.

Even if we are lucky enough to put a lot of people working toward option 1 into office, we may well have to go through option 3 to get there. The real question is whether or not we have enough patriots left to fight a civil war to prevent tyranny in a country whose intelligence apparatus has the ability to take organizations down faster than they can be formed.

We conservatives are hamstrung. Since we believe in the Constitution and in a country of laws, we tend to also follow the law. The modern left has no such constraints, viewing the law as nothing more than a set of weapons to leverage against their political opponents. The Biden Administration held around 1,000 Americans in solitary confinement for a year only to then charge them with trespassing, and is now rounding up another 1,000 Americans to do the same thing again. Are we a free country when our President keeps people in solitary confinement for a year only to charge them with a misdemeanor?!?

The same government then refuses to lock up those on the political left who burn down cities, invade the White House grounds (forcing the President into the White House Bunker), storm the floor of the Senate (to shut down Supreme Court nomination hearings), and the like. District Attorneys around the country refuse to prosecute actual crimes, while simultaneously locking up political opponents on pretense alone.

We are a banana republic, and according to polls, most of us want that.

The left is willing to get violent to effect change. Are we? The left is willing to weaponize the law for political purposes. Are we?

The left is only too happy to destroy our country. Are we willing to take it back?

We don’t need Ronald Reagan. We need Augusto Pinochet.

1 thought on “Why Government is the Problem–the American Experiment has Failed

  1. Pingback: Why Government is the Problem–the American Experiment has Failed — THE ARTFUL DILETTANTE | Vermont Folk Troth

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