It’s No Longer “the Economy, Stupid” It’s We the People are Stupid

March 1, 2013 06:42

This is the beginning of the end of freedom. The minute a majority of people in a society start to feel entitled to Barack’s baby-sitting service, that’s the beginning of the end of that society.



by Michael J. Hurd, Ph.D.


“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.’”— Thomas Jefferson

In a way, it doesn’t matter what the “Left” or any intellectual minority wants — even an enlightened intellectual minority, such as those who advocate individual rights and unhampered capitalism.

What matters the most is what the majority of people are like. A society filled with those of low or questionable character cannot live up to the virtues upheld – and, indeed, required – by a free society. This is where we are as of 2013. Of course, America is not filled with unsound criminals. If it were, civilization would collapse in an instant. But America is no longer a society filled with freedom-loving, responsibility-accepting individualists.

In 1972, Ayn Rand [author of “Atlas Shrugged”] wrote favorably about the American sense of life. She defined the American sense of life as a dominant viewpoint in a society that kept people from wanting to be pushed around. She saw it as unlikely that Americans would, in the near future, succumb to a dictatorship or anything like it. She wrote these comments in the aftermath of the overwhelming defeat of George McGovern for President.

McGovern was the Obama of his time. He was a committed and unapologetic statist and socialist; yet more tepid than the arrogant, uncompromising and ruthlessly partisan Obama. Rand correctly ascertained, back in 1972, that if George McGovern could be wiped out in an electoral landslide against the hapless and confused Richard Nixon, then there was indeed hope for the country. Today that’s not nearly so certain.

If you think of Obama as the modern-day George McGovern — the furthest left the Democratic Party had gone up to that time, with his calls for nationalized medicine and a guaranteed income for all —then it’s appropriate to say George McGovern has now won election and, almost unbelievably, reelection to the American presidency.

We’re past the point where it makes any sense to talk about just politics. Politics is the final consequence of the trends and tendencies in a culture. A “culture” refers to the dominant majority of the people in a society, along with the institutions and trends they opt to follow. In 2012, the American people made one thing abundantly clear through the electoral process: The economy is less important than the government “safety net.”

Everyone is aware that the economy has not recovered on Barack Obama’s watch or because of his policies. However, on his watch, the national debt has grown faster and larger than it did from the presidency of George Washington up to and including Bill Clinton. For the first time in history, especially since becoming a world economic power more than a century ago, the United States has lost its top rating as a sound market with a sound currency.

What’s most significant about this development is not that Americans don’t give all the blame for this to Obama. The spending and Big Government trends pre-date him, up through and including his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, who, with the help of his Republican Congress, spent like the leftist Presidents of the 1930s and 1960s.

What is frighteningly significant is that these economic trends do not matter to voters. People say in poll after poll that they believe America is on the wrong track. Yet they voted for more of Obama’s wrecking-ball policies. Why? Because it’s no longer the economy. It’s now the social safety net.

Mitt Romney was not the issue, either. It’s unlikely Romney would have been able or willing to even make a dent in the already irredeemably out of control entitlement state in which Americans now find themselves ensnared, while refusing to admit it. But Romney did at least offer an opportunity to negate what’s wrong. It gave Americans an opportunity to at least say “no” to dogmatic, consistent socialization and nationalization of the economy, even if the alternative was not yet very clear.

To vote against Obama was a no-brainer. It was the very least the majority of the American people could and should have done, not unlike what they did in 1972 with George McGovern. Yet the result was very much the opposite.

In fact, there’s no need for politicians or anyone else to argue for the “greater good” versus any other good. The good of the individual is the good of the society. When individual rights are left intact, and the economy left free, the best and brightest are free to think, produce, make a profit, create jobs and do all those things that politicians claim that politicians do – but don’t, and can’t: These things arise only out of the private sector.

What is it that makes the private sector better than government, anyway? It’s the free sector, or relatively free, although even that is starting to change since Obama. The private sector is where people are free to think, innovate, make a profit, take risks, sometimes win big or lose big, otherwise just do OK, but above all, be free.

When the private sector is undercut or destroyed, freedom is undercut and destroyed. Look, for example, at the field of education, with its minimal and hampered private sector. How impressive are the results of education, with trillions of government dollars being spent and borrowed year and after year?

Ditto with the postal service. Ditto with government-run airports. Ditto with the government-run medical care we already have, especially Medicare which cannot sustain itself beyond another few years – and even then requires seniors to purchase supplemental insurance just to have reasonable coverage.

When you hamper freedom, including economic freedom, the results are even worse. Most Americans seem to have the sense to grasp this much. But they avert their gaze when it comes time to vote. Why? Because they’re afraid. They prefer to be taken care of. Yes, a majority still goes to work, but many do so resentfully. Many do so with resentment that someone, somewhere, might be making more money than they do. This is considered an injustice in and of itself. This is the “us against them” mentality to which Obama and other politicians like him pander —and it’s working.

It’s time to stop criticizing politicians for doing what works and what sells. The people to criticize are the ones who buy it. They’re buying it at the expense of their own freedom, and yours, and mine. Maybe they don’t care about their own freedom, and that’s their loss. But by what right do they vote away yours and mine?

Obama speaks sanctimoniously to this issue by insisting that we are our brothers’ keepers — and that it’s the government’s job to make it so. Your neighbors in society vote for this idea and now make up the majority, unlike back in 1972. Even if they still work and take responsibility for much of their lives, they like the idea that someone else will take care of them, if they need it. They’d never admit it and they’d never put it this way, but in effect they’re just fine with the idea of someone else being forced to take care of them, should circumstances require it. This is the beginning of the end of freedom. The minute a majority of people in a society start to feel entitled to Barack’s baby-sitting service, that’s the beginning of the end of that society.

Can societies turn around? Surely, because societies are nothing more than a very large number of individuals. “Society” refers to the dominant trends of individuals. But today’s trends are very bad. The fact that socialist Obama and his party were restored to power — with extra seats in the U.S. Senate to boot — is an indication that a majority of Americans are now willing to sacrifice everybody’s freedom in order to secure “their fair share” of security.

The irony is that there is no tradeoff between liberty and “security.” Security is truly gone the moment you undercut economic and other individual freedoms. On the surface it seems good. “What’s wrong with the rich paying more in taxes so I can retire a year sooner, or buy a better house or have better health insurance?”

What’s wrong is that there are consequences to everything. For one thing, there are not nearly enough rich people and will never be enough rich people to finance all the things to which “average” Americans now feel entitled. We could tax those making over $250,000 year at a 100 percent tax rate – assuming, of course, that they would continue to work, save and invest just as conscientiously as they would were they not slaves.

Ridiculous, of course, but let’s assume it just the same. Take 100 percent of all income earned by America’s top earners and then provide guaranteed health insurance, flood insurance, mortgage subsidies, farm subsidies, school and college subsidies (graduate and medical school subsidies while you’re at it), and all the rest Barack and his crew of leftists have in mind for us, and it still won’t add up.

The national debt, growing exponentially by the second, will never be paid off by tax increases on the rich or additional taxes on anybody. Even the middle class could not be taxed to pay for the unfunded liabilities of Medicare alone, to say nothing of all Obama plans to do and what most Americans have been duped into demanding and expecting.

It’s simply not possible, and, frankly, verges on the psychotic. It’s not all that different from the mentality of a heroin addict, living in the range of the moment and caring nothing for anyone or anything — least of all, himself — beyond the next urge of the next moment. This is the state of our politicians in Washington D.C. and most state capitals, and in some respect nearly everyone acknowledges this. Yet, what does it say about the people who demand and expect all the things these addict-like, amoral politicians promise? What does it say about the voters who indifferently permit it and in fact demand it?

These have been my questions for some time now. Before 2012, it was possible to say that America was in a mixed state. In the Johnson and Nixon years, the welfare state mostly grew. Put the brakes on the spread of the welfare state, and you get the Reagan years. Accelerate the welfare state a bit, and you get the Clinton years — until the Republicans were put in Congress to apply the brakes again; even Clinton partially reversed course and (at times) helped them apply those brakes.

This has been the back-and-forth of American politics, at least until now. Now a majority appear to be saying, “Big Government is here to stay. We want it all, and we want more. Don’t you dare tamper with it, or we’ll call you a liar and a racist. But … of course we want fiscal responsibility too.”

This last is what the House Republicans are for, I suppose. But attaining fiscal responsibility in the midst of a heroin-like buying and spending binge will not end any better for our government than it would for the heroin addict who finally hits bottom.

It really doesn’t matter what the Republicans do going forward. Republicans as we’ve known them are dead, and deserve to be. My best guess is that they will go in one of two directions, or perhaps split in two.

One side will say, “See? We need to be more pragmatic. Forget the Tea Party. Americans want Obama’s programs and more. We’ll maintain them all, and even expand them. We won’t create as many new ones, and we’ll try to raise taxes less than we otherwise would.” In other words, the Republicans will become Obama’s Democratic Party, and Obama will be free to become Karl Marx or whomever he wants to be.

The other direction for the Republican Party is to do what a lot of them have really wanted to do all along: Turn their policies into those of a theocratic dictatorship, minimizing or ignoring economics and defense in favor of piously raising their eyes heavenward to outlaw abortion, ban gay marriages, and perpetrate even worse intrusions into others’ freedoms. You’ll see this play out as never before in the next set of Republican presidential primaries.

Bottom line: As the economy worsens, or continues not to grow, the prospect of some form of dictatorship increases. Lack of economic growth will come as a shock to most Americans. As people become more poor relative to the prior generation, the more fearful they will become.

As fear grows, they will cede more and more of their individual rights and liberties to government. We have already seen this in the financial and health care industries, and it will eventually infect every sector, at least absent any major course reversals.

And there will be no pro-freedom, principled people to oppose it. The travesty is that the majority of the American people, the ones who voted as they did in 2012, cannot be expected to oppose it.

If free speech and free elections survive the onslaught of the continuing and worsening Obama economic regime, then perhaps we’ll finally see the birth of a second party that may, mercifully, be in favor of individual rights. But so what? The majority of Americans don’t want that and would not vote for it. They want safety and security, or what they think is safety and security, and are willing to give up their freedoms to attain it.

Who knows, maybe millions of Americans will change their minds. But how cooperative will Obama and other politicians be when they have to let go of the expanded power they were handed so freely? Not at all.

In a democracy, it’s said that people get the government that a majority of them deserve. It’s true, and Thomas Jefferson was right as well.

That’s why we were never supposed to be a democracy, in that strictest sense. But we are one now — a socialist democracy, for all practical purposes — and the majority will, rest assured, get exactly what they deserve in the months and years ahead.

No doubt they will always blame something or someone else for the evolving calamity that socialist democracy will bring down onto America. Yes, they’ll get what they deserve, and the fault will be their own.

Individuals sometimes wake up, end their addictions and completely reverse course in life-transforming ways. I hope the same for America, at least in the long run. The nature of reality, as a place where values can only be achieved through freedom and reason, leaves humankind with no other choice.

The truth really can set us free. First, we have to face it.


Dr. Hurd has a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Psychology, Saybrook Institute, San Francisco, CA, November 1991. Degree awarded With Distinction. Master’s of Social Work (M.S.W.), Clinical, The University of Maryland at Baltimore, May 1988. Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A.), Psychology, Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, May 1985. Distinguished Psychology Student Award, Phi Beta Kappa, Summa Cum Laude. Dr. Hurd blogs at


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The Corruption of America

9/12 – the Manhattan attack that gave us Obama

Obama Has Stolen $5.3 Trillion From Our Children In Order To Make Himself Look Good

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