E. Jeffrey Ludwig
Government in the name of order, control, efficiency, organization, the greatest good for the greatest number, solidarity, social justice, and safety is instead ruling over a society that is increasingly disordered, crime-ridden, unjust, and disturbed to an extreme. A word that describes the direction of our acceleration through space and time is anarchy.
The momentum toward anarchy began with the move toward federal government expansion. During Woodrow Wilson's presidency, we began to see the implementation of what is now called the administrative state. This was helped along by our participation in WWI, which created the need for more governmental controls. This was followed by the massive Keynesian demand-side economics implemented by Franklin D. Roosevelt, the New Deal, and WWII.
Regulation grows by supposedly "meeting a need," but meeting a need leads from that point into greater regimentation. Greater regimentation means a suppression of individual freedom. This suppression produces a reaction that is anarchy. Therefore, we must be careful whenever we expand government with the premise that we are "meeting a need."
For example, more students are getting a college education, but the burdens are also increasing as ever greater numbers depend on student loans to get a college education (students often work, but working one's way through college has become less and less feasible). This in turn has given rise to a demand for free higher education. That demand is growing, as we see from Bernie Sanders's successes in the last election cycle, and Andrew Cuomo was able to push through a free tuition plan for public colleges in New York State. This free tuition is anything but a support for freedom, for indeed, it requires that students take a certain minimum number of credits and that they be full-time. It will gradually mean greater and greater control by the government over what is taught and what is required study for each student. Thus, easing the financial burden will increase other burdens and curtail freedom of thought and freedom of choice.
This intense regulation is in the name of problem-solving and replacing chaos with order. More and more police are hired to protect us, yet crimes proliferate even as law and order strategies, firepower, and sheer numbers of officers increase. In 1955, a little more than 22,000 police worked for the City of New York. Today, the number of police is over 36,000. Do the citizens of New York City feel safer than in the 1950s?
Here's a chart of the violent crime rate in the U.S. over the decades. While violent crime peaked in the 1990s, it is still more than double what it was in 1960. Yet we had an estimated 900,000 police officers nationally in 2014.
Thus, despite increased government controls of everyday life in education, policing, and citizen surveillance (don't forget those traffic tickets based on surveillance cameras), we observe increasing social anarchy. Let's look at a somewhat truncated list of what we have endured and are enduring as a society. We have seen horrible onslaughts as follows: World Trade Center and Dept. of Defense jihad attacks by men here on visas; Fort Hood jihad massacre; Boston Bombing jihad massacre; San Bernardino jihad massacre; Pulse Nightclub jihad massacre; riots in Berkeley, Ferguson, and Baltimore; cop shootings in Dallas and New York City; Sandy Hook massacre; Las Vegas massacre; Texas church massacre; Florida H.S. massacre; Chattanooga recruiting station attack; and jihad in Garland, Texas against Pamela Geller.
We see regular and frequent breakdowns of mass transit systems in metropolitan New York City and elsewhere, massive infiltration of our country by illegals (reminiscent of flooding in of Germanic tribes leading to collapse of the Roman Empire), and the drug use epidemic. (This writer just watched a show on Justice TV indicating that 1 out of 7 persons in Puerto Rico is a heroin/cocaine addict.) We see thirty-one "gender designations" by the City of New York with male and female demoted to being only two of the thirty-one. Recently the mayor of Oakland, Calif. notified 1,000 illegal alien felons (yes, felons – not just nice men and women scrambling to make a living) that ICE was coming for them. These developments suggest that anarchy is rife.
Thus, we see that the scope of government has grown and become more intrusive, but at the same time, anarchy seems to be racing forward at warp speed. The leftists seem to think the anarchy is growing because government, despite its growth, has not been growing big enough or fast enough. According to their thinking, growth in government power is the answer to anarchy. Isn't the purpose of a government to protect the citizens from the bad people and from the wrong activities that threaten social safety, unity, and order? However, given the present size, scope, and cost of our government, it never seems to occur to them that governmental policies have been wrongheaded and guided by a wrong philosophy or purpose for the past 100 years. It's not the size and power of the government that has been lacking; rather, the size and power have been put in the service of the wrong purpose.
To use a term from Greek philosophy, the telos (purpose) of government has been misplaced. Instead of designing laws and methods to enhance the dignity and freedom of the individuals living in our society, the government has been designing projects that are (1) guided exclusively or primarily by utilitarian goals of the greatest good for the greatest number or (2) by socialistic goals that government expansion is the greatest good in itself or (3) by identity politics, where the good of identity collectives is more important than the good of individuals.
The above three purposes of government diverge from the founding values of the United States. Those values are based on government's existence to promote the well-being of the individuals living under that government, individuals as individuals, not members of a subgrouping according to sex, race, age, occupation, mental functioning, health, etc. There is a divergence between the path taken by government and the philosophical premises of our society as built upon a foundation of Judeo-Christian morality. This writer used the word "telos" to also suggest that the Judeo-Christian moral basis or purpose of government is in tune with the foundations of antiquity. The Greek and Roman savants also understood that there is a necessary link between good governance and the well-being and happiness of the individual. But they did not appreciate the role of divine-centered and divine-inspired morality as the Christians did who came after them.
Government is considerably to blame for the anarchy that besets us. But the answer is not more government programs and more government authority. More government authority is not the answer to an anarchistic society. Rather, it is a government with a correct understanding of its purpose that is needed.
The true conservatives have it right. We need to go back to our Judeo-Christian moral roots based on biblical and natural law, and to checks and balances and federalism as understood by the Founders.