Tom Hurst writes on liberty, free markets, private property rights, government and the Constitution from Nevada, USA
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The Grasshopper and the Ant in America

By Tom Hurst, 29 July 2012

What follows is a story of two types of people. To all appearances just everyday, ordinary Americans of the type anyone would expect to see anywhere, but nevertheless very different in key ways. In fact, by observing just a few key differences, everyone in this entire country could be put into one category or the other. Stereotyping, perhaps, but as you'll see, these simple differences will determine the answer to a most important question: will America survive as a free and prosperous nation, or not?

The first type of American believes in - above all else - the goodness of the State. Indeed, whether they are aware of it or not, they not only depend upon, but actually worship the State. To them, the State is the sole provider of security, safety, all of the various wants and needs of everyday life, and even moral direction. These people - I'll call them drones here - believe that by virtue of their mere existence they have *rights* to things such as education, housing, health care, food, jobs, and fairness in life - things that, in reality, can only be provided to them if the State steals money from or infringes upon the freedom of others. They do not pay taxes (or at least very little), for to them that is only the duty of the rich, who in the drones' minds have everything, but should have nothing. Drones never realize that for them to get their things, those things must necessarily come from others who actually produce things. Their whole life is a grand blindness to the principle that to pay Paul, one must first rob Peter. So, their twisted logic demands that their neighbors without children must - via the coercion of the State - pay for the K-12 education of their children (often including free or subsidized meals), and for daycare for those children not yet in school. As soon as that is done, the State must then pay for their childrens' years in college by heavily subsidizing State universities and providing copious grants and subsidized loans. Of course, throughout this entire State-run educational process everyone involved is well and truly propagandized in the religion of the State. In the end they enter their adult life thinking the State is the very wellspring of all that is good and necessary. At some point - very early in life these days, it would seem - these people expect to own a home, and to get subsidies from the kindly State for that, too. And if that "investment" goes bad (as many have in recent times), it's painfully obvious that they now think the State - in the name of fairness, of course - should somehow make them whole on any losses they've taken on their home values, even though they alone were the ones who chose to risk their money and purchase a home, and they alone were the ones to enjoy those homes. The daily bread of many (about 50 million individuals these days, i.e. 1 in 6) comes directly from the State, and even for those who grudgingly stoop to buy their own food, it must surely be certified as safe by the almighty State; heaven forbid that their needs be met by some private company seeking to please them, for that would be a truly alien thought for this type of person. Even the provision of their telephones and internet connections are in many cases coinsidered the responsibility of the State. To drones, protection from "crime" can come only from the State, so the police and military are idolized even as the firearms that would allow them to protect themselves are demonized. Even recreation, entertainment and art - all to their taste, of course, which evidently includes everything from yoga and pottery classes to parks and even dog-parks - must be provided to them by the all-caring State. In their minds, transport from one place to another is yet another task that should surely be provided exclusively by the State, so they happily ride the government bus whenever and wherever it's running, despite the fact that, on average, the hyper-inefficient State bus costs taxpayers over $20 for each dollar that the dependent riders themselves pay. When times are especially hard, drones depend upon the State for even more: welfare, unemployment, food stamps, medicaid, subsidized housing, government-provided cell phones and hundreds of other things are not just rights to them, but in their eyes are noble aspirations, for good citizens surely deserve these things in abundance. And the State even advertises these things so that none of the dependent class of citizens miss taking their "fair share" of the booty; truly, watch closely and one will see that the State incessantly portrays itself as a veritable cornucopia of everything, and for free no less. And, let's not forget free doctors, drugs, hospitals, and nursing homes, again, all paid for by the State. Finally, towards the ends of their unproductive lives, monthly Social Security income is provided despite the fact that many of them failed to save even a penny on their own for their retirement, or the fact that Social Security is a grand Ponzi scheme that absolutely and entirely depends on the young paying for the old.

Now, even worse than the drones' pathetic dependency on mother government, these people who are dependent on the State in nearly every aspect of their lives truly believe that the money and favors given to them spring forth without consequence or cost from some magic lamp controlled by the all-caring State. They view the lifetime provision for free of all of the above as normal as normal can be. Indeed, they are shocked, disturbed and even confused when they meet Americans who don't passionately and unthinkingly follow them in their innate pattern of chronic dependency on the State. Of course, the fiscal reality is that the State is always and only a consumer of wealth, not a producer of wealth. Thus, the State has only money that it has extracted by force from other citizens, so is necessarily giving away stolen property when it does anything at all. In its essence, this stealing of the wealth, goods and labor of other, productive people is simply slavery, something no one has a right to impose on others. So, in the end, the State-worshiping, dependent citizens who do nothing become de facto masters, and the hard-working, productive citizens whose money is taken by the State become slaves. It's the plantation system all over again, this time in Statist guise. And that leads us to the second basic type of person.

The second basic type of Americans believe in - above all else - the goodness of liberty. To these people, the State is at best just an inconvenience to be tolerated, and at worst an enemy to be feared, avoided and even stamped out. By their own hard work they take advantage of opportunities presented to them by life, not by the State. Sometimes they are successful, and sometimes not, but their measure of value is that they at least tried, and their measure of morality is that they did it on their own, not on the backs of or via the pocketbooks of others. Through owning things that they themselves have earned, such people very early on come to respect and understand the value of money and the economic and moral importance of private property, which is something dependent individuals or the State itself never, ever manage to see. These independent people buy their homes, start businesses and make investments; sometimes money is made, and sometimes it is lost, but either way it's their money, not that belonging to others. The military and especially the police, as armed coercive agents of the overpowering State, are (rightly, it would seem) distrusted, for the lovers of liberty know that all of history proves that agents of the State will always at some point become the boots of despotism that would eagerly and indiscriminately grind their faces into the pavement. These proud people also believe in private education, and so in learning, thinking and saying what one wants to, the State's mantras and 'public school' propaganda machine be damned. They go where they please, when they please, via their own means, disregarding the wishes of the State to control these things. Everything that they want or need they buy with their own money: from housing and health care, to transport and entertainment. They depend on no others, especially the State, if at all possible, for they rightly view the State as an evil and an interference that will ultimately take from them all of the things they cherish and know to be fundamentally important: their life, liberty and property.

So, in the final analysis, I would suggest that broadly speaking every American falls into one of the above two categories. And because these two types are so mutually exclusive at the very core of their nature, the battle lines are drawn: the future of America becomes takers versus makers, parasites versus hosts, villagers versus sovereigns, consumers versus producers, socialists versus capitalists, those who are dependent versus those who are responsible, and looters, moochers and cheaters versus the honest. In short, those who have sold their soul to the State for what it provides (courtesy of productive people) versus those who are free for freedoms' sake. Or, to quote Aesop's parable, the grasshopper versus the ant. Which one are you? And, more importantly, which one will win? Of course, the powerful and obvious lessons of history tell us in no uncertain terms that to the degree that Americans are independent and provide for themselves, they will be enlightened, prosperous and free. And to the degree that they depend upon and worship the State, they will be ignorant, poor and oppressed. Of course, barring a miracle of extreme resolve among the ants, the State will follow its historical natural progression - one unwaveringly charted by all States in all eras of history - and so will grow to completely consume the individuals who via that process become grasshoppers. No matter what one thinks, truly, the State will without question eventually become tyrannical, for that absolute corruption has been the natural and unavoidable progression of all power in all ages and all places. So, the grasshoppers who worship the State will, in the end, become victims of the State, along with their de facto slaves, the ever-productive ants, who have themselves been victims and slaves since day one. This will herald the end of the individual, of prosperity, of private property, and of liberty. Let us hope that the grasshoppers somehow become ants while time still remains.

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