The Way Out of the Statist Morass

by Jacob G. Hornberger

Given the seemingly intractable welfare-warfare system that characterizes the United States, it might be tempting for some people to despair and simply give up and surrender to what might appear to be the inevitable — the permanent continuation of our lives as serfs on the welfare-warfare state plantation.

After all, Americans have lived under a welfare state since the 1930s, when President Franklin Roosevelt used the Great Depression as an excuse to revolutionize America’s economic system. That’s was what Social Security was all about — establishing a system where the federal government’s primary function would be to take care of people with money that has been forcibly taken from other people. 

Today, the federal government is viewed as parent or, even worse, a god, one that is charged with taking care of people’s retirement, healthcare, education, food, housing, and other welfare items.

Moreover, since 1947 Americans have lived under a national-security state form of governmental structure, one in which the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA wield omnipotent, totalitarian-like powers, such as assassination, torture, indefinite detention, secret surveillance, coups, alliances with doctoral regimes and criminal organizations, denial of due process, denial of trial by jury, and more. Because the United States was supposedly confronted by an international communist conspiracy to take over the world that was supposedly based in Moscow, Russia, the notion was that the United States had no choice but to become a national-security state to protect America from going Red. 

Today, the Cold War’s war-on-communism racket has been replaced by the war-on-terrorism racket. Despite losing a 20-year-long war in Afghanistan, U.S. troops, serving as deadly and destructive world policemen, are still stationed in the Middle East and other parts of the world killing and injuring people, impoverishing people, and destroying property. Moreover, the national-security establishment, bolstered by its assets in the mainstream press, has succeeded in converting two of its old Cold War opponents — China and Russia — into renewed official enemies, both of whom are supposedly coming to get us again.

Today, there is hardly any aspect of federal life that is not mired in crisis or chaos. Federal spending and debt to finance all this welfare and warfare are totally out of control. To pay off the debt and to enable the feds to spend more than what they’re bringing in with taxation, the Federal Reserve is printing money like there was no tomorrow. Its inflation of the money supply is now being reflected by soaring prices across the board. 

We have a massive healthcare crisis, reflected by Medicare, Medicaid, Obamacare, and COVID. 

We also have a decades-long, perpetual immigration crisis, accompanied by an immigration police state along the border — all because of America’s statist system of immigration controls.

Given the death and destruction that continue to be inflicted by U.S. troops and the CIA around the world, there is still an ongoing terrorism crisis. 

Let’s not forget the decades-long drug-war crisis, which has brought nothing but violence, corruption, and failure.

If there were no way out of this statist morass, there would be good reason for people to despair and lament and think about giving up and surrendering. If that were the case, it might be understandable why companies who sold cyanide capsules would be prospering.

But the fact is that there is a way out of this statist morass. That way is libertarianism, the most noble and glorious political and economic philosophy ever devised by man. Libertarianism is able to bring an end to all of these statist crises and all this statist-induced chaos. 

What would a libertarian society look like? 

It would be a society in which people would be free to keep everything they earn and decide for themselves what to do with it. No more mandatory charity. No more Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, public schooling, public housing, or any other type of government-provided welfare. All charity would be voluntary.

No more government control or regulation of economic enterprise. Enterprise would be entirely free of governmental control and regulation.

No more drug laws. 

No more government involvement with healthcare whatsoever. No more Centers for Disease Control.

No more national-security state, including the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA. No more state-sponsored assassinations, torture, indefinite detention, denial of due process, denial of trial by jury, and other totalitarian-like measures. America’s founding governmental system of a limited government republic, with relatively small military force, would be restored.

No more foreign interventionism, foreign aid, and foreign wars. 

No more Federal Reserve. No more legal-tender laws. No more fiat (paper) money. Instead, a free-market monetary system would be implemented.

No more federal income tax and IRS.

Radical? You bet! But liberty — genuine liberty — is a radical idea. What matters is that there is a way out of the statist morass in which we are mired. It’s really just a question of whether we can achieve a critical mass of Americans who are passionately committed to living in a genuinely free, prosperous, peaceful, and harmonious society.

The Wisdom of Ayn Rand on Statism

The political expression of altruism is collectivism or statism, which holds that man’s life and work belong to the state—to society, to the group, the gang, the race, the nation—and that the state may dispose of him in any way it pleases for the sake of whatever it deems to be its own tribal, collective good.

A statist system—whether of a communist, fascist, Nazi, socialist or “welfare” type—is based on the . . . government’s unlimited power, which means: on the rule of brute force. The differences among statist systems are only a matter of time and degree; the principle is the same. Under statism, the government is not a policeman, but a legalized criminal that holds the power to use physical force in any manner and for any purpose it pleases against legally disarmed, defenseless victims.

Nothing can ever justify so monstrously evil a theory. Nothing can justify the horror, the brutality, the plunder, the destruction, the starvation, the slave-labor camps, the torture chambers, the wholesale slaughter of statist dictatorships.

Government control of a country’s economy—any kind or degree of such control, by any group, for any purpose whatsoever—rests on the basic principle of statism, the principle that man’s life belongs to the state.

A statist is a man who believes that some men have the right to force, coerce, enslave, rob, and murder others. To be put into practice, this belief has to be implemented by the political doctrine that the government—the state—has the right to initiate the use of physical force against its citizens. How often force is to be used, against whom, to what extent, for what purpose and for whose benefit, are irrelevant questions. The basic principle and the ultimate results of all statist doctrines are the same: dictatorship and destruction. The rest is only a matter of time.

he ideological root of statism (or collectivism) is the tribal premise of primordial savages who, unable to conceive of individual rights, believed that the tribe is a supreme, omnipotent ruler, that it owns the lives of its members and may sacrifice them whenever it pleases to whatever it deems to be its own “good.” Unable to conceive of any social principles, save the rule of brute force, they believed that the tribe’s wishes are limited only by its physical power and that other tribes are its natural prey, to be conquered, looted, enslaved, or annihilated. The history of all primitive peoples is a succession of tribal wars and intertribal slaughter. That this savage ideology now rules nations armed with nuclear weapons, should give pause to anyone concerned with mankind’s survival.

Statism is a system of institutionalized violence and perpetual civil war. It leaves men no choice but to fight to seize political power—to rob or be robbed, to kill or be killed. When brute force is the only criterion of social conduct, and unresisting surrender to destruction is the only alternative, even the lowest of men, even an animal—even a cornered rat—will fight. There can be no peace within an enslaved nation.

To be continued–A/D