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The self-interest of dependency

By Robert T. Smith
web posted February 11, 2013

Summarized from Adam Smith's "invisible hand" of the free market, each individual's interest to maximize their own gains will benefit society, regardless of whether the individual's behavior is intended as a benevolent act.  As a paradox to this concept is the government-dependent citizen, who will also act in their own self-interest.  Based on the recent election results, those in a government-dependent situation form a clear voting block for our President. 

Based on the axiomatic truth put forth in the proverb: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day...Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime," our President and those who share his worldview appear a bit skewed in their approach. 

As an allegory, the point to the proverb is the competing wisdom of dependence versus self-sufficiency.  Allegorically giving fish can be food, medical care, electricity, or even in the case of President Obama, free cell phones and contraception.  Allegorically teaching a man to fish can be any of a number of actions meant to compel a person to provide for their own resources, to provide knowledge or an ethic of work and self-sufficiency, without the need for a contribution of welfare or other government-supplied largesse.  Intuitively, we all know that outside of a critical situation, "teaching a man to fish" is the virtuous act of a caring people.     

Promoting the conditions that encourage an individual to escape dependency or enhance the individual's ability to escape the system of dependency is not a primary concern to President Obama.  Working from the zero sum game of the President's collectivism, i.e., that there are finite resources that must be fairly distributed by the government, redistribution is the benevolent act assumed by the President and his collectivist system of government.  Worse, is the narcissism of being the "smartest person in the room" that our President seems to suffer - he being the best suited to deciding how all others shall live, who deserves what, how much of your own property you may keep, and the boundaries of your liberty and pursuit of happiness.  

We have all observed the dynamics of the recent Presidential elections, the usual red versus blue county-by-county summary of the winner and loser.  The typically blue urban centers are the hot beds of a complacent and apathetic citizenry, people who feel a sense of hopelessness over their lives' conditions and are dependent upon the government and their dear leader.  These urban areas are populated by many citizens who pay little or nothing at all to fund the government, and who are provided goods and services passed through the government, taken at the expense of their fellow citizens.  There is a demonstrated, many times generational dependency on taxpayer-supplied government largesse for their basic needs, and a continuous din for ever more - the individual's desire to maximize their own gains. 

Dependency lives where autonomy and the notion of self are given to the government.  Dependence is offered, not forced.  Bondage is the one way street where you have no choice; slavery as the example.  The line between dependency and bondage is at times hazy.  To those who limit their dependence on the government, it is difficult to comprehend the apparent preference for dependence evident in the recent voting patterns of the dependent and arguably bound class.  Ironically, an apparent trade has been made from the historic bondage to individual owners through slavery, a historic evil, to bondage to the federal government, self-inflicted by voting for what is arguably a contemporary evil.

The insidious creep of government has overtaken more and more of our fellow citizens, culminating in the humanity-killing dependence upon government handouts by so many of our fellow citizens.  The safety net protection against short-term life issues became the government-induced hammock of long-term dependency.  Over the decades, the slow-drip drug of dependence on government from left and right seeped into our political system, empowering government to expand, and displacing individual freedom to create a more collective society.  More government means less individual liberty and abundance.

The human conditions of dependency and self-interest are not new considerations.  As quoted from Aristotle "Every one thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual. For besides other considerations, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill." 

Therein lies the philosophical problem; a dependent class, desiring the necessities to sustain life, now expanded to be dependent upon the government for a multitude of goods and services, such as health care, "free" phones, and even contraception, will vote their self interest.  The more goods or services promised by the government, the broader and deeper dependency upon government becomes, and the line between dependency and bondage blurs. 

Those who cherish America's birthright of independent life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, are now apparently outvoted by the immoral providers of the proverbial fish, and the purveyors and benefactors of dependence and bondage to the omnipotent federal government – the self-interest of dependency has been institutionalized. ESR

Robert T. Smith is an environmental scientist who spends his days enjoying life and the pursuit of happiness with his family.  He confesses to cling to his liberty, guns and religion, with antipathy toward the arrogant ruling elites throughout the country.

 

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