As noted in Part III of this article, the premise of the anything-goes society is that people have a right to have their desires fulfilled, which brings to mind Margaret Thatcher’s simple but profound insight, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
In the early stages of the moral revolution, people’s desires were fulfilled primarily through direct taxation, but, as the British discovered in the late 18th century, onerous taxes are an invitation to rebellion. Thus, governments long ago discovered the efficacy of creating paper money with no inherent value as a way of making additional taxes invisible.
While holders of U.S. dollars were no doubt startled when FDR confiscated their gold in 1933, gradualism eventually won out and a new “socially enlightened” generation ignored the fact that paper dollars were supposed to be IOU’s for real money (i.e., gold). As a result, today’s dollars are really “IOU‑Nothings.”
The devolution of the dollar is quite easy to follow. The 1928 paper dollar bore the inscription “The United States of America will pay to the bearer on demand one dollar. Redeemable in gold on demand at the United States Treasury.”
By 1963, however, the inscription on the paper dollar had been changed to read, “This note is legal tender for all debts public or private.” Translation: “This piece of paper is money simply because the government says it is.” Note that when the dollar was backed by gold, it was not necessary for the government to state it was “legal tender,” because throughout history people have always known that gold is real money.
The creation of IOU‑Nothing money is called monetary inflation, which is an increase in the amount of paper currency in circulation. By injecting ever-greater doses of fiat currency into the economy, more and more money is made available to people on government programs. These recipients then use the newly created money to bid for the same goods and services as people who actually earn their money.
This bidding causes a chain reaction that forces prices and wages to rise throughout the economy, and it is the increase in prices that most people refer to as “inflation.” Technically speaking, of course, it is actually “price inflation.”
The slumbering public is kept sedated through a daily stream of intentional disinformation that ignores the distinction between monetary inflation (the cause) and price inflation (the result). People hear only about “inflation” and follow the government’s wild‑goose chases in search of the evil entity that is causing prices to rise.
The attractiveness of the inflation theft is that, as noted, it’s invisible. When people begin to get restless because of high taxes, monetary inflation is a way for government to steal from them without their being aware of it.
Best of all, monetary inflation provides the government with endless scapegoats as it frantically pretends to “fight inflation.” (Are you old enough to remember Gerald Ford’s silly WIN buttons?)
In such a morally bankrupt environment, where government’s use of force and fraud has achieved moral credibility, it’s understandable why a civilization disintegrates. When people know that the fruits of their labor can be taken from them by force, and that the theft will be accepted as a moral action, the gates to an anything‑goes society swing wide open.
Once the use of force and fraud to achieve one’s ends is not only condoned but encouraged, the moral dominoes quickly begin to fall. It then becomes easy to give a moral stamp of approval to virtually any other action previously thought to be immoral or obscene.
After all, if one vice is acceptable, why not another … and another … and another? It’s only a matter of time until all other standards and values begin to crumble.
Thus, it is not surprising that we are surrounded by madness and contradiction. Encouraged by the might‑is‑right philosophy of lynch‑mob rule, people have come to believe they have a right to be rewarded just for being alive. The natural consequence of such perverse thinking is a total disregard for the lives and property of others.
As each new generation grows up under the umbrella of the desires‑are‑rights morality, people’s desires, predictably, increase. From elementary school through college, government‑educated instructors “help” young minds make the transition from desires to needs to rights.
As more and more young adults come to accept desires as rights, and as each person’s desires continue to increase, ever greater amounts of wealth must be taken from productive members of society in order to fulfill those desires. Obviously, this motivates still more people to become “needy” and less productive, thus the cycle becomes self-perpetuating.
Unfortunately, all the force and fraud government can bring to bear is not enough to appease a society that has reached the anything‑goes stage. When politicians can no longer satisfy the insatiable demands of voters, those same voters become indignant and proclaim that their “rights are being violated.”
What a remarkable evolution: People who in previous decades were poor and humble are now poor and militant!
As the situation deteriorates, these people come to realize that there is strength in numbers and increasingly group themselves together. Each group becomes ever more hostile as it demands that its “rights” be guaranteed — i.e., that the government employ force against other members of society to gain their “cooperation” in helping to fulfill the desires of the group’s members.
At that point, lynch‑mob rule is beyond control, as each group demands that the lynching apparatus be used on behalf of its members. As productivity rapidly decreases and demands continue to increase, there is simply not enough wealth to go around.
And as people’s desires fail to be met, they become increasingly angry and, ultimately, turn to violence. At some point, either the existing government has to step in and impose martial law or a new government arises to suppress social chaos.
Unfortunately, there is overwhelming historical evidence that when a social order breaks down and anarchy and pandemonium reign, both citizens and elected officials not only yield to dictatorial power, they welcome it. History repeats itself, because human nature genetically repeats itself generation after generation.
Austrian economist and Nobel laureate F. A. Hayek explains man’s stubborn attraction to self‑deception this way: “It seems almost as if we did not want to understand the development which has produced totalitarianism because such an understanding might destroy some of the dearest illusions to which we are determined to cling.”
Today, the dearest illusion to which citizens of Western countries cling is the belief that they have a right to have their desires satisfied by others. Which is why it is absolutely imperative the United States begin to dismantle its anything-goes culture.
Will President Trump have the courage to lead the charge? We shall see. But until and unless the public is told, in bold, unapologetic terms, that people do not have a right to have their desires fulfilled by others, the collapse of our culture will continue unabated.
America escaped a totalitarian bullet during its eight years of desires‑are‑rights thinking under Obama, but the next time it won’t be so lucky.