Dan Popp
Why can't we just tell the truth?
By Dan Popp
June 2, 2014

Thou art the Truth, who presidest over all things, but I, through my covetousness, wished not to lose Thee, but with Thee wished to possess a lie.... So then I lost Thee, because Thou deignest not to be enjoyed with a lie. – Augustine

Senator Mike Lee is only the latest in a long line of conservatives to surrender to despair and call it realism. As I wrote in my most recent entry in this column, Lee, Eric Cantor, the American Enterprise Institute and others are now pushing their own unconstitutional agenda under the banner of "Reformed (or Reform) Conservatism." But if conservatives won't tell the truth, who will? And if not now, when?

We're living in a unique historical moment. Three giant socialist programs from three different eras are collapsing simultaneously. And not somewhere around the globe, either – it's happening around our ears. Social Security, the 80-year-old pockmark of the New Deal; the utopian Great Society programs of 50 years ago; and present-day Obamacare are all crumbling like neglected bridges to nowhere.

Social Security was sold to the American people as a retirement fund. That was a lie. It was sold to the Supreme Court as a tax (though unlike the ACA, the government had to actually argue its case). That was a lie. Leftists now say it's insurance. That is a lie. The truth about Social Security is that the federal government has no authority to establish retirement programs or insurance policies. The truth is that it's a Ponzi scheme, doomed to crash – the only question being whether it will take the entire US economic system with it. The only way to "fix" a pyramid scheme is to end it. That is the vision our conservative leaders should be presenting.

But – but – but – "We can't get rid of Social Security – too many people depend on it." Wow, how compelling. If only Chile and approximately 30 other countries hadn't already privatized their Social Security systems, that would sound really plausible.

I suspect that many Americans already know that everything about Social Security is a lie. But they don't want to face the facts. Eventually, they'll have no choice.

Conservatives are also supposed to bow before the lie that the Great Society programs have been successful – or, if they're colossal failures, we can't get rid of them. The initial goal of the massive giveaway programs proposed by Kennedy and implemented by Johnson was to "end poverty." I cannot make this stuff up. "Our aim is not only to relieve the symptoms of poverty, but to cure it, and, above all, to prevent it," said Lyndon B. Johnson.

(This quote is often misattributed to Willy Wonka.)

LBJ wasn't the first nutcase in the White House, though. Herbert Hoover had said, "We have not yet reached the goal but... we shall soon, with the help of God, be in sight of the day when poverty shall be banished from this nation." Then the band played his campaign song, I Am the Walrus.

Making poverty obsolete is not the express goal of "antipoverty" programs today, of course. The goals shift as the original goals become too laughable, but the programs remain – and grow. Why can't conservatives just tell the truth: That the US lost the War on Poverty because poverty cannot be alleviated by government programs; that coerced charity is not charity; that the poor have been harmed immeasurably by these programs because we've incentivized the breakdown of the family, rewarded sloth, and trapped the poor in dependency?

Oh, but without bureaucratic almsgiving, "people would die in the streets!" Lie. No one was dying in the streets in 1964. Poverty in America had been declining for decades when the "War on Poverty" was implemented. It should be obvious, then, that the purpose of these programs was not to help the poor. The purpose was to allow politicians to buy votes by pretending to help the poor. Benevolence programs still, as James Madison said, have not been found in the Constitution. They are bankrupting America for the sake of Marx' myth of class warfare.

And by the way, any politician who proposes to use the gun of government to aid the "middle class" (at the expense, necessarily, of other "classes") should be laughed off the stage. There were no classes in America until Marx' delusions came into vogue.

Obamacare is the third supersized cup of sewage sold as Chardonnay. It took people a couple of generations to realize that Social Security is a lie. Some people still aren't awake to the lies of the Great Society. But in one very brief period we saw with our own eyes the magical promises of Affordable Health Care for All vanish into thin air. We heard the lies about helping the uninsured, and then the admission that most of them will remain uninsured. "If you like your doctor, you can keep him, period – unless my lips are moving." Promised lower costs are shown to be much higher costs. Not adding a dime to the deficit means exploding the deficit (as all government giveaways do). Mocking dismissals of "death panels" turn into IPAB, then the discovery of massive, systematic denials of care already going on at VA hospitals. Soon we'll all have fewer options to meet our medical needs, they won't be as good, and they'll cost a lot more.

And we see it.

Conservatives could use Obamacare as a case study typifying all liberal do-gooder programs: They usurp powers not granted to the government, and so increase lawlessness and decrease liberty; they balloon costs and quickly exhaust all available resources; and they hurt those they're supposed to help. They're lies.

The simple, though not easy, remedy for lies is to tell the truth.

© Dan Popp


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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