Nanny Statism


[Editor's Note: The following post is by TDV Managing Editor, Redmond Weissenberger]

As a child, you have to rely on your parents for everything. Depending on how your parents deal with this dependency, your outlook on life will be shaped accordingly and the effects may last well into adulthood.


One of the most obvious differences between children and mature adults is what is known in the Austrian School as “time preference”. Children exhibit a high time preference, that is, they are unable or unwilling to put off gratification. In other words, they want everything now. Mature adults generally exhibit low time preference; they are able to look to the future, put off gratification, and understand that building their capital is necessary to build a better future for themselves.

Providing children with the discipline necessary to mature into adults with a low time preferences is essential for parents who hope to see their children (and even grandchildren) succeed over the long term. One could say these responsible parents invest and build up inter-generational capital to pay off over the long haul. This transference of wisdom is what builds the foundation of a civilized society and an increase in the standard of living over time.

Then there are those parents that give in to their children at every turn. Without discipline, they will hand over anything and everything their progeny ask for. Unless these children find a better role model, they simply will not learn the necessary discipline to plan for the future. Their future will be defined as having little incentive to work for a living.

In some cases, there is the nanny. Although there are certainly some good nannies out there, these professional caregivers generally don’t have the same desire as a parent to build a child’s character. They are more likely to give in to the demands of the children, or even bribe them, if only to spare themselves the hassle of having to reason with obnoxious or insatiable demands.

Herein lies the origin of the term “Nanny State”: A care provider outside the intimacy of the immediate family whose interests are not aligned with parental tradition.

In stark contrast to the nation founded in 1776 on the principles of limited government and self-reliance, the current state has morphed into one of the greatest Nanny States the world has ever known. Forget the bread and circuses of Rome, modern America is Applebees and 60” LCDs broadcasting NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL games 24-7 in Bose surround sound. The people are kept fat and happy as the political class runs roughshod over their rights.

The Nanny State depends on a combination of bribery and a constant “gimme gimme” attitude from the puerile adults it supports. It seeks to undermine the character of the sheep-like people who live within its borders — infantilizing them to a point where they are totally dependent through direct employment or subsidization. A total of eleven states now have more government employees and individuals on welfare than private sector workers. That means one fifth of American states have more parasites than producers.

This sad reality is a byproduct of the state and its monopoly on violence. By handing out gifts for votes, politicians easily win reelection. All the self-righteous do-gooders in the media and academia receive immense personal satisfaction by defending the welfare state from detractors. Like children, their time preference is short in that they only recognize the short-term benefits over the long-term harm dependency creates.

The election process itself promotes low time horizons. The people are taught to think only in two-year or four-year intervals. They build up anticipation under the presumption that elections truly matter. Of course, the state is bound to grow no matter who wins the electoral beauty pageant but that is not a consideration of the average voter. Getting a few extra crumbs from the plate of the ruling class is what elections are about. As long as Americans keep getting what they believe is “free” stuff, the exploitive scheme will continue.

The entitlement state turns what would otherwise be self-sufficient adults into groveling children. Rather than spend their lives doing productive work, they would rather game the welfare state to receive free medical care, free food, subsidized housing, and even free cell phones. These welfare junkies think they are being treated to something for nothing when in reality they are viewed as a herd to be corralled to the voting booth on demand.

It’s estimated that 47% of Americans don’t pay income tax. Yet this estimate understates the amount of taxpayers because it’s not clear that government employees are exempt from the measure. As the great economist Murray Rothbard showed, employees of the state pay no taxes- it’s just a deceptive accounting trick. With a record number of people on food stamps and riots over section 8 housing vouchers, America is decaying into a dole nation.

And ObamaCare has yet to be fully implemented.

The welfare mindset in the US will soon overwhelm the productive class to the point where a complete economic and social restructuring will have to occur. Unrest is certain as the loafers will take to the streets when the government checks start drying up. This has already been happening in Greece, Spain, and all over the Eurozone. For your own safety and your family’s, it may be time to start thinking in the long term and where you want to be when governments and their fiat currency finally go belly up.


Redmond Weissenberger is the Managing Editor of The Dollar Vigilante and the Founding Director of the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada, the centre for the study of the Austrian School of Economics within Canada.

Redmond founded the LvMIC in 2010 to address the lack of knowledge about the true cause of our booms and busts of the last 100 years and the need for sound money and sound economics to be applied to the Canadian and global economy.

Obamacare was the straw that broke this little brown editor’s back, good reader.

For most of my adult life I’d dreamed of getting a writing job that would let me work from anywhere…and then taking off on a tour of the world. Back then it was all about the romance and adventure of travel…and the lure of exotic women who find non-regional American accents irresistable…

Nowadays I do have that career that allows me to travel…and which often demands it. But now my plans to spend time outside of the US are based on outright disgust with the state which has since been stretched to much larger dimensions under the post-Clinton reign of King George (now in his fourth term).

I wasn’t alive when the federal mobsters started taxing income…or when FDR grew his alphabet soup of government meddling groups like a cinematic mad scientist grows an army of nightmare monsters…or when they instituted the draft (again)…

But I do get to be around as the federal government shoves its fat face and grubby mitts into everyone’s medical care, mucking around, increasing complications, increasing costs and killing job growth. More than the domestic drones, more than the roided up domestic law enforcement, I resent this new theft and complication to compliance.

If you do, too, then like Redmond said, it’s time to consider your options. Consider joining up with a less aggressive tax farmer, one who will let you keep more of what you earn and stay the hell out of your medical choices.


Gary Gibson
Editor, The Dollar Vigilante

avatarThe Dollar Vigilante - The Dollar Vigilante posted Friday, January 25th, 2013.

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