Distress as a Tool to Extend Socialism and the Welfare State

Welfare State: “a system whereby the government undertakes to protect the health and well-being of its citizens, especially those in financial or social need, by means of grants, pensions, and other benefits. The foundations for the modern welfare state in the US were laid by the New Deal programs of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.”

Of course, any government undertaking is financed by seizing resources from the citizens under its control; and any such efforts at protection undermine private and voluntary methods of insuring, while also creating adverse incentives for individuals to protect themselves.

The welfare state is a form of socialism because, in order to pay for the wealth transfers, a state appropriates the income from the means of production. It takes resources from producers and consumers without their permission. Taxes deducted from pay or otherwise collected are in no way voluntary. The welfare state is such an important component of socialism that we identify it separately, but when we condemn socialism for all its injustices and ills, we are simultaneously condemning the welfare state, and vice versa. The moral rot and injustice of initiating violence is at the heart of the welfare state.

Insidious extensions of the welfare state are penetrating our country. Obamacare is the most obvious. The less obvious are demands for government measures to relieve distress. The term distress has a specific meaning. It refers to psychological or emotional states, such as anxiety, sorrow, anguish or pain.

Government relief, which is a branch of the welfare state, has traditionally referred to physical conditions of deprivation of food, clothing, and shelter, thought to be temporary in nature. The government then extended relief to unemployment, old age, infirmities and health. Government relief once advertised as being required temporarily has been made permanent. Socialism of this type is now embedded in American lives.

Distress is an extension of the concept of relief, introducing psychological conditions in addition to the traditional physical conditions. The demand for “safe spaces” at universities is based upon relief from a purported distress. The demand not to hear opposing views or to suppress and censor speech is a demand to avoid distress, i.e., a psychological state of mind. The attempts to substitute politically correct words for words that have well-known meanings is an attempt to relieve distress. Laws or regulations against hate speech attempt to punish people who are claimed to be causing distress for hearers and listeners. Western culture and “capitalism” are blamed for causing distress in those who are exposed to them. They are accused of causing alienation and other ill states of mind and being. Distress is being elevated by socialist-minded advocates into an issue of welfare calling for government action in new variants of socialism that regulate personal behavior.

We already encounter pervasive social control of personal behavior in the public schools. It comes in the form of thought control, or the introduction and reinforcement of ideas that glorify the State and socialist thinking. The expansion and lengthening of such education to lower and higher ages is ongoing. The social control is being extended to important social media via the selective removal of distressing sources of communication.

Socialism broadly speaking means that government controls capital or resources or the means of production or private property, one of which is the human being itself. We are not living in Orwell’s 1984, not yet. The demand for safety and protection combined with the illusory hope for permanent relief paid for by someone else is all that a government needs in order to extend its control over its citizens. That demand for safety is being fueled of late by extending the idea of relief from physical conditions to relief from distress, which is a psychological condition.

Socialism proceeds in a gradual but harmful way, always attempting to seem reasonable and to offer measures that help human beings, that are benign, and that are moral, even Christian. Yet it is based upon slavery.


8:55 am on April 26, 2018