Isabel Paterson made this most clear to me. Or, it was when I was reading her words that it became the most clear to me. It is one of those intuitively certain points that has radical implications for policy on the micro and macro level.
Production must take precedence over aid. When the demand for aid takes precedence over production it is deadly to both. This is important in the theraeputic state. It is a place that leans naturally in the direction of using aggression to demand of production forced and increasing percentages of production for aid. Its demands are rooted in a woefully under-interrogated moral framework that crowns the giver as king, and that king as somehow independent of production except that it has the right to demand of production.
In this fantasy there are innocent, angelic needy and greedy, guilty, demonic producers and then there is this divine like violence and aggression that enters between the two saving the innocent, angelic needy and punishing the greedy, guilty, demonic producer. As the narrative relations take deeper root what happens is that the category of needy innocence grows as production is aggressed against thus appearing to justify further violence by the aggressor.
The grand finale is the moment of right view–production overlooked and unable to preserve itself under the weight of state aggression and violence leaves to greener pastures. But there are stages. There is the gorging by the needy on what had to be left behind in order to escape with what could be carried. This feels like a feast to the needy and teh aggressive state will appear as grander than ever. It is what follows where the tragedy begins to enter appearance.
The state, having driven production from its midst must find someone new to blame for the lack of loot to distribute to the needy. It will simply be those who have the most stored after those with the most stored have been able to safely get out. Protests, looting, theft, violence all is justified. The new most stored flees with what it an carry leaving scraps to give the appearance of something like victory to the aggressor and his needy warriors. Rinse and repeat.
Eventually all who are left to play the role of victim and villian are members of what was the tribe of needy and aggressor. Cannibalism like cannibalism commences as teh habit of turning on someone else takes over and the demand to fill need from violence moves the players.
How is the process halted? Production. Someone, a community, decides to make safe room for the conversions of whatever land and material is available, decides to engage with attention and effort and innovation, decides to produce. Then, given the limited nature of both land and skill at any locale some of what is produced is consumed, some saved, and some traded for other goods that were easier to produce elsewhere.
The state aggression of violently confiscating property (taxes) and confiscating savings (currency debasement) only harms that which makes any aid possible. It only increases those who live parasitically off of production and thus add to the weight that must be carried. There is no way around this deep truth. Production must be able to maintain itself in order to maintain aid. Produciton must come first. The theraeputic state moves in the opposite direction.
“Objection your honor! Objection. Look at the Scandinavian Model. Look at Communist China. Look at the prosperity of some communities with high levels of what you call violence.”
The response must be short and inadequate. But I will begin an attempt that can only be continued in voluntary and civil investigation: there are ways in which the Scandinavian nations have lower taxes than the US. They do less violence not more in corporate taxation. They also have sounder financial institutions on average. There also appears to be a trend of lessening state violence through taxation in Sweden and Denmark as if the limits of that model have been reached and the need to keep produciton happy has begun to show itself.
I will, in addition, turn the reader to the Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Liberty. It is one of the best macro-pictures of the relationship between variables like ease of starting business, property rights, judicial fairness, low taxes AND prosperity. If you trust empirical data collection and correlation at all (and how can you not) you will have to admit the strong correlation between liberty and prosperity. The correlation is emphatically NOT between aid and prosperity. It is the liberty and property that make possible the production that makes possible the aid.
Finally, large trends can have aberrations that appear stable but are not. Communist China as indeed plowed onto the world stage over the last four decades and now dominates production through central planning. The first point to note is that it is ALL on the back of innovation and demand in the places that preserve liberty. It is dependent on that. The history of centrally planned economies is a warning that should be taken seriously. Now is not the time to make the argument in favor of decentralized decision making. But it exists. I want to admit China’s temporary success. But I would not count it a stable data point against the maintenance of free production and property.