Rise up, anti-interventionists!
Barack Obama may be the best president we’ve ever had. He’s got conservatives criticizing the surveillance state. He’s got liberals wondering what happened to civil liberties and peace.
Mistrust of government is growing and Obama is primarily responsible. Mistrust of government is privately universal because it is deserved. But in the public sphere, trust in government is tolerated because we are all addicted to this despicable tool of theft. As Bastiat said, “Government is the great fiction through which everyone endeavors to live at the expense of everyone else.”
Because we are so widely dependent on this great fiction, little mention is made of an alternative. In recent election cycles it was mentioned, but in a way that categorized it in a combative realm that didn’t allow further discussion. This place was interventionism as opposed to isolationism and was linked to patriotism as opposed to anti-Americanism. That’s a lot of isms but bear with me.
Intervention is the culprit in every aspect of government failure. A recent Des Moines Register article had an ISU professor stating the food stamp program has been “effective.” This is a perfect example of Jan Mickelson’s description of an uncivilized society; short term results at the expense of future security. This ISU professor, paid with my tax money, legitimizes this program as effective. But the long term effects are a broad acceptance of theft as a new moral standard.
For example, when I shared a big house with several people in Oakland, California. A couple moved in from Boston whose employment was basically gaming the government trough. They even had a way of losing their food stamps, reporting them stolen and being issued more.
To take my argument further, there should be no public colleges. That would solve the problem of idiot professors paid by people who disagree with them. This may seem like a radical concept but the situation we deal with today is the radical one. Public colleges are just a part of a huge network of corporate welfare. And it can be rightfully called interventionism. This interventionism skews the labor market by spreading the cost of training to taxpayers instead of having that cost reflected in a simple business decision. This results in jobs that needn’t be done and products that never should have been produced. We have a society full of stuff nobody needs.
In another editorial, The Farm Bill was touted as beneficial because it provided nutrition to under privileged families and funds for crop disasters. My folks are dead now and along with them is the idea they taught: Money doesn’t grow on trees.
Vladimir Lenin said, “A lie told often enough becomes the truth.” Apparently the truth ignored long enough can cease to exist. The intervention that saves the under privileged from hunger or the farmer from drought also deters the businessman from investing in new machinery or new employees. Once again from Bastiat, the seen is beneficial to some but the unseen has a larger impact in the long run.
In the realm of the elections non-interventionism was used in the context of foreign policy. Conservatives consistently called it isolationism, as a slur. But with Obama in the driver’s seat, conservatives are starting to see empire for what it is; a spending free-for-all that is draining our productive capacity and making us less safe and less free.
Politicians see interventionism as wrong for others but alright in their own constituencies. So they tolerate their comrades’ bribery to protect their own.
I can’t imagine anyone defending the First Family spending one hundred million dollars on an African vacation. Even though this is a tiny fraction of the waste produced by empire, farm bills or silly regulations, maybe it will put a burr under the saddles of the people who eventually see it as their money and not Obama’s. Maybe it will make people realize that government is full of people who don’t qualify for jobs in the private sector so they should have no power to intervene in any part of our lives unless we are causing harm to others.
Limited government is the friend of liberals and conservatives alike. A coalition of anti-interventionists would be a beautiful thing. But there are too many snouts in the trough, on either side.
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