Wrath to Come
The end of the welfare state is at hand!
Oh, don’t get your hopes too high; one folly is often replaced by another. But don’t despair either; the destruction of folly may be the beginning of wisdom.
To see why the welfare state’s life expectancy is better measured in years than in decades, recall the old stories about Gold Rush days. Recall the prospector who strikes it rich, and comes to town with a fat, heavy poke of gold dust, and a yearning to party.
Everyone is that prospector’s friend! Beautiful women fawn over him. He is welcome everywhere, invited to parties, and showered with praise.
Until his poke is empty. Then his new “friends” vanish. He is lucky if they don’t spit on him as they leave. He has committed the moral error of buying love, with the inevitable result of surrounding himself with thieves and whores rather than friends.
Welfare statists have committed the same error (it is called “buying votes”) with the same result. And now their poke is empty!
The welfare state kept the handouts flowing for decades by borrowing on an almost cosmic scale. Compound interest is a powerful friend, but a deadly enemy—and the welfare state is on its bad side. Government debt has ballooned to the point where even the most cynical lenders are beginning to wonder whether they will ever be repaid.
Higher taxes are out of the question. With 42% of Canadians willing to tell a stranger on the telephone that they evade taxes, and fully 77% saying that they intend to evade taxes in future, raising taxes would reduce government revenue.1. It has been reported that revenue from the Goods and Services Tax has fallen in recent months. A sign of the times!
Inflation is out of the question. A whole generation learned to defend themselves against it during the 70s. They learned the merits of gold and foreign currencies. At the first sign of vigorous money-printing, the currency would tank, interest rates would soar, the economy would rupture—and the government would be worse off than ever.
The poke is empty!
The thieves and whores are about to desert the welfare state.
But there is a big difference between the thieves and whores of the Gold Rush, and those of the welfare state: the old ones knew what they were!
The welfare state’s parasites believe that they are paragons of moral perfection. They believe that by voting for handouts they are building a wonderful new society. They believe that the way to create a rosy future for all mankind is to relax and let government take care of them. They believe that government handouts will always be there for them.
They sneer at those who save and invest, building wealth to educate their children and to take care of themselves in illness, old age or adversity. They regard savers as fossils: greedy, capitalistic, selfish relics of the despicable bygone age of laissez-faire.
But now it is clear that government handouts will not always be there. The parasites will have to fend for themselves, and they have never learned to do that. They are not going to like it one bit.
Their wrath will be formidable! It will combine the guilty, “I shoulda known better.” feeling of the sucker with the righteous indignation of the affronted moralist—spiced with the despairing rage of one who is learning that he has wasted decades of his life!
Against whom will they aim this wrath? In justice, they should aim it at the cause of their plight—those who sold them the lie that government could take care of them.
Oddly enough that seems to be the case. Observe the fate of Ontario’s Bob Rae, welfare statist extraordinaire. When he was forced by circumstance to make a few little gestures in the direction of economy, his supporters turned on him, and chewed him to dog meat!
On the other hand, observe Ralph Klein in Alberta. His stated policy was to cut government, and he did. His popularity rose! His supporters were not fickle hangers-on of the welfare state.
On the evidence, it’s not spending cuts that lead to political ruin—it’s spending cuts by leftists that lead to political ruin!
But cuts will be made. If leftists cut, they will be abandoned and vilified by their supporters. If rightists cut, they will reap eager help and delighted praise from their supporters. This bodes ill for the welfare state, and very ill indeed for its parasites. Cheer for it!
But don’t scorn those whose only sin was to believe their politicians, preachers, teachers, or parents. It would be neighborly to warn them what to expect in the next few years. Those who are slow to catch on may land in a world of pain.
Which programs will be cut, and how much? Nobody knows, not even those who will do the cutting. As in all political action, details of the cuts will be essentially random and unpredictable.
Will minor surgery be excluded from Medicare? Maybe. Will your Canada Pension be big enough to buy you a night out in alternate months? Perhaps. Will the public schools start charging “token” fees of a few hundred dollars per child? It could happen.
Will a government handout be there if you need it? I don’t know, and neither do you!
But we all know that those who don’t need government handouts won’t have to worry about it. It would be a really good idea to make yourself one of them! (How? See Quackgrass Press #15: Be prepared!)
Buying votes with handouts is disastrous strategy, but it was a successful tactic while the money lasted. Why?
Obviously, because it uses the motive of self-interest. It uses it fraudulently, but it uses it. Self interest is a potent motive.2.
Now citizens should learn that their self interest lies with capitalism, a system based on universal self-interest. The destruction of welfare state folly can be a beginning of capitalist wisdom. As the fog of delusion disperses from one mind after another, the drive toward capitalism. will accelerate.
You see, capitalism is based on self interest, so capitalism has everyone’s self interest on its side.
You needn’t despair at men’s dependence on handouts—you can become a Quackgrass activist! Copy this article! Keep the original for future copies. Paper meetings with it! Paper your office! Leave a stack on your business counter! If you expect hostility, use stealth and cunning—it’ll drive your opponents wild! Be ingenious! Have fun!
Michael Miller is an engineer and Objectivist philosopher with thirty years of experience. He had been a member of Boycott Alberta Medicare in 1969 and of the Association to Defend Property Rights from 1973 on. He writes in-depth philosophical theory at his publication, Quackgrass Press, which can be accessed at http://www.quackgrass.com.
Statement of Policy.
Learn about Mr. Stolyarov's novel, Eden against the Colossus, here.