Over the Cliff at Any Speed
"I'm an Englishman originally," Stuart Varney said last month on the Fox News Business Channel, "[I] Left England in the 1970s when it was clearly a socialist society I thought was indeed going straight down the road to serfdom. But politics and political change interfered in the form of Margaret Thatcher. She turned England around. Therefore, I would contest the view that we, I, America, are on the inevitable road to socialism."
Yet, despite Thatcher's reforms, the England of today remains a distressing, ongoing, example of big government gone wild. Socialism is a more of a mentality than a political system and once it sinks into the consciousness of a nation, it becomes a Herculean task to extricate that nation from its fatal influence , for it steadily and stealthily destroys its adherents without them realizing what is happening. Back in 2006, Mark Steyn concisely summed up how the nanny-state mindset incrementally extinguishes the human spirit:
"The state has gradually annexed all the responsibilities of adulthood -- health care, child care, care of the elderly -- to the point where it's effectively severed its citizens from humanity's primal instincts, not least the survival instinct. In the American context, the federal "deficit" isn't the problem; it's the government programs that cause the deficit. These programs would still be wrong even if Bill Gates wrote a cheque to cover them each month. They corrode the citizen's sense of self-reliance to a potentially fatal degree."
Liberals habitually stir up paranoia by portraying republicans as heartless misers who want to kick granny to the curb by denying her Social Security payments. Yet, the consistent success of this tactic demonstrates how deeply ingrained in American society is the belief that supporting one's granny is a task to be delegated to an abstract bureaucracy, rather than the duty of those whose kinship should make it a natural concern. Moral problems like this, which are the inescapable result of "sever[ing] citizens from humanity's primal instincts", also directly lead to fiscal problems. As Margaret Thatcher herself once said, "Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money."
The recent federal budget debate in our own country offered us a foretaste of the sort of financial turmoil that socialist European nations are currently embroiled in. Senator Rand Paul wrote last week:
"To paraphrase Senator Jim DeMint: When you're speeding toward the edge of a cliff, you don't set the cruise control. You stop the car. The current deal to raise the debt ceiling doesn't stop us from going over the fiscal cliff. At best, it slows us from going over it at 80 mph to going over it at 60 mph."
Transforming adults into nanny-dependent children at the cost of spending your way off the cliff sounds like guidebook directions for a trip down the road to serfdom. Let' s hope and pray that our ticket doesn't turn out to be one-way.