All of my life, I have heard liberals go on about their good intentions despite the facts and laws of nature that confound them, and all along the way, I’ve heard conservatives lament this situation and chastise the liberals with the well-worn retort: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” I’ve always politely listened to this and nodded in agreement, considering all the ways in which the welfare-state has failed despite the alleged character of the intentions of those who had built it. More recently I have realized that I had been mistaken about the value of the statement, in part because I now doubt whether the intentions of liberals had been good, but in greater measure because I now know the road to Hell is paved with broken, beaten, bloodied, human corpses, and yet the road to Hell is merely a sample of what statists intend.
There are those who will assail me for attacking the sincerity of the intentions or motives of our statist enemies. In fact, there are those who would run from the notion of our political opponents as enemies. “Say ‘Adversaries,’ Mark. ‘Enemies’ is much too inflammatory.” Damn me to Hell, but I will not conceal it further: The people against whom we now fight for control of this nation are not adversaries, or opponents, because what they intend is to overturn the system of government we had created in our former wisdom to protect us…against them. What you have been witnessing is the slow-motion counter-revolution that intends to destroy the liberties our founders had enshrined. Let’s not pretend any longer that these statists are like the opposing team in a football game, and that win, lose or draw, at the end of the game they’ll shake hands and say “good game” in an act of sportsmanlike conduct. They will never afford it to you, and you should never afford it to them.
Our Congress voted to control your physical being in 2010, and your president happily signed the bill into law. With this law, they will now control you, your body, and more of your income, as if the latter matters any longer given the former. Under Obamacare, you will have become the property of the state inasmuch as they will control the manner in which you seek healthcare, at what price, from whom, and where. Is this the action of an “adversary” or an “opponent?” The manner of the implementation means that you won’t know it until after you’ve re-elected him, at least not by virtue of what it will deliver or demand. Do you think such an implementation was born of good intentions? If so, good by whose standards? Yours? Or theirs?
Our so-called ‘opponents’ don’t play by the same rules by which you have been accustomed to playing. It’s much like the matter of the Geneva conventions, the so-called “rules of war,” to which the United States has customarily and scrupulously remained in observance, but which our ‘adversaries’ frequently ignore. The rules many of us were taught as soldiers tell us that we must observe these rules, even to our own tactical detriment, even when our enemy commits gross violations of them. It has cost us dearly, in lives and treasure, and it has done nothing to improve our moral standing in the world, that now regards us as fools and suckers.
In politics, the rules are even more muddled, but once again, we conservatives feel duty-bound to observe the rules irrespective of the crossing of these not-so-bright lines by our so-called adversaries. Does it ever hurt them? Do they ever pay a penalty? Do they ever face some sort of comeuppance? No. What does it benefit us to make peaceful overtures to them when we know already that they view us as their enemy? None other than Chris Matthews told us after Obama spoke at West Point to the cadets that he had “gone to the enemy camp.” Matthews came out with an apology, but who believes his apology given his record? Who thinks Chris Matthews doesn’t view West Point cadets as the enemy?
Meanwhile, we are told to understand that so-called “liberals” have the best of intentions even if they’re occasionally misguided. After all, they only want “what is best for the most people.” Best? By whose accounting? Well, theirs, of course. How many among my admittedly conservative-leaning readership believe that when the left constructs their welfare programs, they have the “best for the most” in mind when they design these programs? Do you instead believe, as I do, that the left intends to use these programs in order to increase their power and hold over the lives of the people? Do you believe, as I do, that their first and last motive in every issue is the acquisition, enlargement and maintenance of power over the lives of most people? If you believe the latter propositions, then how do you propose to argue that their intentions had been good?
Do you instead argue that while their leaders clearly exhibit an ill will toward liberty, that the ran-and-file are merely pawns, or “useful idiots,” who bear no evil intent? This particular fallacious argument bothers me because it imbues them with an innocence their behaviors simply don’t warrant. Can you tell me which among these “dupes” or “pawns” or “useful idiots” don’t think they will gain unearned loot or benefit from such a system? Put another way, how many of these do you suppose go to the polls with any idea except how to carve another slice from your pie? Are these the good intentions of which you would convince me?
You might ask me about my claim that the road to Hell is paved with human corpses. After all, you might argue, they haven’t killed anyone yet. Are you certain? After all, these are the people who look at the notion of governance and conclude that “if you want to make an omelet…” Tell that to the 46,000 or more people who have been killed on America’s roadways as a result of their CAFE standards for vehicles. I suppose it’s far easier to write off those deaths, and the even more numerable serious injuries as long as it hadn’t been you or somebody you loved.
You might want to offer that their various welfare programs haven’t killed anybody, but in this too, I disagree. It kills both those taxed to provide it and those who become addicted to it, though by different means. Money is a store of value for future expenditure under as-yet unknown conditions. Each unit of money and value you are able to save is one more moment of life you can enjoy for your own pursuits. It’s one moment fewer that you must take orders from somebody else. It’s one moment more of sleep, of dreaming, of relaxing, of discovering, or whatever it is you do that makes you happy. It’s one more nice dinner to take your beloved, or one more family outing to share, but in all ways, money is used to purchase more of what you want to do and less of what you don’t. In this sense, money really is time, and it’s yours, because you’ve earned it. Each penny the government strips from your pocket is one more dollar you won’t have in forty years time.
The recipients of your money in all the various forms the welfare state delivers it also pay a penalty, because it permits them to stagnate and become comfortable in conditions you had been wise enough to avoid, or escape. Their children are not burdens, except to you, and their poor decisions and judgments exact no immediate toll in the form of the natural relation between cause and effect. In all ways but a few, they are indemnified against their own errors, because you carry the costs. Still, with all of this, they suffer from obesity and all attending diseases at a higher rate than you. Despite all you are compelled to provide, it turns out they’re being killed with kindness. Do you say these are the ends achieved by the alleged good intentions, but despite knowing all of this, the purveyors demand still more?
I contend to you that the statists know all of this, and more, that the results one hundred years of “progressivism” have wrought nothing but misery at all levels. Educational results are poorer. Unemployment is higher. Poverty is more widespread. Corruption is more frequent, and more severe. The measures by which our society has fallen are numerous, and those areas in which we have made actual progress are those less-regulated by government, but they will not remain that way for long as governments at all levels look to exploit the Internet.
You can claim that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but I submit to you that the evidence is precisely contrary to that claim: There are no good intentions on the part of the statists, and what paves the road to Hell is the broken dreams and lives of generations of Americans. The next time somebody offers you that old phrase, you might tell them otherwise. Part of our error has been to project our good intentions onto their motives, despite all the evidence in controversy. They tell us what they want is moral, but according to which moral standard? Whose? Not ours, surely. Too many among us have fallen into the belief that all morality equates to our morality, and they happily encourage the same among their flock, but the morality to which they adhere has no common ground with yours, and it’s long past time to realize it. Good intentions? By whose standards?