Dependency upon government is a disease. Once it has been caught, it becomes chronic and does not reverse itself in a population until the system collapses under its own weight.
For many years, frustrated colleagues of mine who are either conservative or libertarian have posed the rhetorical question, "When will those liberals learn?" Surely, at some point (they reason), liberals will recognise that bailouts, entitlements, and a "planned" society simply do not work. It's not even a question of whether liberalism is a laudable concept. The problem is that it just… doesn't… work.
Of course, my colleagues are correct in their appraisal of the liberal concept. Unfortunately, they are gravely mistaken in their belief that there comes a point at which the liberal "bubble" pops and suddenly all liberals wake up and smell the coffee.
Truth be told, as long as governments can benefit from maintaining a strong liberal consciousness in their citizenry, and as long as they can count on the media to maintain that consciousness, it will always be possible to convince liberal thinkers that, whatever negative events have taken place in a given country, they are the fault of the "enemy"—the non-liberal contingent.
But, surely, when there is clear-cut evidence that liberal policies have failed, liberals must accept that liberalism is an economic and social dead end. No, I'm afraid not. Let's look at how just three examples are likely to play out—not as we'd like to see them play out, but how they will play out in reality.
When the bailouts end, the economy will collapse. Liberals will then grasp that bailouts do not work. Not so, I'm afraid. Although endless QE is as implausible as perpetual motion, when it is finally halted, the economy will inevitably crash, and crash badly—made worse by QE. Will liberals then realise the failure of QE? No, they will only argue that the only problem was that it was halted—that, had it continued, it would eventually have saved the day.
No liberal will hazard a guess as to what amount of QE or length of time would have created salvation; however, the blame for the crash will be placed squarely at the feet of the greedy One Percent, whom the liberals will say "engineered the end of QE in order to impoverish and enslave the middle class." Liberals will be more committed than ever to government spending as a solution.
When cities such as Bradford in the UK or Detroit in the US reach fiscal collapse, liberals will realise that ever-increasing entitlements are simply not sustainable, that such tax-based benefit programmes drive out thriving industries, leaving the poor behind, in a dying metropolis. Again, this will not happen. Instead of learning the obvious lesson, liberals will redouble their belief in collectivism. They will reason that the government had successfully protected inner city workers through benefit programmes. However, big business, wanting to create slaves of workers, sent jobs overseas, to countries where enslavement by the rich is still possible.
By doing so, they removed tax dollars from the system, causing the impoverishment of inner-city dwellers, destroying their lives. Rather than abandon social programmes as ineffective, liberals will set about creating massive relocation programmes, such as moving the disenfranchised inner-city people to areas where there is sufficient local business for taxation to continue supporting those on public assistance. In so doing, those areas that were previously economically viable will also be bled to the point of fiscal failure, spreading the disease. However, the liberal conclusion will remain the same: "The problem is the greedy rich."
- When the government has fully morphed into a dictatorial police state, liberals will realise that governmental overreach has destroyed their liberty. Again, this will not be the liberal view when the time comes. Instead, they will conclude, as they do now, that freedom is a small price to pay for safety. They will, therefore, not only accept, but encourage the government to redouble its Gestapo approach every time a lone gunman fires into a classroom. And any single such incident will be cause for a nationwide ramping-up of policing. (If no lone gunman appears on the scene just prior to a planned ramping-up, a suitable incident can always be created by the government.)
In each of the above cases, nothing is learned by liberals, except that they were right all along: "Don't trust the conservatives. They are evil and will destroy all good in society."
These three examples should be sufficient to demonstrate that there will be no magic day when liberals figure out the failings of collectivism. In fact, quite the opposite will be true. Just as any government benefits from its own expansion of power, so governments and the media propaganda systems will ensure good that the EU and US will only become more liberal over time.
Throughout history, a basic truism has been evident: Dependency upon government is a disease. Once it has been caught, it becomes chronic and does not reverse itself in a population until the system collapses under its own weight.
A good example of this is East Germany in the early 1990's. In 1987, US President Reagan famously delivered the words in Berlin, "Mister Gorbachev, tear down this wall." His words were heard so loudly that Mister Gorbachev did, indeed, tear down the wall. Almost immediately, West Berliners, thrilled to be reunited with their brothers to the East, created thousands of job opportunities for East Germans. East Germans were equally thrilled, anticipating that they might now have larger apartments, higher pay, and possibly own televisions and cars. However, East Germans did not respond well to the standards of the West, feeling that employers were too harsh in their requirements and the benefits were not what they had been used to.
East and west re-unified, but the transition was not a smooth one.
But, before we place all the criticism on liberals, it is well to note that, in both the EU and US, conservatives often tend to be just as dogmatic in their assessments. Whilst conservatives arguably may have a better grasp than liberals as to fiscal realities, they, too, are continuously programmed to adhere to a fixed group of perceptions.
Conservatives and liberals are both programmed to maintain ongoing opposition to each other. Conservatives are perceived as greedy and evil by liberals; liberals are perceived as naïve and stupid by conservatives. The more they can be polarised from each other, the more governments may make use of the polarity as a distraction from their own actions. The more conservatives and liberals place the blame on each other, the more governments may present themselves as the referee, whist, in fact, they do all they can to expand the mutual animosity.
When people are angry, they do not think straight. The angrier they become, the more reason goes out the window. Consequently, the more a government can stir up its minions to attack each other, the more power the government has to impose ever-greater controls on the population. In a conservative administration, a government will institute greater social controls. In the following liberal administration, the government will institute greater economic controls. And the police state will be increased under both administrations.
The net effect is overall increased dominance by government. Under the two-party system, this dominance is not only tolerated by the populace, but encouraged.
The day never comes when a people convince their government to "lighten up." Relief only comes when an overly-powerful governmental system collapses under its own weight.