Motives of Enslavement
April 30, 2007
All human beings are constructed of various degrees of mental-spiritual
strength, or what can be termed an innate inner resolve that
determines how they contend with reality. And a great deal of this
inner resolve is given to us at birth. In other words, we are born
into the world with an assortment of strengths and weaknesses that
drive us to become the persons we ultimately end up as. Such an assortment
is not a blueprint of predestination for us. Rather it is a directing
potential. It is the seed, that when mixed with the fertilizer of
ideas and the soil of circumstance, will determine what our lives
turn into. What is being ignored in our politically correct world
today is that this seed has a lot to do with what kind of government
we end up forming.
There is a scene from my youth, forever etched in my mind, that
gave me a profound insight into this crucial "inner resolve" that
drives some men and women to readily sanction statism and other men
and women to vehemently reject it.
It was a chilly winter day in 1956, and one of our family cats had
just given birth to her litter in the basement of our house. Mom
hustled my two brothers and I downstairs to view these newborns after
their arrival, and I will always be grateful to her for doing so.
I was very young at the time, but I learned about one of the great
truths of existence, and I don't mean the birth process. What I learned
took place in the days and weeks immediately following.
There were six kittens that came forth that snowy afternoon, and
within a matter of days, two of them were crawling their way out
to the sides of the box that had been fixed up for them and actually
attempting to climb over the edge. It didn't take them too long to
make it over the edge either and begin investigating the entire basement.
They were aggressively curious and wanted to know what was on the
other side. Right from the start they were amazingly assertive, willing
to tackle life, to find out, to fend off whatever was in the way.
Another two of the kittens were mildly curious and went about investigating
the center of the box, but never attempted to scale the sides. The
last two kittens hung back and remained under their mother's stomach
all the time, never venturing out to even the center of the box,
let alone to the world of wonderment beyond. They remained close
to their mother's womb for weeks, tremulous and content only to be taken
I didn't realize it at the time, but these newborn kittens were
providing me with my first lesson about welfare state mentalities.
Is not the kittens' example of assertive curiosity vs. passive dread
one of nature's analogies for political-economic man? The free
enterpriser wishes to venture out, "to climb over the edge," to
find out what the world is all about -- while the welfare statist compulsively
seeks a womb of security for his adult years by erecting a massive
Nanny State bureaucracy to care for himself and those of like disposition.
What else could motivate men and women to willingly fork
over more and more of their basic freedoms to the government every
year? Are not such men and women fleeing from the rigors of a free-market
Womb-Seekers and Misguided Idealists
Is it unfair to describe statist mentalities in such a way? Not
at all. Of course, not all advocates of statism are "womb-seekers" fleeing
from reality. Some are just "misguided idealists" unable to work
their way out of the collectivist brainwash they received in college.
But I think it is fair to say a sizable portion of statist mentalities
are subconsciously seeking a shield to protect themselves from the
unbearable anxiety they feel in face of life's vicissitudes. They
remain throughout their lives like the two kittens that preferred
the security of their mother's womb.
Which of these statist archetypes -- the "womb-seeker" or the "misguided
idealist" -- is more predominant among human beings is impossible
to say. But whenever you're dealing with big government advocates,
there's a good way to find out which archetype you're involved with.
See if you can get them to read the opposing literature of freedom.
How they respond will be a clue to their nature. If they're the misguided
idealist type, they will almost always take a stab at reading what
you offer. If they're the womb-seeker type, they will almost always
find a way to avoid reading what you offer. This is because the misguided
idealist is basically in search of the truth, and can often be reached.
Reason moves him. He wants to know what is the best kind of society.
Justice and individual rights mean something to him.
The womb-seeker, however, is fleeing from the truth. He seeks only
support for his previous convictions and shuns any literature that
could potentially upset his yearnings, his need to believe that capitalism
is evil, that massive statism is necessary for society. Blind emotions
move him -- the primary one being fear. He's not interested in what
is the best kind of society. Justice and individual rights are things
to pay lip service to only. What drives the womb-seeker is the pervasive
dread he feels in face of a society in which he will be required
to stand on his own. What drives him is the hatred he feels for a
society that, early in life, he sensed was never going to reward
his levels of ability and risk tolerance with the abundance of riches
and status he sees others achieving. What drives him is his desire
to level down the dynamic achievers he sees around him so as to assuage
the animosity he feels toward those he subconsciously deems as superior.
What drives him is his need to find a scapegoat on which to blame
his lack of success. Marxist political theory offers him that scapegoat.
Very early in life he embraces the Marxian myth that capitalism
has exploited him. "Whew! My failures are not my fault," he reasons. "It's
this evil system. If only America was built upon a purer form of
political-economic organization. Then I would be accorded my rightful
status in life. This damn indifference society has for me would no
longer exist. I would have respect. If only America was built upon
a socialist system where the wealth and status of men and women were
not dependent upon how much they individually produced! Then those
with purity of heart like me would be able to live the life we deserve."
Even though capitalism gives him a standard of living unparalleled
in history, and one that he could never attain in a collectivist
dominated society, the womb-seeker concentrates only on the disparity
between himself and the more dynamic achievers he sees around him.
He remains totally oblivious to the fact that a free, capitalist
society creates thousands of times more wealth for everyone than
does the controlled, socialist society. Envy consumes his waking
hours. He blanks out on the fact that being low class in a capitalist
society is far better than being high class in a socialist society.
And he tells himself that the confiscation of wealth he votes for
is for the poor people, not for any leveling of the dynamic people.
This is why all replies from this type of statist are laden with
bromides like, "Something has to be done for the people in Third
World countries," and "We cannot tolerate the disparities of wealth
we find in America." This is how he justifies the theft and leveling
through taxation that he espouses, and how he is able to avoid confronting
the debilitating envy that drives him.
The womb-seeker never bothers to try and understand that a rising
standard of living for society can only take place through continual "capital
accumulation," which can only take place if men and women are allowed
to retain their profits. He never bothers to understand that the
freer from government a society is, the higher its level of capital
accumulation will be, and therefore the more prosperous its people
will be (which means we need to teach Third World countries about
capitalism rather than redistribute American citizens' wealth to
This means that a free society's disparity of income because
of differences in merit is good, for it is such freedom and
differences that create the rising tide that lifts all boats. Only
when income is left up to the natural differences in individual
merit is there any incentive for men and women to be productive.
This is why socialist systems become wastelands; they stifle entrepreneurial
freedom and wealth based upon differences in merit, and thus "capital
accumulation" for society.
["Capital accumulation" to the economist means investment in productive
assets such as machinery, technology, tools, factories, farms, schools,
etc. -- anything that will produce products, services, education,
wealth, jobs, improvement in human life. It is this increase in capital
assets and equipment that increases realwages for workers because
it raises their productivity per man hour. A man with a tractor
can plow far more acreage, and thus produce far more, than a man
with a hand-held hoe. This continual increase and diversification
of capital, and its resultant productivity, is what allows industrial
employers to pay higher and higher wages and still stay competitive.
This is why Marx was 180 degrees wrong in his prediction that capitalism
would drive wages down to the barest subsistence levels. Just the
opposite is the case. Capitalism continually raises real wages higher
and higher through "capital accumulation."]
To those who claim that it is unconscionable for corporate CEOs
to earn $10 million per year while laborers earn $40 thousand, why
shouldn't CEOs make such money as long as their salaries come honestly
(as with Bill Gates) instead of fraudulently (as with Jeffrey Skilling)?
CEOs, owners, and entrepreneurs reap immense earnings in a free
economy because they possess the mental creativity that produced
the capital that brought the business into existence in addition
to the sales expertise that keeps it thriving in face of competition.
Moreover, they often risk their own savings (perhaps their life savings).
Laborers are not creative thinkers, they lack sales expertise, and
they do not risk any of their own savings. Thus they are compensated
at a lower level. This is the "natural aristocracy of talent and
virtue" that Jefferson spoke of, and which must be left alone if
we are to have a free, prosperous and just society.
Free enterprise always pays the most for what is in greatest demand
proportional to its scarcity. The nature of human life is that creativity,
expertise and risk tolerance are always in great demand and are always
scarce. Therefore, those individuals who possess these attributes
in abundance will always earn far more money than those who possess
Since he remains ignorant of the vital economic necessity of "capital
accumulation" with its entrepreneurial requisites of creativity,
expertise, and risk tolerance the womb-seeker becomes easy prey for
the demagogues of the left whose preachments cater to his hatreds
and his envy. His rational faculties become corrupted, and he readily
accepts the politics of enslavement. He votes for more and more progressive
tax rates, more and more suppressive regulations of the dynamic achievers
around him. In the process, he creates less and less capital accumulation
and prosperity, rather than more. Witness Castro's Cuba and the tribal
primitives of Africa. Their leaders drive '57 Chevies, wear ammo
belts around their waists, and spout Marxist jargon about the need
to build a new society devoid of "capitalist accumulators."
I realize that Karl Marx laid down a heavy piece of propaganda about
the "labor theory of value" and how entrepreneurial profit is theft
of the worker's contribution. But any man past the age of thirty-five
who has participated in any form of business endeavor, who could
buy into such a preposterous premise, is simply not an honest person.
It doesn't take a genius to see that brawn goes nowhere in
a business until those with brains have come up with the innovations
and the methodologies that will lead to consumers coming in the front
door to patronize the business. And it doesn't take a genius to realize
that our vast accumulation of productive tools and technology was
not created by muscles; it was created by innovative minds free to
keep their profits.
That three successive generations of intellectuals could ignore
the "creative mental component" of business endeavor and buy into
the Marxian fallacy that the laborer's input is what determines
the value of an enterprise's output is testament to the fact that
very few scholars in the ivory towers know anything about the real
world of business. One can only wonder how many of such intellects
themselves are womb-seekers instead of misguided idealists.
Life of Security at Any Cost
Ever since I was able to think in an adult manner, it has always
amazed me -- this susceptibility of so many men and women to the
irrationalities of the left and thus their willing acceptance of
confiscatory taxation by politicians who advocate their enslavement
through more and more centralized government. Why would anyone willingly
vote away his freedom, his rights, and his earnings?
There are several motives for such servility. Ayn Rand pointed out
perhaps the most powerful one, which is altruistic guilt about self-interest.
But in light of the above, I think we can conclude that another very
important motive is the desire of timid and slothful humans for a
life of security at any cost. Such individuals are subconsciously
seeking relief from the relentless anxiety of living in a free
society. They are simply not comfortable without the womb of
the state to shelter them, just as the two tremulous kittens I observed
in my youth were never comfortable straying away from proximity to
their mother's stomach.
But it is not only relief from anxiety that the timid and slothful
seek. As the famed Ludwig von Mises showed so tellingly in The
Anti-Capitalistic Mentality, there will always be large numbers
of humans who loathe the fact that a free society demonstrates their
inability to rise as high as the dynamic achievers they see around
them. Washington's massive welfare state, thus, becomes their buffer
both economically and psychologically. It offers those who are lacking
in "inner resolve" a political nanny to succor them in face of the
rigors and disappointing realizations that often come with freedom.
The welfare state offers them an excuse for their failure to realize
their ambitions of matching the wealth and status they see others
attaining. By voting for higher and higher taxes, the womb-seekers
gain a sort of vengeance on the dynamic achievers who they have grown
to despise. In the womb-seekers' perverted thought processes, if
society could only be leveled down to total material equality, then
they would not have to go out into the marketplace every day and
be reminded by the dynamic achievers of their failure to realize
their ambitions. This is what spurs a great deal of the venom so
many have toward capitalism. They perceive themselves as failures
when they compare their status to those who are richer; and they
dream of eliminating the reminder of this perceived failure.
But even if they cannot eliminate this daily reminder with a totally
socialist society, the womb-seekers still extract large measures
of gratification in whatever leveling they can convince the government
to enact because this gives them a feeling of retribution, of punishing
those snobbish achievers who radiate so much confidence and get all
the wealth, recognition, and status in life. Every time wealth is
confiscated from such achievers, womb-seekers are able to assuage
some of their hatred and envy.
Creative Daring Is Sacrificed
The tragedy of all this is that the monster welfare state that the
womb-seekers erect is paid for through a squashing of the rights
of those who are energetic, innovative and productive -- the intrepid
ones who strive "to climb over the edge." That which is creative
and daring is sacrificed to that which is dull and craven. This is
the legacy of collectivism that has come down to us from the massive
statism of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt, John Maynard Keynes,
and their modern day spawn of Demopublicans. Those who are by nature "climbers
over the edge" must now fight to keep the dull and craven from overwhelming
After numerous years of wrangling with those on the political left,
I have concluded that it is a waste of time to try and reach the
womb-seeker types. Their tremulous natures in face of reality will
never allow them to see the truth. It's not that they can't understand
it; most truth is easy to understand with a little effort. But accepting
it requires one to possess that innate inner resolve toward
reality that they were just not given at birth. This is what overwhelms
the womb-seekers -- the necessity to accept the hard truths of existence,
truths that tell them that meaningful life comes through personal
travail, not social egalitarianism; and that their duty on earth
is to live in freedom and allow their fellow men to do likewise.
This human tendency toward servility appears to be forged into certain
people at birth. Thus, there is little that can be done to rectify
it other than inspire these more timid segments of humankind to rise
above it, while maintaining a tax structure that prohibits them from
confiscating the wealth of their neighbors.
Where is this to end? It does not look too favorable for the intrepid
souls at this juncture in history. The advocates of collectivism
outnumber them, which is making it more and more difficult in America
to "climb over the edge" to a free world of accomplishment. The motives
of enslavement consume more and more of our citizens with each passing
decade. The statist womb of security that lures the craven, and the
philosophical lies that deceive the naïve, drag us all into
bondage. The "womb seekers" and the "misguided idealists" are blindly
obsessed with building an ever larger Nanny State, while those of
us who see life as an exhilarating crucible to relish in an independent
way begin to think more and more of rebellion in face of the death
of freedom that looms up ahead.
© 2007 Email Nelson
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articles by Nelson Hultberg