The system attempts to stay ahead of the inevitable crash by making sure that every productive person pays his “fair share”. It hunts for “Free Riders”, both individuals and nations, who still aren’t rolling downhill, tips them over and pushes them off the mountain. All in the name of the greater good.
The “Free Rider” principle is that the benefits of a policy must be forcibly extended to everyone in order to mandate that they help fund the entitlement. There is no natural limit to such an expansion. If your wages can be said to have risen because unions negotiated a new contract, then you can be compelled to pay the union. If you aren’t buying health insurance, then you must be getting it for free. If you aren’t part of the system, then there will be a mandate that will make you part of it.
“Free Riders” is a polite version of the Soviet Union’s “Parasites”. The concept is the same. In a system where benefits are extended to everyone, everyone is obligated to the system. The new Crown is not a person, it is an idea. The throne at whose foot a formerly free people kneel is the golden seat of the welfare state. While the fireworks light up the sky, a counterrevolution undid the revolution. There is a new king and his face is on every magazine cover in the land. His bounty is a jagged bear trap that turns everyone into a ward of the state at their own expense.
As the last wave of fireworks die out, the shooting stars sinking to earth and vanishing into the darkness, the light of Independence Day fades and the crowds slowly trudge away from the brief spectacle, past the lines of police barricades, through narrow streets, past government buildings, back to their co-dependent lives in a co-dependent nation where the will of the people and the rights of the individual matter less than the latest proposal to solve the problems of their independence by making the country a more dependent place.
A few hundred years ago in these streets, men and women celebrated the end of tyranny, and in its darkest hour, lines of grim men marched along the waterfront up to the highest point on the island to mount a final defense. Sometimes the older buildings still wear their shadows on their brick walls and by the golden light of the fireworks you can almost see them, shadows moving in the darkness, their footsteps taking them north, a faint song on their lips, muskets in their hands, their lives lost and gained in defense of their freedom.