I mentioned in a previous post (Lessons not Learned) that our forefathers made the mistake of not understanding that as the state deteriorates so too does the populace. That is not entirely accurate. Our forefathers like Jefferson and Franklin (and others) actually did understand that the system they laid out would only enable a “moral people”, which they miscalculated would be the case. That said, Jefferson worried whether “in the enjoyment of plenty, they (future Americans) would lose the memory of freedom”. This is exactly what Ron Paul has consistently banged on about since the mid 1970’s.
Other community leaders like Rev. C.L. Bryant (creator of a documentary called Runaway Slave), who once presided over a large NAACP chapter now leads a movement to awaken the black community and help them understand that hand outs equal a form of slavery. There are no shackles but there is an absolute sense of being beholden to a master in exchange for their vote, their family unit and much of their freedoms. Rev. Bryant describes that as the trade off that was initiated during LB Johnson’s social agenda of the 1960’s. But the problem is much larger than one demographic. Blacks make up only 13% of the US population yet 55% of Americans are accepting assistance from the government (some of those may rightfully have assistance coming by way of an inherent social contract within each society, but I would argue it is a very small percentage). Today according to the HHS, DOC and CATO Institute there are 38 states that pay a higher equivalent welfare wage than the minimum wage of that state. This disincentivizes a person to work. It is the state saying I will pay you a higher wage not to work but I want your vote. This is devastating the poor class in that minimum wage workers move up the economic scale as they become more productive whereas welfare recipients do not progress economically. This is a large driver of the widening income gap (but that is another discussion). The immorality of character that the forefathers described has become an epidemic in today’s America and is not limited by demographic. There is a form of welfare going to the top of the economic food chain as well. Wealth accumulators consistently purchase specially tailored legislation that directly results in unearned profits. One way this is obvious is that our federal tax code is now more than 75K pages as each special tax must be written into the code. There is no difference between welfare to the poor versus welfare to the wealthy as they both degrade the state.
Politicians realize that people do not like having things taken outright from them, however, people are willing to reasonably trade something for another. We’ve also discussed the main driver in American culture is monetary or an abundance of goods and services. Politicians have taken these two premises and recognized that many Americans will be amenable to trading individual responsibility for money. Another way to say that is some people are willing to trade freedom for ‘free’ money and other goods and services directly.
Healthcare is a perfect example of this social phenomenon in action. Constitutionally healthcare was one of the responsibilities given to the state and it was mandated that the federal government would have no authority or input over healthcare whatsoever. The federal government desperately wants to control healthcare as it will be one of the largest industry sectors over the next 50 years and perhaps longer. The government has a natural inclination toward money and money is larger than life in healthcare these days. Additionally healthcare represents and enormous bargaining chip for votes. The problem for the federal government is how does a central government mandated not to have their hands in healthcare gain control of healthcare? Well going back to our premises above we see that by offering states federal money and individuals ‘free’ services for the ability to step in and take control they could likely get it done (which is exactly how it got done). Now if the constitution truly was the basis of American policy then this could not happen and the conversation would have been short lived. Fortunately for our modern government the American people are willing to trade the freedoms strategically and legally guaranteed by the constitution in exchange for a parental hand that will take care of us in good times and bad. And so here we are with not only a disastrous roll out of an unconstitutional federal healthcare system but an increasing push by many to put total control of healthcare in the hands of a ‘single payer’ system, which is a cute way of saying 100% central government controlled healthcare. This is the antithesis of its constitutional mandate. It is illegal as per the original framework of this nation yet because of promises for unearned goods and services the majority is willing to accept it. This defines immorality.
We have politicians who are hell bent on getting control of one of the wealthiest industry sectors in America and they are doing so by appealing to those who are willing to exchange freedom for ‘free’ money. Healthcare is only one example of the immorality taking over this nation. Both the legislators wooing votes and those willing to trade votes for unearned goods and services are acting immorally from a founding father (and my) point of view. And so it would seem that our founding fathers’ fears are becoming reality. They created a framework to be protected by a “moral” populace. However, they rightfully worried that future generations would, in the enjoyment of material abundance, forget the sacrifices made by so many to ensure each man has the right to an unimpeded pursuit of success. We find ourselves today being led by the shaded character of the immoral many, takers on both ends of the economic continuum who are willing to exchange all citizens’ freedoms for their own individual unearned gains.
It is a natural problem of democracy that is not discussed often because it seems politically incorrect to suggest that the masses could become immoral. But let’s just do another quick thought experiment. How would a democratic society cure itself of a populace and a government that have indeed become corrupted with immorality? What would one do if a nation’s majority turned on its minority and made them working slaves for those majority who did not feel a responsibility to earn one’s own keep? Is there a process to correct such a scenario? It is interesting to me that the US spends so much time and money coercing the rest of the world to defend the rights of all men and women yet here at home we are disincentivising the poor to create their own good fortune and we are facilitating wealth accumulation of a very small elite class. Both being done on the backs of a shrinking group of moral citizens who seem to have very little in the way of political persuasion. The reason is that 85% of America’s wealth is in the top 20% (half of that in the top 5%) and 55% of voters are now taking some form of handout from the government and being promised more each day. The folks in between these two groups have nothing to bargain for legislators’ attentions (they neither represent enough votes nor money). And so I leave the thought experiment with you. How does a democracy cure itself of an immoral government and majority? This is more than an intellectual riddle this is the absolute central question to be solved. The heavy stuff discussed in other posts are generally symptoms of this one central dilemma. Government has systematically worn through the integrity of America. In fact, very little of the original America as a representation of principles and character remain today. It could be considered fraudulent to still call ourselves America as that stood for something that no longer exists as a nation. We are riding the coattails of a nation’s exceptional past like a crazy old junkie uncle who still expects accolades for his record setting high school football days. Who he was then no longer represents who he is today.