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April 2017 Policy Study, Number 17-8

   

A Commentary on American Public Policy

   

Part 11

   

 

To this point in these essays, I have chosen to rely on the writings, proclamations, and actions of our Founding Fathers when it came to the religious/spiritual aspects of the topics being discussed.  (You may have to seek out some of the older history books to find this information because the history texts of this present period have pretty well “cleansed” this information from between their covers.)  My intent was to provide the reader with a feel for the leanings of our Founders in these matters, not to try to educate the reader in matters religious or spiritual.  It still is not my intent to try to do the latter, but this next section will contain some of my personal observations on our social welfare policies with regard to the religious/spiritual realm.  If the reader is not inclined to be concerned with these matters, he may wish to skip ahead to the line that says, “Continue here.”

 

We have come to what I consider to be the most serious objection there can be to social welfare policy as it is currently implemented by government.  It has been repeatedly mentioned that dependence on government inevitably leads us into subservience to government and eventual domination by government.  We have been speaking of the physical condition of servitude, serfdom, or slavery, take your pick.  This physical condition is necessarily restricted to the governance of your temporal body and its behavior by government.  When we normally analyze this condition, this is about as deeply as we ever think about it.  But I have come to believe there is more.

 

In our system of social welfare, we are led to believe that we, as individuals, are entitled (read “have a right”) to an arbitrarily set standard of living.  We need not earn our keep by the sweat of our brow.  This standard of living (read “outcome”) is predetermined and guaranteed by government.  The major qualifications for the acquisition of the benefits of this standard of living are to manage to have been born and to manage to reside within this nation.  The liabilities incurred by the recipient in return for these benefits are seemingly small; but this is deceptive.

 

The true liability includes not only the hoops through which the beneficiary is made to jump and the mode of behavior to which he is made to subscribe, both of which are obvious if he would but open his eyes, but also something that is not so readily apparent.  That is, that eventually the reliance upon government becomes so complete that the recipient no longer feels the need to rely upon his Creator for anything.  The recipient sells his immortal soul for the proverbial bowl of pottage, temporal gain.

 

Government has become the present-day golden calf.  The recipient falsely perceives that he is relieved of the need for neighbors, religion, and even the Almighty Himself.  The government is his salvation.  With reliance upon the Almighty seemingly unnecessary, he no longer feels any need to comport himself to “the laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.”  He need only worship at the altar of government and public policy, which have not proven themselves to be a very suitable substitute.  We see the results of this change in allegiance all around us every day.

 

Please do not be content to believe that this happens only to those who are “poor.”  It can happen to anyone, even the wealthiest, who has become addicted to government largesse (whether in the form of direct assets or congenial public policy), or who has come to believe that government is “the answer” to our earthly problems.  “It just ain’t so.”  And, “There is no one more enslaved than he who is unaware of his chains.”  (I do not know to whom to attribute this last statement.)

 

Continue here.  But what, in the final analysis, is the definitive condition of slavery?  What follows is only my personal opinion on the matter.  It would seem to me that there are two sets of circumstances that would institute the condition of slavery.  The first is in the realm of the physical; the second is a condition of the mind and soul.

 

The first is the person who is brought into subservience to another man, or government, through the use of threat, duress, or coercion — in other words, through the use of brute force.  In this situation, the victim is not able to physically withstand the physical application of power by the oppressor.  The fruit of his labor, and indeed his very behavior and possibly his life, are at all times in the control of the oppressor to command as best suits him.  Nothing remains in the control of the victim.  The fruit of the labor of the victim goes first to the oppressor, and then only that which is necessary to keep the victim somewhat productive or that which may strike the oppressor’s fancy is “given back over” to the victim.  We are all familiar with this condition of slavery as it was exemplified in an earlier age in this very nation.  It is important to note that this condition of slavery cannot long continue in existence of its own accord.  The prerequisite to its continuance is at least the tacit acquiescence of society and the active participation of government in enforcing the condition.

 

To my mind, the victim of whom we are speaking is as much a prisoner as he is a slave.  By way of explanation, consider a trustee in a prison system.  Said trustee is oftentimes sent to work outside the prison walls, sometimes without the observance of an armed guard or maybe even without direct supervision.  It is the threat of the use of future power in the form of additional punishment that coerces the trustee to behave appropriately and to return to within the prison walls at the appointed time.  We intuitively understand that this trustee has lost both the ability to decide what his immediate behavior shall be and the control of the use of the fruit of his labor, but we do not consider him a slave.  Although he is in chains, he is, after all, a prisoner.

 

The second circumstance that institutes the condition of slavery is much subtler and less tangible, so much so that it tends to be overlooked by a very large portion of us.  Where the former condition of slavery rested upon the basis of retribution to reinforce the notion of subjugation for the victim and domination by the oppressor, the second condition of slavery rests upon a combination of two things:  the unwariness of the victim and the victim’s innate craving for a “commodity” we all desire, whether victim or not.  The object for which we yearn is security, guaranteed personal security.  Strictly speaking, security is not a commodity at all, and it is when we begin thinking and treating it as such that we begin to set a course for troubled waters.  When we try to purchase security, the price is high and the risks incurred with the purchase are great.

 

Consider the history of mercenary armies.  Many times throughout history, nations have tried to purchase their security through the use of mercenary armies to fight their battles for them.  The cost to procure these mercenary services is high.  The quality of the service is generally less than hoped for.  After all, who really wants to fight your battle for you and possibly die in your stead, even if it is for a great deal of profit?  And in the end, these mercenary armies often turn on those by whom they were hired and swallow them up.  The phenomenon is as true for the individual as it is for nations.  It costs a great deal to hire others to perform for remuneration a duty you do not wish to perform for yourself because it would be a good bet that they really don’t want to do your dirty work for you.  But for a price, they will, though the quality of the final product may be less than hoped for.

 

   

 

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