Hardship and “the storms of life” are two events which bring out the best and worst in people. Prosperity alleviates the impact of hardship and impacts human nature in such a way as to make a prosperous person, or nation, less willing to go though hardship (it also makes a person or nation less dependent on God). Benjamin Franklin, in The Real Benjamin Franklin, said:
I fear that giving mankind a dependence on anything for support, in age or sickness, besides industry and frugality during youth and health, tends to flatter our natural indolence, to encourage idleness and prodigality [wasteful extravagance in spending], and thereby to promote and increase poverty, the very evil it was intended to cure[.]
Basically, he is saying the more government gives the more poverty we will have. If individuals are not involved in hardship and always have someone or something else (the government in this case) to help them, then their situation and the consequences will be alleviated. Two results usually follow: 1) They do not learn from their situation so they can make better decisions in the future, and 2) they know the “safety net” will be there next time and will grow even more dependent. As my father often said, “If you reward bad behavior, you get more of it.”
I am not saying there should be no “safety net,” but what I am saying is the government should not be the one providing the safety net. One good reason for this thought, there area many, is because these safety net programs become political tools that really only help government and those who make their living off of government.
If one does not have an objective standard—a standard that is fixed and unchangeable—for good behavior, then knowing what is good or bad behavior becomes what the government says it its. Evidence shows that the United States social programs, a.k.a “safety nets,” create dependence and destroy self reliance. (I cannot go in to detail here as to how this has happened but there has been much study done on LBJ’s Great Society.) As more people rely on government programs, the more government will regulate those areas in which it provides help, thus increasing its sphere of sovereignty to include other spheres it should not control, such as the family sphere, or schools. The new Affordable Care Act is a pertinent example, along with government schools and Common Core.
As government programs increase, and as more people become dependent on them, the more government will expand and take over spheres in which it does not belong. In other words, part of the expansion included the raising of taxes and that, in itself, causes more bureaucracy which causes and endless cycle of increasing the need for higher taxes.
As more personal property is taken, in the form of taxes for example, the less an individual has for self reliance. This, in turn, increases the chance he or she will need to rely on the government for help. As people become more dependent on government they tend to be more willing to be regulated—freedom taken—in order to get the help offered by government. So where does God fit into all this?
The conclusion next time.