When you guarantee success and when everyone gets a trophy just for showing up few will strive to do more than is required.
The most insidious result that central-planning and the overabundance of government control that it requires is not the maladjustments that it inevitably creates in the economy. It is not the crony capitalism and bureaucratic nepotism that it always fosters. It is not the smothering blanket of nanny-state regulations that strangle creativity. It is not even the tendency to one-party rule even when camouflaged behind a two party system that is in reality two heads of the same bird of prey. It is not a system which may actually contain only two parties if you believe there is the government party and the country party.
No none of these missteps on the way to an illusionary utopia are the most insidious result of any system no matter what it is called that is some variation on the socialist theme of “From each according to their ability and to each according to their need.” Instead the most insidious result of the effort by some to control all is a change in the character of the people.
When government regulation becomes an all-embracing web of minutia that requires lawyers, accountants, and other translators of government-speak to comprehend, when safety-nets become hammocks, and when the do-gooders believe that they know what is best for everyone reaches a tipping point people begin to expect others to do for them what they used to do for themselves. A nation of self-reliant, go-getters can be changed into a sea of slugs on the dole constantly crying and voting for more.
The descendants of the pilgrims and the pioneers are content to wait for their government check and their food stamps as long as there is a game on their flat screen and minutes left on their obamaphone. Militant apathy has ossified the sinews of a once great people. So many people don’t care about anything beyond their creature comforts, the most basic of which are guaranteed, that the will to succeed has been squashed.
When you guarantee success and everyone gets a trophy just for showing up few will strive to do more than is required. When success is punished by the ridicule of the media and the inequality of government policies such as a progressive income tax that says, “The more you make the more we take” few will strive to do more than is required. When college entrance quotas and set-asides say, “We don’t seek the best and the brightest we look at race and gender to pick the winners and losers” few will strive to do more than is required. When government subsidies and tax-breaks say, “If you have connections the government will hold back the crushing reality of the market at tax-payers’ expense” few will strive to do more than is required.
In America today we are surrounded by low-information voters who either don’t pay any attention to affairs beyond their life or who get their news exclusively from the Progressive controlled Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media. Their opinions are scripted for them by the progressive group-think of corporate hacks constantly building a narrative to advance their utopian agenda. If it doesn’t fit it doesn’t print. If they don’t like what you say it will never play. America’s once dynamic free press transformed into a one-sided monologue reciting over and over, “Government knows best.”
Our government controlled and increasingly standardized education system works hard to say as some of my students have; “a ‘D’ is good enough.” Or, “At our school we receive an attendance diploma it just means we were there it don’t mean we learned anything.” Assignments such as I witnessed in a 12th grade Political Science class, “Watch Michael Moore's film, ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ and then write an essay on how many ways Bush lied to trick us into invading Iraq” show indoctrination has in many places swallowed education. Circumstances such as these tend to stifle those who would drive innovation and promote those who are just along for the ride, pass the mediocre while holding back the brilliant.
We have moved from a capitalist system to a mixed economy and now under a president who promised to fundamentally transform America we are lurching into a socialist system in all but name that seeks to ensure equality of result instead of the equal opportunity which has traditionally been the seedbed of America’s meritocracy. We have transitioned from a small limited government, a representative republic that operates on democratic principles into an all-powerful central government that operates through a massive bureaucracy. Executive orders are used to make end-runs around Congress and the Constitution. Unconstitutional and illegal recess appointments are used to avoid the scrutiny of a Senate confirmation. Our borders are for all intents and purposes open like an automatic door at Wal-Mart. Forgetting what Ronald Reagan told us, “A nation without borders is not a nation."
Norman Thomas, an early Socialist candidate for President said, "The American people will never knowingly adopt socialism. But, under the name of ‘liberalism’ they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation, without knowing how it happened." And as Lenin said, “Socialized Medicine is the Keystone to the Arch of the Socialist State.”
Step-by-step we have journeyed from being a people birthed in rebellion against tyranny, a people who founded the world’s first experiment in a government of the people, by the people and for the people. Until a nation founded upon a written constitution which guaranteed limited-government, personal liberty, and economic freedom has become just another failed utopia that is spending itself into oblivion as the band plays, “let the good times roll.”
At a time like this it is good to remember some of the wisdom of those who have gone before:
Noah Webster said, "There is no nation on earth powerful enough to accomplish our overthrow. Our destruction, should it come at all, will be from the inattention of the people to the concerns of their government."
Alexis de Tocqueville said, "The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."
Benjamin Franklin said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money that will herald the end of the republic.”
Barry Goldwater said, "A government that is big enough to give you all you want is big enough to take it all away."
Alexander Tyler said, “A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship”