For, if one wishes to maintain the name of liberal among men, it is necessary that one not omit any quality of sumptuousness–to such an extent, that a prince so disposed will consume all his faculties in such-like work, and he will be finally necessitated, in his wish to maintain the name of liberal, to burden the people extra-ordinarily, to become exacting, and do all those things that can be done to get money. This will begin to make him hateful to his subjects and, as he becomes poor, none of them will respect him; in such a mode that, having harmed the many with this his liberality, and rewarded the few, he will feel every mischance which first arises and he will be endangered by every danger which appears. Coming to know this and wishing to draw back, he then immediately incurs the infamy of stinginess.
~Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
This exert from Machiavelli is a poignant look into the inherent fallacy of the liberal movement (I say movement because what is currently and politically known as liberal is a far cry from what liberal meant 150 years ago…more on that later). Machiavelli understood that taken to its end the desire to please everyone with generosity and freehandedness will only lead to the “infamy of stinginess.” This being the positive end of the spectrum, the negative end of this manner of governing is the total and complete financial and moral collapse of a society.
Machiavelli in this piece is speaking of liberality in the sense of generosity, not the modern political counterpart to the conservative. Yet his observations ring as clear in this context as it did in 1513 when it was written. The modern liberal in attempt to pander to a particular voting block uses the substance-less platform of, “Vote for me good citizen for I will make all of your wildest dreams come true. What is that you like, candy you say? Well lucky for you my passion is giving candy, lovers of candy!” Initially the candy aficionado will love this candidate until the candy runs out; and it always runs out.
Humans are consumers. In order to maintain our core body temperature of roughly 98 degrees Fahrenheit we must daily consume thousands of calories. We produce from the land and take from the animals to provide for our shelter and clothing. Humans, through our ingenuity, were able to tend the land and produce an excess of food stuffs. We then were able to store this material or trade it for other goods. This lead to the specialization of labor. Now humans are consuming products solely for entertainment and enjoyment. The point being this. Once I eat, I am only satisfied for a short time. I do not buy one shirt for the rest of my life, clothes wear and thus we procure new ones. I will always have need. Entropy is the word to describe this state of constant denigration. There then is always the need to replenish what has run down. Two examples will better illustrate this point, one parental the other from a children’s story.
No good parent gives their child everything they want. This is not, shocking as it may seem, because the parent does not love their child. Quite the contrary, the parent withholds certain things (even if the child really wants it) because they love their child. The problem is that children, in all their beautiful honesty and sincerity, do not know what is best for themselves. A child might adamantly desire to eat double fudge brownies for every meal but I think the Surgeon General would back me up in saying this could be devastating to that child’s health. The responsibility of the parent then is to have the foresight to see what will help and hurt the child and apply this benevolent governance until the child is capable of making this determination for themselves.
The second illustration comes from the childrens book, If You Give A Mouse A Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff. The conclusion to this statement is, as everyone knows, “he will ask for a glass of milk.” This trend continues until all has been given, to the point of exhaustion of resources and yet more is still desired. This is a defining characteristics of living organisms especially humans. Want is never satisfied. Yet a liberal will try to meet every single want with some new legislation or department or otherwise handout.
Thus when liberals make it their aim to gain the name of “generous” and “humane” through legislation that merely bestows on an individual or group those things which should be earned, they are starting a cycle that can only end in moral and financial bankruptcy.
Here in lies the problem with modern liberals. No matter how much their surface magnanimity is trumpeted as helping, it never is. What it creates is a dependant person with an entitlement complex. As G Gordon Liddy anecdotally said, “A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which debt he proposes to pay off with your money.”
The travesty is that these bunglers on the left have taken hostage the title of liberal and run so far from its classical base as to be its antithesis. Classical liberalism is founded on lassiez-faire market principles. Major tenents include constitutional limits on government and individual freedom. Classical liberals such as John Stuart Mill championed the “invisible hand” that would operate in an free market to benefit society.
It seems to me if I were to ask a modern liberal (the imprudent I’ll call them) to finish the old adage, “If you give a man a fish…” the imprudent would heartily answer, “If you give a man a fish he will gladly vote for you in the upcoming election.” Why don’t we start teaching people to fish? My only guess is that fishing takes too much time, practice and skill whereas most would rather be killing brain cells TiVoing Sex In The City and drowning themselves in can beer. They would simply rather have someone deliver a fish sandwich that they could pay for with a government check and not tip.
In order to offer real assistance to the downtroden and disenfranchised we must not indulge their every want. We, the people with foresight and the constitution to administer what that foresight would dictate, have the responsibility to stand firm, to critically analyse and to withhold if need be. If nothing else stands out let this be the thing, THE NEED BE.
As Jeremiah 17.9 says, “The heart is more decietful than all else and is desperately sick; Who can understand it?” So when we hear of legislation that tickles our heart strings and liberals shout that it is only fair at the top of their lungs, beware. Their thinking leads to dire straights for all. For instance the recent attempt at increasing the minimum wage…well actually I prefer to dine on only one can of worms at a time. However, this issue has my cross-hairs on it and will be dealt with in a subsequent post.