We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Our neighbor blogger Tom takes no prisoners when it comes to defending the power of the individual in relation to the State, and, given human history, he is rightfully mindful that States, however well-intentioned or paternalistic, always absorb power from people :
In an earlier article the point was made that both German voters and American liberals have affirmed their allegiance to the National-State collectivism of socialism. More than coincidence is involved.
It was in Germany that the world’s first welfare state was inaugurated. The history of socialistic welfare systems makes clear that, while for public relations purposes intended to benefit the people, they are in fact merely power instruments for the collectivized National State.
Tom G. Palmer, a Fellow at the Cato Institute, noted in his February 3, 2000, letter to the editors of the Wall Street Journal:
“Bismarck considered the creation of Germany’s social security system his greatest accomplishment..... He defended compulsory social security in 1881 on the grounds that it made people dependent on the state: “Whoever has a pension for his old age is far more content and far easier to handle than one who has no such prospect...”
Bertrand Russell, one of the world’s most prominent socialist theoreticians, much earlier had made the same point. In “German Social Democracy,” his 1896 study of socialism in Germany, Lord Russell wrote:
“.... Bismarck’s measures of ‘social reform.’ These measures, which provided insurance against accident, sickness, and old age, were, so far as they went, socialistic. It was Bismarck’s aim, first to muzzle the official Social Democrats [socialists], and then, by a series of small bribes, to wean the proletariat from their adherence to revolutionary principles. Bismarck’s State Socialism has excited the admiration of many critics, and it is often supposed that the Socialists have been ungrateful in not supporting it more cordially. But in reality the name is very misleading, for there is much more State than Socialism in his policy. This policy may be briefly described as military and bureaucratic despotism, tempered by almsgiving.”
Lord Russell’s depiction is completely in congruence with Alexis de Tocqueville’s descriptions, in his 1835 “Democracy in America,” and in his 1856 “The Old Regime and the French Revolution,” of the effects of socialism on the French citizenry. Tocqueville’s summation was that Frenchmen became largely self-centered, concerned only about their share of government largesse and indifferent to their neighbors or to the greater national interests. So long as they received their benefits and the rulers gave lip service to the Revolutionary slogan of Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood, French citizens were prepared to accept any degree of political despotism.
This picture obviously applies to the welfare-dependent populations in New Orleans and most of our other cities. The effect of dependency is servility and indifference, coupled with resentment that benefits are not larger, boiling over into aggressive hostility at any provocation, as we have seen in repeated riots, burning, and looting across the nation since enactment of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society.