Government Safety Nets

Gary North writes on today about the modern perception of government as our safety net, our back-up plan, if you will, should anything really serious go wrong.

The problem with this situation is twofold (that’s a huge understatement, of course, but bear with me): first, this concept of government as safety net is grossly abused by government itself, used as a tool for blatant and unwarranted expansion — expansion which is unjust even if a majority of voters want it to occur.  North explains:

This faith in safety nets has sustained men’s faith in the expansion of central governments all over the world. Voters have called for guaranteed retirement and guaranteed medical care for the aged. Now this is about to be extended in America to the poor through a system of national health insurance. The voters are supportive.

The second major problem is the horrific misallocation of trust which takes place when government is viewed in this benevolent, paternal manner:

For two thousand years, Western man had faith in God, in private charities, in local churches, and above all the family to provide safety nets. But he has steadily surrendered his faith in all of these in favor of the state. The state is seen as a healer. It is seen as the provider of reliable safety nets.

Government may arguably be a necessary evil, but it is still an evil.  Randolph Bourne observed that “War is the health of the state.”  This hardly seems like the sort of organization we would want caring for our elderly, healing our sick, and educating our children….right?

Read more here.

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