It is plain that something is seriously wrong with the societies we live in today. Welfare is only one part of a bigger problem. What is that problem? I think I can tell you what it is.
But I must approach the answer in a roundabout manner. Long ago, at school, I studied history like everyone else. I did not get on with the history master. Which was very fortunate for me; for it meant that I learned almost nothing of school history, except the dates of the kings of England. When, then, as an adult I came to read a little about history, I was not saddled with preconceptions.
What I found, in my reading of history, was essentially this.
Firstly, human institutions, when they meet the needs of their times, rise and flourish. When they cease to meet the needs of their times, they decay and die. Secondly, there are periods of history when there is tension between an old way and a new. These times are characterized by, on the one hand, great progress, and on the other, chaos, war, repression or a combination of the three. And thirdly, we're in one of those times right now.
It is fashionable among the most forward-thinking people today to say that the political state, the top-down structure of institutional violence that has been the model for human societies for thousands of years, is out of date. And for me, these thinkers are dead right. The state has passed its last-use-by date; and we're all feeling the effects.
There was a time, a little less than two centuries ago, when we were moving in the right direction. The state was losing its charm. The old ruling class were losing their grip. People were demanding a bigger say in how the societies they lived in were run. Meanwhile, the Industrial Revolution was beginning to spread, and to deliver its promise of better living standards for all.
But then – as I understand it – something went badly wrong. What should have happened is that the two new classes of the time – the capitalists, the brain-power of the new industrial age, and the workers, its muscle-power – should have banded together to bring down the old, corrupt ruling class. There should have been a class war, leading to the destruction of the top-down, violent state.
But that didn't happen. Instead – and by what devious trickery I do not know, though I am sure it must have been devious trickery – the ruling class contrived to turn the workers and the capitalists against each other. This had three bad effects. One, the Industrial Revolution was rendered far less effective in raising the quality of human life than it should have been. Two, the ruling class and their political state managed to wriggle out of the trap set for them. Three, when Karl Marx and his friends came on the scene, they ignited class war all right – but it was war between the wrong classes. No wonder Marxism failed so badly!
From that time, the remnant of the ruling class have done everything they can to expand their own power, and the power of the institution they feed off, the state. They and their henchmen have set themselves up to be a political class, a new ruling class, albeit ruling more subtly than the bad kings of old.
And there has been little opposition to the political class and their scheming. For most people have been fooled into accepting, even into supporting, the political class and their state. Having established the sham called democracy, and the fiction that democracy makes morally right whatever sufficiently many say they want, the political class set out to hoodwink as many working people as they could into thinking that the state, and so the political class, was on their side.
They carried off the deception for quite a while, didn't they?
What does all this have to do with welfare? When you put it into context, you see that the welfare state is merely an underhanded attempt by the political class to make people think that the political class are on their side. The welfare state is, and always has been, a giant fraud, committed by the political class against everyone else, especially the productive.
You can see, too, why they created the welfare state when they did. In the 1940s, people had had a sharp taste of what political states are really about – violence and war. No wonder the political class wanted to be seen to give people what must have looked at the time like a sweetener.
The answers to some of the questions I asked earlier now become blindingly obvious. The welfare state hasn't ended poverty, because it was never intended to end poverty. Indeed, for the political class to keep up their pretence of being on the side of the poor, poverty has to be perpetuated, not ended.
The reason why many welfare proponents don't practise what they preach about giving to the poor and needy, is that they don't have any compassion for the poor and needy. That's all a front. Instead, they have a hatred of people who earn an honest living. They hate us for being productive. They hate us for being good at what we do. They hate business. Business, to them, is money-grubbing, and is beneath them. So, welfare is just a convenient excuse for them to take as much earned wealth as they can away from productive people.
The reason why we good people don't get any thanks or appreciation for all that we pay and have paid, is that the political class are stealing from us far more than just money. For, to whom do the unthinking welfare recipients give their thanks and their respect? Not to the people who earned the wealth they are living off, but to the political class that re-distributed it in their direction. The political class steal from good people, not only our earned wealth, but also the appreciation and respect which we deserve.
The reason why the politicians all want to throw more and more money at the welfare system, is just that they want to take more and more of our money. Oh, that was an easy one! And the reason why there is no stigma attached to receiving benefits, is that the political class actually want to encourage people to take their bribes and feed at their trough. They want as many of us as possible to become dependent on them and their welfare state.
This is the same reason why the political class don't worry too much about the existence of the underclass. Hell, if they can haul enough people down into dependency, then the votes of the dependent, in the sham called democracy, could keep the political class in power, and their welfare state in continued existence, for ever.
The reason why, despite all the technological progress and hard work, many people today are worse off than their forebears were fifty years ago, is that today there's a huge dead weight holding down the economy. That dead weight is the weight of the political class – and it is increasing and increasing.
Isn't it a clever trick that the political class have played on us? Invent a scheme that takes earned wealth away from people, but fool them into thinking they are benefiting from it. Some of them will be dragged down into poverty. How great! You can use that as an excuse to take away more and more wealth from everyone! Meanwhile, you and your political-class cronies can enjoy popularity, power and spending other people's money. Not to mention the pleasure of hurting the productive people you hate and despise so much.
So, what is it, this bigger problem I referred to, of which the welfare state is only one part? The answer is now before us. The political class are the problem.