America’s Dysfunction – Causal Factors and Solutions


About the author: David is executive director and founder of CEOs for Liberty, a private membership-only group for CEOs, business owners, and executives with a mission to enhance and protect American business exceptionalism. David founded CFL in 2011 given his concer ... [read 's FULL BIO]

Robert Higgs, author of “Crisis and Leviathan” said, “Few citizens possess much accurate information about political issues or the actions of politicians; nor do many citizens have much incentive to inform themselves better”. This lack of knowledge is referred to as “rational ignorance”.

America’s “rational ignorance” has been conditioned, educated, entertained, and parented for generations now… and we are surprised at the result. We should only be surprised that it has taken us this long to figure out our real dysfunction and our Achilles heel.

Today, we’re reaping the whirlwind of “rational ignorance”… a designed rational ignorance. Those with designs on collectivist tyranny (socialism, communism, fascism) realize the least-cost route to control is education, or better, mis-education.

For generations now the “progressive” movement has been preparing America for just this collectivist tyranny. Now, they see the U.S. electorate is closer to ‘ripe’ and I believe they are leveraging this fact to the hilt.

The fact voters could re-elect a complete fiscal and leadership failure is telling. The fact voters support policy and action completely mis-aligned with bedrock American principles and values, is telling. The fact that no serious attempts have been made in the last four years to provide a real budget… NO BUDGET… is nightmarishly telling. The fact that as recent as this week, a deal has been struck to increase taxes for 77% of Americans while showing no intention of reducing debt and deficit to avoid a “fiscal cliff” crisis is tragically, nightmarishly, and astoundingly telling. (Yes, so much so that new words need to be minted to communicate the nature of this beast.) No real solutions, only work to further erode our liberties (2nd Amendment passionately in their sights).

With the WWII generation leaving us, we are losing a generation of voters who truly understood the price and value of liberty. Yet today, 30% of the WWII generation’s grand-children (voters 30 and under), see “socialism” as a viable alternative to capitalism. Still, most “conservatives” have no idea what we’re really fighting and that this “progressive” movement has been underway since the late 1800s.

The solution? Now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their own and future generation’s liberty…

– We need to all take individual responsibility to get accurate information and understand the actions of politicians and those they bed (a.k.a. cronyism). We need to learn real history, economics, and what is really going on (as a hint, you won’t find real history anywhere in the mainstream media, entertainment, or education, by design).

– We all need to make sure our actions and results count in our spheres of influence and to wake up those “rationally ignorant” around us. We need to start here to impact broader knowledge and awareness (yes, even here on Facebook and in other forums… much to the chagrin of those unaware and desiring to “not get involved” in politics outside of last minute emotive voting … a futile goal as we are all involved regardless our “rational” participation, or not).

– Finally, we need to take personal responsibility for the education of our children (if not able to home school, closely monitor and augment public education. Augment with organizations like FEE.org, Mises.org, Independent Institute, CATO, Learn Liberty.org, and so forth. And, we need to parallel through upper levels of education via the former.)

The only other alternative is revolution of which I am not a supporter given the many potential harsher unknown outcomes of chaos (out of the frying pan and into the fire).

I am providing the link to “Crisis and Leviathan” below, for your reading pleasure. It is an important, if not absolutely necessary, read, given today’s many “crises” and resulting stunning growth of government.

Also, here is a quick excerpt from a review of this book, which nicely summarizes Higgs’ thesis: “Higgs argues that modern Big Government is an outgrowth of a major ideological shift, which in turn is related to perceptions about costs. During crises, the public demands that government “do something” to solve the problem, whatever it is. Government’s comparative advantage is not in solving problems more efficiently than the market, but in hiding the true costs of its actions. The public is systematically misled about the actual cost of government action such as regulations, controls, and inflationary finance, so that voters falsely perceive government programs as much less costly than they really are. As a result, the general public has increasingly adopted a pro—Big Government ideology, which serves to generate voter support for even more government programs. After the crisis ends, government does not return to its original, pre-crisis level because the newly created bureaucracies fight tenaciously to prevent themselves from being eliminated. So, while government may decline somewhat in size after the crisis passes, it remains on a higher ‘growth path.’ ”

(From Review by Gary Anderson http://www.cato.org/sites/cato.org/files/serials/files/cato-journal/1988/11/cj8n2-14.pdf)

“Crisis and Leviathan” link http://www.amazon.com/Crisis-Leviathan-Critical-Government-Institute/dp/019505900X

(C) David M Chaney 2012

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