Jacob Hornberger

Jacob Hornberger: End the Welfare State

Separate charity and the state.

America’s welfare-state system is based on the concept of mandatory charity, which isn’t really charity at all. Genuine charity is based on voluntary giving, not on the coercive apparatus of government.

The welfare-state concept originated among German socialists in the late 1800s. It formed no part of American life from the inception of the country to the 1930s, when the adoption of Social Security launched the modern-day welfare state, a type of governmental system that forcibly takes money from those to whom it belongs and gives it to those to whom it does not belong.

Welfare-state programs, combined with America’s warfare-state programs, are taking our country down with their out-of-control spending and debt. Moreover, the enormous taxes that are needed to fund this monstrosity are the reason that many young people are having an extremely difficult time starting out in life. All they have to do is examine their paychecks to see how much of their income is being withheld by their employers on behalf of the federal government.

It is impossible to reconcile a system based on mandatory charity with a genuinely free society. Freedom entails the right to decide for one’s self whether or not to help out people in need.

The welfare state has damaged people’s sense of independence and self-reliance, convincing many Americans that they could not survive without this political narcotic. They are wrong. Americans lived without a welfare state for more than a century and prospered without it. They also brought into existence the most charitable society in history, proving that people can be trusted with freedom. Americans today need to recapture a faith in themselves, others, freedom, and God and dismantle their welfare-state system of mandatory charity.

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