Safety Net: The Path to Slavery

For those that grew up in a “typical” family, it was always comforting to know that “daddy” was always there to protect and support you, and “mommy” was always there to comfort you and heal you. It was a pleasant feeling to know that someone was always there to take care of you—to love and protect you regardless of what you did. No matter what happened, you could always “go home” for solace and healing. It’s a tough thing to give up.

As a child, the situation is necessary. However, as a child, it never occurred to us that we were paying a price for this state of affairs. It was a necessary price, but a price nonetheless. The price was obedience and loss of freedom (actually, not a “loss”, since we never had it). You cannot have someone feed you without expecting them to determine what food you eat. You cannot have someone heal you without expecting them to determine the medication (or doctor/method) used. You cannot have someone provide you with a bed, without expecting them to determine the type, size, and place of that bed (home). The clothes they buy you are the clothes THEY buy you—THEY have the final say. If “they” are paying the bills, YOU must pay “the piper”.

As we grow older, we take on more responsibility. We get a job and support ourselves, giving up the security of the home for the independence and freedom of adulthood. We buy our own food and cook it. Some of us get food stamps—and that limits what we can buy for food. We pay for our medical attention. Some of us seek government aid—and we are limited to what doctors we can patronize. We get our own housing and pay our own rent. Some of us seek government assistance—and we are limited to the types of housing we can obtain and the amount of rent we can pay.

It is said that the “government must provide a ‘safety net’ for the citizens”. To my way of thinking, the purpose of a safety net is to protect someone from harm that is doing something they shouldn’t be attempting; and allows the attempt of just all kinds of stupid deeds and inappropriate, unsuitable behavior. One must wonder if the citizens would save for their own retirement if Social Security were not available. One must wonder if the citizens would save for periods of unemployment if unemployment insurance were not available. Does the availability of “Small Business Loans” (which do not have to be repaid if the business goes bankrupt) allow people to go into business rather cavalierly without raising their own money and thus almost guarantee failure? With no penalty for failure, do they not limit the effort put forth? Does the student in high school not worry about saving for college because of the availability of student loans? Does our present illegitimacy rate stem from the “safety net” of welfare?

I wonder if the wish for a government “safety net” is just a longing for the childhood security we remember so fondly. Is it a desire for “mommy” and “daddy” to comfort us and protect us from the consequences of our own behavior and “make things better” as only parents can do. Is it to take the place of our parents and take care of and support us so we don’t have to suffer the responsibilities of adulthood and the consequences of our actions? Is the present trend toward “children” staying at home until the mid or late twenties indicative of something other than economics?

I hope not, because one must remember the OTHER aspects of childhood. Being told when and what to eat; where and when to go; when to come home; who you can and cannot see; what chores you must do and when you must do them; what to wear; what you must NOT do; where you must not go. Remember hoping someone will GIVE you what you want—perhaps for Christmas or a birthday? That was also a part of childhood. I fear the present desire (perhaps craving) in our population for security and the demands that our government “provide” for the population—everything from bread to disaster relief; from medical care to housing; from “A” to “Z”. The government that will “provide” for us and make us “secure” will also enslave us.

Ben Franklin said, “Those that would give up liberty for security will have neither.” Ben Franklin was correct. Just how “secure” are you if someone ELSE has control over your food, shelter, medical attention, and safety? Do you dare to challenge that “person”?

The left has said that “the people” believe in God as a replacement for their father. It is comforting to believe that there is “someone” who knows everything and looks out for you. They say that there appears to be an innate need for humans to believe this, but it simply isn’t a true belief. There is no God. I cannot dispute the left. I do not know if they are correct or not. On the other hand, it is transparently obvious to ME that the left has simply substituted “government” for “God”.


I am haunted by the specter of the people on that overpass during hurricane Katrina. They stood there and waited for help. It never occurred to them to help themselves by walking north. When no help was forthcoming, they began to chant, “We want help. We want help. We want help.” It was very clear to ME that they perceived that the way to get help was to “demonstrate” and demand it—to create a disturbance until someone took notice of them and helped them so they would be silent. It was so similar to a child throwing a tantrum that no imagination was needed to draw the parallel. It was clear that they were going to stand there and scream until “daddy” (government) came along and solved their problem. It never dawned upon them that no one was withholding help, there was simply no help to give. What have the “safety nets” done TO our population, not FOR our population? May God help us. We are clearly incapable of helping ourselves—like a papoose that has been carried to long, we cannot walk.

It is an interesting observation that in shielding our citizens from the consequences of their own actions, we have provided “mercy”—and cheated justice.

Anthony De Maio

September 28, 2009

The Daily Reckoning