Dr. Higgs on Government Dependence

As usual, a thoughtful, and insightful column from Dr. Robert Higgs.

The Welfare State Neutralizes Potential Opponents by Making Them Dependent on Government Benefits – The Beacon: Fear of losing their government benefits effectively neutralizes them in regard to opposing the regime on whose seeming beneficence they rely for significant elements of their real income. Of course, for whatever voting may be worth, they vote directly or indirectly in overwhelming proportion for the continuation and budgetary enlargement of the government programs on which they depend. Hence, they help to produce seeming legitimacy for those at the top of the ruling hierarchy—a token of their appreciation for the crumbs their political masters drop on them.

As the ranks of those dependent on the welfare state continue to grow, the need for the rulers to pay attention to the ruled population diminishes. The masters know full well that the sheep will not bolt the enclosure in which the shepherds are making it possible for them to survive. Every person who becomes dependent on the state simultaneously becomes one less person who might act in some way to oppose the existing regime. Thus have modern governments gone greatly beyond the bread and circuses with which the Roman Caesars purchased the common people’s allegiance.

Related links re: Dr. Higgs:
Dr. Higgs Nails Right-Wing Hypocrisy
Dr. Robert Higgs On Liberty
Is War The Litmus Test For Libertarians?
‘These past 10 years have shown that America does not give in to fear’ …