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State of Mankind - How much do you know?

(42) The Welfare State

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When human beings follow the traditional values established by the divine, God will lead people in the further development of that culture. Having a culture informed by divine inspiration is an important channel for people to connect with the divine. Based on this culture the variety of methods of social organization that is political life is derived.

God gives people free will and the ability to manage their own affairs. People ought to manage themselves through self-discipline, moral conduct, and responsibility for themselves and their families. After studying American politics in the nineteenth century, the French political scientist Alexis de Tocqueville came to a great appreciation for the society. He was impressed with Americans’ ability for introspection, their understanding of evil, their willingness to solve problems with patience, and the general lack of violence in solving social problems. He thought that the greatness of the United States lies in its ability to correct its own mistakes. [12]

What the communist evil specter wants, on the other hand, is totalitarian politics in order to instigate people to oppose tradition and morality, and to block the path for people to incline toward goodness and toward the divine. People in communist countries, however, are transformed from being God’s people to becoming subjects of the devil, all without noticing it. Gradually, they willingly obey the norms that accord with the devil.

In communist countries, the government monopolizes social resources, including the economy, the educational system, and the media. Thus, everything must be carried out by following the instructions of communist party leaders, and their methods of rule are based on lies, evil, and violence. Those who try to follow their conscience and incline toward goodness end up violating the party’s ideology and rules, and are called enemies of the party. They then become the underclass, forced to struggle at the bottom of society, or they simply die.

In free societies, the government is also moving toward authoritarianism, with “big government” coming to control almost everything. One of the characteristics of autocratic politics is a strong central government that plans and directs the economy. At present, Western governments have increasingly strengthened their ability to intervene and control the economy to achieve government plans; they use the instruments of state revenue and expenditures, taxation, and debt financing.

At the same time, their sphere of management has come to encompass beliefs, families, education, the economy, culture, energy and resources, transportation, communications, travel, and more. From the expansion of the central administrative power to local governmental control over the lives of citizens, numerous laws and judgements, the result has been an all-round expansion of governmental power and unprecedented societal control. For instance, the purchase of health insurance is mandatory, lest people be fined. In the name of the public interest, governments can deprive people of their property and personal rights.

A totalitarian government uses “political correctness” as an excuse to deprive people of their freedom of speech and dictate what people can and cannot say. Those who openly denounce sinister policies are dismissed as engaging in “hate speech.” Those who dare to oppose political correctness are marginalized, isolated, in some cases fired, and in extreme instances threatened or attacked.

Using deviated political standards to replace upright moral standards and enforcing them with the power of the law, regulation, and public attacks, creates an atmosphere of social terror and pressure, suppressing people’s free will and the freedom to pursue kindness. This is the essence of totalitarian politics.


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Today, welfare policies have become a universal phenomenon. No matter which country or party, whether conservative or liberal, there is no essential difference. People who have lived in communist countries and come to the West are all impressed with the benefits: free education for children, medical insurance, and care for the elderly. They believe that this is what “real communism” is about.

Isn’t the welfare society of today precisely a communist set of ideas brought into capitalist society? The difference is that it wasn’t done through violent revolution.

The pursuit of a better life is not fault in itself, but there are major problems hidden behind the large welfare states established by governments. There is no free lunch in this world. High levels of welfare are based on forced taxation, and the welfare itself ends up creating problems.

The British jurist Dicey observed:

Now before 1908 the question whether a man, rich or poor, should insure his health, was a matter left entirely to the free discretion or indiscretion of each individual. His conduct no more concerned the State than the question whether he should wear a black coat or a brown coat. … But the National Insurance Act will, in the long run, bring upon the State, that is, upon the taxpayers … unemployment insurance. … It is in fact the admission by the State of its duty to insure a man against the evil ensuing from his having no work. … The National Insurance Act is in accordance with the doctrines of socialism. … [13]

The Nordic model of socialist welfare has been recognized and adopted by many countries. It was once considered a positive example of socialist prosperity to be imitated by the West. Yet in Northern Europe, the ratio of tax rate to GDP is among the highest in the world, with many of the countries’ tax rates hovering at around 50 percent.

Analysts have pointed out that there are six fatal problems with the socialist medical welfare that the government engages in: It is unsustainable, as people want to benefit from free services more than they pay into them. There are no rewards or penalties for performance, and medical industry practitioners don’t assume any legal responsibility for what they do, but get paid no matter how much they work. It causes huge losses to the government: People steal through loopholes, abuse the system, and engage in underground trade. The government decides the life and death of the people through the medical system, and it’s plagued by bureaucracy. [14]

In 2010, a man named Jonas in northern Sweden had to suture his bleeding wounds in an emergency room. He first went to the outpatient clinic, which had closed. He then waited for three hours in the emergency room. The wound was bleeding, but he received no aid. He had no choice but to attempt to treat himself, but this led to him being reported by the hospital staff as having violated the law by possessing hospital equipment without authorization (he had picked up a thread and needle the nurses left out). [15] This is just one instance; the reality is far worse. Because everyone wants free medical care, resources are abused. The clash between limitations on resources and the demand that things be free causes mismatches between supply and demand. The lack of supply means long queues, while those who really need care are harmed by socialized medicine.

It’s not merely a matter of efficiency. The greater danger is that everything a person needs from cradle to grave is arranged by the government. It may seem to be desirable, but in fact, a population’s dependence on the government is the path to an autocratic regime.

As Tocqueville wrote: “If despotism were to be established amongst the democratic nations of our days, it might assume a different character; it would be more extensive and more mild; it would degrade men without tormenting them.” [16] The welfare state is thus best described.

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