Freeman

ARTICLE

Its About Power. Period.

All Government Programs Have the Same Basic Purpose

MAY 01, 2000 by ROGER M. CLITES

Roger Clites is a freelance writer.

If we dig deep enough into any government program or policy, regardless of its stated aims, we will find that its basic purpose is the accumulation of power. We constantly allow ourselves to be flim-flammed by debates, compromises, or other distractions from this underlying point. By straying in any way from this truth we enable power-grabbers to encroach a little bit further into our liberty. That is the problem. They creep into additional power a little bit at a time.

Politicians always tell us that the cost will be small and the benefits will be large. That alone should alert us. TANSTAAFL. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. The free lunch is their repeatedly used ploy. They sell whatever it is as something for nothing.

In reality, there is always a carrying charge. That carrying charge is described by most of their critics in terms of money. Of even greater significance than that loss of money is the loss of a little more liberty. Just as lost pennies add up to lost dollars, lost little bits of liberty add up to a major loss and eventually lead toward enslavement.

It is easy to list areas in which we have lost liberty. High on the list are loss of our children’s minds to indoctrination by the educational establishment and loss of choice in medicines and other health care to such agencies as the Food and Drug Administration. We have also suffered eroded choice of service by the postal monopoly, lost transportation options because of the Interstate Commerce Commission, and limitations on speech by restrictions on contrived categories such as “commercial speech.” The list could go on for pages. Actually, it is more difficult to list areas of our lives in which liberty has not been eroded.

Every one of those losses of liberty was promoted as something good that was being “given” to us.

It is bad enough that the promoters of infringements declare that they are acting for our benefit. But even those who see the damage they do often credit them with “good intentions.” We must constantly expose these people for what they are: tyrants. They are seeking to lead us down what EA. Hayek called The Road to Serfdom. They are not working in our best interest. They are, in every instance, seeking more power over us.

We must always focus on that. They will accuse us of being mean-spirited, say that our language is inflammatory, or use some other pejorative. When they do, we must insist that they address the subject of aggregation of power. We must constantly hold their feet to the fire. We must not deviate nor allow them to get away with a smoke screen.

It’s about power—period.

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May 2000

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Unfortunately, educating people about phenomena that are counterintuitive, not-so-easy to remember, and suggest our individual lack of human control (for starters) can seem like an uphill battle in the war of ideas. So we sally forth into a kind of wilderness, an economic fairyland. We are myth busters in a world where people crave myths more than reality. Why do they so readily embrace untruth? Primarily because the immediate costs of doing so are so low and the psychic benefits are so high.
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