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Big Government Means Small People
Ten ways progressive policies harm society’s moral character


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Dennis Prager

While liberals are certain about the moral superiority of liberal policies, the truth is that those policies actually diminish a society’s moral character. Many individual liberals are fine people, but the policies they advocate tend to make a people worse. Here are ten reasons:

1. The bigger the government, the less the citizens do for one another. If the state will take care of me and my neighbors, why should I? This is why Western Europeans, people who have lived in welfare states far longer than Americans have, give less to charity and volunteer less time to others than do Americans of the same socioeconomic status.

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The greatest description of American civilization was written in the 19th century by the Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville. One of the differences distinguishing Americans from Europeans that he most marveled at was how much Americans — through myriad associations — took care of one another. Until Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt began the seemingly inexorable movement of America toward the European welfare state — vastly expanded later by other Democratic presidents — Americans took responsibility for one another and for themselves far more than they do today. Churches, Rotary Clubs, free-loan societies, and other voluntary associations were ubiquitous. As the state grew, however, all these associations declined. In Western Europe, they have virtually all disappeared.

2. The welfare state, though often well intended, is nevertheless a Ponzi scheme. Conservatives have known this for generations. But now any honest person must acknowledge it. The welfare state is predicated on collecting money from today’s workers in order to pay for those who paid in before them. Unfortunately, today’s workers don’t have enough money to sustain the scheme, because there are too few of them to do so. As a result, virtually every welfare state in Europe, along with many American states, like California, is going broke.

3. Citizens of liberal welfare states become increasingly narcissistic. The great preoccupations of vast numbers of Brits, Frenchmen, Germans, and other Western Europeans are how much vacation time they will have and how early they can retire and be supported by the state.

4. The liberal welfare state makes people disdain work. Americans work considerably harder than Western Europeans, and, contrary to liberal thought since Marx, work builds character.

5. Nothing more guarantees the erosion of character than getting something for nothing. In the liberal welfare state, one develops an entitlement mentality — another expression of narcissism. And the rhetoric of liberalism — labeling each new entitlement a “right” — reinforces this sense of entitlement.

6. The bigger the government, the more the corruption. As the famous truism goes, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Of course, big businesses are also often corrupt. But they are eventually caught or go out of business. The government cannot go out of business. And, unlike corrupt governments, corrupt businesses cannot print money and thereby devalue a nation’s currency, and they cannot arrest you.

7. The welfare state corrupts family life. Even many Democrats have acknowledged the destructive consequences of the welfare state on the underclass. It has rendered vast numbers of males unnecessary to females, who have looked to the state to support them and their children (and the more children, the more state support) rather than to husbands. In effect, these women took the state as their husband.



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