A sobering caution

What Has Government Done To Our Families by Allan Carlson at the Mises Institute is well worth checking out.

The fate of families and children in Sweden shows the truth of Ludwig von Mises’s observation that “no compromise” is possible between capitalism and socialism. Here I show how the welfare state’s growth can be viewed as the transfer of the “dependency” function from families to state employees. The process began in 19th-century Sweden, through the socialization of children’s economic time via school attendance, child labor, and state old-age pension laws. These changes, in turn, created incentives to have only a few, or no children. In the 1930s, social democrats Gunnar and Alva Myrdal used the resulting “depopulation crisis” to argue for the full socialization of child rearing. Their “family policy,” implemented over the next forty years, virtually destroyed the autonomous family in Sweden, substituting a “client society” where citizens are clients of public employees. While Sweden is now trying to break out of the welfare state trap, the old arguments for the socialization of children have come to the United States.

I’ve noticed that while only a few people are bold enough to argue for outright socialism, you can always find a lot of support for just one “reasonable” step, usually justified on the basis of helping one specific group of individuals. Then, when it fails horribly, more of the same medicine that caused the illness is prescribed. Never mind that the path has been trod before and the eventual outcome is certain.