From Protestants to Progressives: the birth of the Welfare State
From the Protestant ideology of the 1800s to the Progressives of the New Deal: the birth of the "welfare state" as a tool of social engineering.
We are all accustomed to thinking of the "welfare state" as something completely normal and, in fact, essential. However, universal welfare is a relatively recent idea, emerging around the mid-19th century.
Encyclopedia Britannica describes the welfare state as "a concept of government in which the state plays a central role in the protection and promotion of the economic and social well-being of its citizens. The welfare state usually includes services such as public education, public healthcare, and public housing."
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Why would I talk about welfare? Because for over 150 years, it has been a tool used by our governments to extend their interference in the lives of citizens and gradually demand more and more sacrifices (of privacy, freedom, life) and obedience in exchange for a few social benefits.
Let's trace together the birth of the idea of universal welfare in the United States to understand how it became a tool of social engineering for a peculiar protestant-progressive intellectual elite. It will be a fascinating journey through religion, politics, and delusions of omnipotence — hold on tight.
Ideology and economic power
As reported by Murray Rothbard in his book "The Progressive Era," the seed of welfare was planted in America in the early 19th century. According to Rothbard, it was the product of the combined efforts of a particular Protestant ideology and the economic power of large corporations of that period.
On one hand, there was a legion of Protestant intellectuals seeking power and prestige, and on the other hand, there were large corporations seeking state support to create and maintain market monopolies through laws and taxes.
These two forces, together, had everything they needed to shape and exploit state power according to their own desires.
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