Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Cynicism in the Service of Statism


Otto Von Bismarck was the inventor of the Welfare State. He was explicit about his reasons, saying in support of Germany's 1883 welfare-state laws:
“That the state should assist its needy citizens to a greater degree than before is not only a Christian and humanitarian duty, of which the state apparatus should be fully conscious: it is also a task to be undertaken for the preservation of the state itself. The goal of this task is to nurture among the unpropertied classes of the population, which are the most numerous as well as least informed, the view that the state is not only a necessary but also a beneficent institution.”
As philosopher Stephen Hicks summarises, his reasons were:
  1. a political application of Christianity, and
  2. a way to get the “unpropertied classes” to think well of the state and
  3. become dependent upon it, thereby
  4. ensuring the unpropertied’s ongoing support of the state.
You might call it Cynicism in the Service of Statism.

Reflect on that when you're wondering why the Welfare State will seemingly never go away, despite its long-term and lingering failure to ever relieve the poverty that it ever maintains to be its aim.
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