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Congressional Elections Are a Big Waste of Money

Congressional Elections

Like other congressional elections, millions of dollars have been spent on electoral campaigns in the run-up to the elections tomorrow. It’s one horrific waste of time, energy, and resources for the citizenry. Whoever wins a seat in Congress — Democrat or Republican — nothing fundamental will change. We all know that. That’s because both Democrats and Republicans believe in the welfare-warfare state system under which we all live. The congressional fights are over who is going to control the system.

Imagine that we still had slavery here in the United States. Today’s Democrat and Republican congressional candidates would not be discussing and debating whether we should have such a system. They would be fighting over which side was going to be in charge of the system.

The Democrat candidate might be calling for helping the slaves by forcing slave-owners to pay them a nominal wage and provide them with shorter work days. His Republican opponent might be calling for mandatory state schooling for slave children and more nutritious meals so that the slaves would work better and harder.

Regardless of which candidate won, however, the fundamental nature of the system would remain unchanged. While the daily lives of the slaves might be improved depending on which candidate won, the fact is that the slave would remain a slave.

That’s what goes on with congressional (and presidential) elections here in the United States. One candidate might propose a reduction in federal spending or taxes while another might call for some reform of the NSA. But the plight of the American citizen will not change in a fundamental sense. He will remain a serf within society, even if his situation would be improved somewhat by one candidate or another.

What should matter, especially to a serf or slave, is the concept of freedom.

That concept certainly doesn’t matter to congressional candidates and, in fact, to the many people who support and vote for them.

First, every single Republican and Democrat congressional candidate believes in the welfare-state apparatus that President Franklin Roosevelt grafted onto our constitutional order during the 1930s. They believe that it is a proper role of government to mandate charity — to force people to be good and caring toward others.

Thus, it’s no surprise that Democrat and Republican congressional candidates never advocate the repeal of welfare-state programs, especially the big ones that are sending America toward bankruptcy. That’s because both Democrats and Republicans believe in the welfare state.

The same goes for the warfare state, the gigantic military apparatus consisting of the military-industrial complex, the CIA, the NSA, and the thousands of overseas and domestic military bases. Both Democrats and Republicans favor all that, along with the invasions, occupations, foreign aid, support of ruthless dictators, and foreign regime-change operations. They both embrace the “war on terrorism,” a war that, by their own admission, is going to last a very long time, given that their overseas policies produce the very terrorist threat that they lament.

They all favor the CIA and the NSA, two of the most nefarious and sinister agencies in history. Oh sure, the candidates might call for reform, but the thought of ridding our society of these dark spots is anathema to both Republicans and Democrats.

Republican and Democrat congressional candidates favor the war on drugs. Some want to fight it more fiercely and some want reforms, such as on mandatory-minimum sentences. But the idea of ending the war on drugs is something that has not been discussed or debated during the congressional campaigns.

The IRS and the Federal Reserve? Both Republicans and Democrats love them, even as they feign outrage over abuses that are oftentimes pointed out. The last thing these candidates are going to do is dismantle the machine that provides the government with the money that is used to fund the welfare-warfare state system.

So what’s the point of all that money going into congressional campaigns? It’s about power. People want their party in charge of the welfare-warfare state apparatus. They think that their party will maneuver the apparatus to slightly improve their particular plight.

Of course, it never happens. One party gets into power and things only get worse. That upsets voters and so they turn to the party. But things only get worse, and so voters return to the other party. It’s just one big, expensive gave of musical chairs. At best, the plight of the serf might improve but nothing ever changes in a fundamental sense.

So, what will bring about massive, revolutionary change to our nation? Only a change in public opinion will do that. When people’s attitudes change, that change will inevitably be manifested by those running for congress. The mindsets of the candidates simply reflect the mindsets of the citizenry.

That means that the American people must begin asking themselves fundamental questions regarding freedom and the role of government in a free society.

Can people truly be considered free in a system of mandated charity?

Can people truly be considered free in a system where the government wields the power and ability to invade and occupy foreign countries and assassinate, incarcerate, torture, and spy on people, including its own citizens?

Can people truly be considered free in a system where the government can punish people for ingesting substances that the government doesn’t approve of?

Can people truly be considered free in a system where the government, operating through the IRS and the Federal Reserve, wields the authority to take whatever money it wants from the citizenry?

When the day comes that people are requiring candidates for congressional office to discuss and debate those types of fundamental questions, congressional campaigns will have meaning. Until that day, they will continue to be an enormous waste of time, energy, and money.

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

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