“The state is the great fictitious entity by which everyone seeks to live at the expense of everyone else.” Frederic Bastiat, 19th C French economist.
Every new law to create yet another entitlement is the result of some fabricated right at the expense of another’s rights. Rights are not a zero sum game, some transactional exercise, but are those things that define what it means to own oneself.
What is taking all of what someone produces with their own labor called? The answer is slavery. What do you call taking a portion of what someone produces with their own labor? Would that be proportional slavery? If you say no, you have a paradox; at what point is the proportion taken not slavery? Whether legalized by a dictator’s decree or a democratic mandate, taking reduces people to slavery, making them chattel of the state.
While no one overtly proposes slavery as a means to create welfare, there are those that propose taking the fruits of another’s labor in order to provide for the “common good”, an ambiguous term that reduces people to a collective entity that must be protected from, well themselves. This patronizing concept is another example of power lust, a twin to the Warfare State and just as insidious.
It does not matter what altruistic goal is proposed, the eventual outcome has always proven the same as over time the Welfare State will evolve into a dystopia we know as totalitarianism; this is the empirical lesson of history, and cloaking it in terms of invented rights will not prevent the conclusion. Taking under such disingenuous systems like Democratic Socialism is justified under the pretense that you have a say in the matter, which is a delusion and another case of democracy not being a safeguard for liberty.
Consider the popular platitude called “social justice” as a justification for the Welfare State. My concept of justice is that I keep what I earn, and you do the same; if that is not so, then how much of what I earn is yours, and why is that called justice? If taking the fruits of one’s labor without their consent is not theft, then it would follow that all thieves have to do is form a government to legalize it….wait a minute….OK, I get it.
Often the misconception of such rights evolves from the misunderstanding of opportunity; it is true for example that those born into a rich family have an advantage in opportunities, but that does not represent an injustice any more than a speedier runner in a track meet. No one who is blessed with an accident of birth in wealth or speed should ever be punished for their good fortune as such is luck in life. Likewise those that have had success in pursuing an opportunity are no less entitled to their rights than those that have failed; opportunity does not guarantee success, only risk.
These are seemingly axiomatic realities, yet they are dismissed by advocates for the Welfare State because they represent obstacles for the “common good”. Should you remind them that liberty includes the right to the pursuit of happiness, they will denounce you as selfish as that’s just another example of capitalist oppression. Should you counter with the argument that it’s the entrepreneur who takes the risk, creates the jobs, bears the costs of failure and if successful creates the wealth that grows the economy, you will be told that you are an outdated reactionary as that economic system is no longer functional because in government we have the means to grow the economy without the risk of failure. Should you point out to them that this has never worked, be prepared to be shouted down as an enemy of progress and equality. What caused this Bizzaro World of a new American culture?
The apparent enemy of this twisted phenomenon is liberty because it’s only a guarantee of equality before the law; in all other things liberty provides for each individual the right to exercise their free will. In truth that can result in a chaotic situation as there is no guarantee that people will choose what we may objectively judge to be the right choice for them, only that they are the only ones who have the right to choose what they judge to be in their own interests.
The alternative is to not allow them liberty and make their choices for them; the fact that this is the essence of slavery is lost in the pursuit of this equality in all things, creating rights for every aspect of life. To do this requires the force of law, and the enemies of liberty are united in that agenda; doing so ignores the fact that if force is required to promote your ideal, then there is an inherent and fatal flaw with that ideal as compulsion is not compassion, it’s authoritarianism.
It has been argued that the constitution mandates welfare based on its stated purpose. The reference made is actually in the preamble, which the Supreme Court correctly made clear is not an independent source of rights, and further that “general welfare” means the good of all citizens, and not an open-ended mandate for Congress, and that the only good that applies to all citizens is freedom, and that government’s proper role is the protection of that freedom.
So how then to fund the government for these protections of freedom without a taking of the fruits of one’s labor? As the Constitution actually forbade direct income taxes (except during crises such as the Civil War, but then suspended) prior to the 16th Amendment, the US utilized tariffs, sales taxes, customs duties, excise taxes, land sales, and fees with which it managed to do so. Except in times of war, the US balanced its budget up to 1901, but ran in the red nearly every year since. The indebtedness of a nation is an impoverishment if its people, not a manifestation of justice.