The real point is that the Welfare State has not simply failed from a fiscal point of view (an assertion that is difficult to contradict, although it didn't stop an otherwise sane companion telling me, a couple of days ago, that we must throw yet more money into the black hole of public spending) but it has also failed those whom it was supposed to support in other ways too.
Chris at Strange Stuff has written about the theoretical failure of the Welfare State in very stark terms, on a number of occasions. His contention is that the Welfare State, by its very nature of unthinking provision, has effectively destroyed the capacity for forethought amongst those whom it most benefits, thus reducing them, effectively, to the level of savages.
There has been a degradation in the levels of self reliance and social cohesion. There is simply nolonger a need for such things when all that is needed is to not be self reliant and the State will provide with other peoples money. Society does exist but it is not the same thing as the state.
The Welfare State has turned prudence from a virtue to a sin, rewarding the imprudent with the wealth of the people willing to work for their own futures. So it is no wonder that the savages are thriving at the expense of the civilised.
The fact is that the Welfare State has, in and of itself, created the armies of feral youths who roam our streets, who foul their own ghastly, government-planned sink estates; it has created the army of hopeless heroin addicts, it has created the hordes of those who have never, and will never, work (why should they? The state will provide); it's increasing economic burden prevents the creation of those jobs that might enable the "working class" to actually work and thus restore some pride in themselves and instill the culture of "the productive citizen" into their children. The increasing social breakdown that we see can, in fact, be laid at the door of the Welfare State.
Increasingly, it not only fails its beneficiaries spiritually, it also does so practically: this illustration by Raw Carrot demonstrates that oh-so effectively.
I also purchased a map of the area dated 1899. With the books and data from the map, I was amazed to discover that the town has boasted the following facilities:
- Several swimming pools
- There is now only one
- Two police stations
- There is now only one
- A delightful town hall
- They replaced it with an ugly expensive one
- A cricket ground in the centre of the town
- It's not in the centre any more
- A cycle track
- There isn't one any more
- A rugby and football pitch in the centre of town;
- The rugby isn't in the centre any more
- Two well-equipped and clean local hospitals
- The nearest hospital is now 12 miles away and deadly
- Four train stations served the town
- There are now only two
- Trains to London took 16 minutes
- They now take at the very least 23 minutes, usually more like 45.
- There was once a wide selection of good schools
- There are now just failing state schools, mediocre state schools and private schools.
- The High Street used to have real shops
- We don't even have a Dixons any more
- The area used to have many real pubs
- We now just have BOGOF-pub-bars
This is a practical demonstration of how the state fails its citizens: the state is simply the least efficient way to provide services. As we can see from Raw Carrot's information, since the onset of the Welfare State (yes, that is meant to sound like it is a disease), the provision of facilities has declined; those open spaces wherein ordinary people (not just those horrible posh middle-classes) used to exercise and play games have been all but eliminated (hence the current epidemic of obesity), there are fewer police, fewer swimming pools, health care provision is substantially worse and even the trip to London isn't as fast as the old (privately-run) steam railway.
The more that I see these kinds of illustrations, the more I realise that the Welfare State must go; it cannot be allowed to continue. And we can either plan for this and dismantle it in an orderly and controlled manner, or wait for it to implode disastrously under the weight of its appalling mismanagement and fiscal waste.
The Welfare State has failed the people: it must be abolished. Let the market work, as it so demonstrably does.