Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Nothing outside the state

Dr. Robert Higgs captures my considerable dismay at the current state of our nation at Big Government today.  An excerpt:
A popular slogan of the Italian Fascists under Mussolini was, “Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato”—meaning, “Everything for the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.”

I recall this expression frequently as I observe the government’s growing reach in American society. Washington’s medical-care power grab is only the latest example.

What of any consequence remains beyond the state’s reach in the United States today? Not wages, working conditions, or labor management relations; not health care; not money, banking, or financial services; not personal privacy; not transportation or communication; not education or scientific research; not farming or food supply; not nutrition or food quality; not marriage or divorce; not child care; not provision for retirement; not recreation; not insurance of any kind; not smoking or drinking; not gambling; not political campaign funding or publicity; not real-estate development, home construction, or housing finance; not international travel, trade, or finance; not 1,000 other areas and aspects of economic and social life.

Some believe that the state still keeps its hands off religion, but even that’s not true. It certifies certain religious organizations as legitimate and condemns others, as many young men discovered to their sorrow when they attempted to claim “conscientious objector” status during the Vietnam War. It assigns members of certain religions, but not members of others, as chaplains in the armed services. It even grants clergy certain privileges not available to others.

Indeed, statism itself has become a religion for many Americans. Do they not honor the government above all else, even above the commandments of the religions they claim to embrace?

Whenever modern Americans encounter a problem, they look to government for their salvation, just as their ancestors, before the 20th century, looked to divine providence.

When the government makes a mess of things, eliciting complaints and protests, as it has for example in every area related to health care, it responds by making “reforms” that heap new laws, regulations, and government bureaus atop the existing mountain of counterproductive laws, regulations, and government bureaus. Thus, each new “reform” makes the government larger and more destructive than before.

The areas of life that remain outside the government’s participation, regulation, surveillance, or manipulation by means of taxes and subsidies have become so few and so trivial they scarcely merit mention.
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