|None of the promises government has made to you will be honored, including, healthcare, Social Security, defense and a stable currency.|
Seventy-Five Years and Counting
By: George Noga – March 18, 2018
Today, on my 75th birthday, I take the liberty to share what I have learned in three-quarters of a century about human nature and the relationship of man and the state. This comes hard on the heels of jeremiads wherein I asserted capitalism is self-destructing and that America has crossed the point of no return in the debt crisis.
Government is evil. Some government is needed to avoid an even greater evil: anarchy. Because government is evil, it stands to reason we want as little of it as possible. Our founders understood the key is to limit its power; but the trend always is for government to gain and for liberty to yield. Government has ballooned from 5% of GDP in the early years of the republic to nearly 40% today – and rising rapidly.
Government can’t be reformed because its evil is inherent. Waste, fraud, abuse and corruption are endemic; any attempts at control or reform are futile. The evil spawned by government is directly proportional to its funding; hence, the only way to reduce the evil is to reduce the funding; nothing else works. Power corrupts; even neighborhood homeowners’ associations quickly transmogrify into power-hungry wannabe dictators.
Politicians respond to personal incentives. Public choice economics explains why elected officials don’t care what you want – except to get elected. Government (and socialism) fails because there is an unbridgeable chasm between self-interest (human nature) and the public interest. This is unlike business, which does a good job aligning personal and corporate risks, rewards and incentives. Everything politicians say and do is to further their own interests which, most of the time, are contrary to your interests.
People are incapable of sacrifice absent serious and present danger. We refuse to act even to stave off a clear and inevitable disaster unless it is manifest in our daily lives. A good example is the present debt crisis which, as demonstrated in these posts, will inflict unspeakable horrors on America; however, the crisis likely is still years away and there is not yet any discernible impact on our daily lives.
We have lost the connection between capitalism and our liberty and prosperity. America has become so rich and the wealth is spread so broadly, we are disconnected from what created the wealth in the first place. That is why polls show us so enamored with socialism. I recently read John Steinbeck’s book, “In Search of America”, wherein he prophetically observed: “We (Americans) can stand anything God and Nature throw at us save only plenty. If I wanted to destroy a nation, I would give it too much.”
Americans are losing touch with reality. We spend more and more time transfixed by our devices in the virtual world rather than connecting in the real world. We confuse junk science with actual science, fake news with real news and political fantasy with reality. We are suffering mass delusions about, inter alia, anthropogenic climate change, GMOs, organic food and fascism. Our lassitude conflates identity politics with existential threats – we glom on to the ephemeral while ignoring the consequential. Our politics appeals to people’s prejudices, passions, jealousies and apprehensions.
In the end, I always harken back to the eternal lesson of Kipling’s Gods of the Copybook Headings; i.e. we ignore the hard-learned wisdom (copybook headings) of the ages at our great peril. Human nature is unchanged since we were living in trees; and just as water surely will wet us and fire will burn, the gods of the copybook headings, with terror and slaughter, will return!
Above all, I learned what America needs is more liberty and less government!
Our next post takes on business ethics and political correctness.