The violence keeps coming, and it doesn’t become any less tragic. The Boston bombing is the latest example.
What’s tiresome is the same question over and over again: Why?
It’s really not all that difficult to answer. Violence has been a part of most societies. It has been the norm throughout human history, in fact. America was different, although that’s starting to change. There has always been some violence in America, of course, but what’s changing is that it’s now becoming the norm.
And it makes logical sense. Americans are becoming a society of people who rely more and more on force. Yes, force.
When you demand that your representatives provide you with goods and services paid for by others — or through debt and inflation, merely a different way of making others pay — then you are guilty of initiating force. It’s no different than if you held a gun to somebody’s head and you said, “Give me half of your bank account. I’ve got college loans and a car payment to make.” Quite frankly, the “civilized” and legalized form of force is morally worse than the criminal (as vile as terrorist violence is). At least the criminal drops the pretense.
Consider what’s actually happening to America, gradually but decisively … and the chickens are coming home to roost. A study by the Tax Foundation reports that 60 Percent of American households now receive more in government transfer-of-wealth income than they pay in taxes. A majority of Americans are now counting on the force of government to bring them rewards and benefits far beyond what most of them have ever paid, or ever will pay, in taxes.
Incidentally, Social Security and Medicare are not “savings” accounts. If they were, their return on investment would be dismal. They actually involve transfers of wealth from the present, working-age population to the retired, or the increasing numbers the federal government deems disabled. The payroll taxes of people in their 30s and younger have virtually no chance of returning to the people who presently pay them. The same is probably true for people in their 40s and 50s currently paying payroll taxes. The only answer the government has to the crisis looming over these programs is to borrow still more, inflate the currency still further, and raise taxes (thereby restraining economic growth) still further.
More evidence: In 2012, 19 percent of the budget, or $689 billion, paid for defense and security-related international activities. This is according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. If anyone thinks that most of the federal government is spent on national defense — the only real function of the federal government mandated by the Constitution — they would be mistaken. Eighty percent of the federal government involves transfers of wealth, of one form or another: From Americans to foreign citizens (actually, foreign governments); from some Americans to other Americans; from some corporations and businesses to others; from private sector employees to government employees, etc.
It all seems so civilized, doesn’t it? But each and every act of government is an act of force. And there’s more force going on than ever before. It’s not only wealth redistribution. It’s the regulation and micromanagement of virtually everything that goes on in society.
And don’t kid yourself that it’s democratic and therefore valid. A majority can be wrong — and a majority often are wrong, about a lot of things. It’s a rationalization of almost inconceivable magnitude to claim that just because everyone else is doing it, that makes it right. It’s also self-defeating. As more and more Americans decide to let the “government” take care of them, and give them their “due,” there are fewer and fewer people to provide the loot. How can this all possibly end?
Stop shunning facts. It’s force. When a society becomes mostly organized around force, however civilized it might be masked by our officials, it’s little wonder that any sense of civility and order goes out the window. The practice of force by the law-abiding fuels criminals — whether they are homegrown or foreign — by sending them the message, “Everyone else is doing it. So all bets are off.” It makes criminal behavior more outrageous and more prevalent all the time, because there are no standards any longer — other than pretense and hypocrisy, qualities embodied more by our present leaders than we’ve ever yet seen in this nation.
This is the analysis I promise you won’t hear after the most recent tragedy, or the next one, or the one after that. If a foreign terrorist bombs us, then “It’s our own fault — for being too arrogant.” If a domestic criminal initiates violence, “It’s because we’re a gun-loving society, and we haven’t yet gotten around to making all weapons illegal, once and for all.” Yes, if the USA became a totalitarian and third world country, I guess that would make it a less desirable target for the envious and the enraged, wouldn’t it?
A majority of us keep expecting our leaders and officials to initiate force against our fellow citizens on a daily basis, robbing from another to give to ourselves. And then we marvel at the fact that some choose to take the violence to the streets.
What happened to America? How did it go from being a predominantly peaceful place to one where acts of unspeakable terror and violence are becoming more normal?
Read the history of the last 75 years or so. As the entitlement/transfer-of-wealth state has grown, and gradually devours its best citizens and the best within us all, the incentive for crime and terror grows. Violence fills the void where our freedom, productivity and self-respect might and should have been.
Michael J Hurd
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