Good Intentions…

by Norbert J. Kuk

As you’ve often heard, good intentions usually end up not on the yellow brick road but on quite another path. And according to an article by radio host and Prager University founder Dennis Prager, in today’s world good intentions can be part of a plausible formula for evil. The formula is GI – W = E:

Good Intentions (GI) minus Wisdom (W) leads to Evil (E)

Charitably, we’ll say that the great majority of rank-and-file socialist/progressives (S/Ps) honestly, if misguidedly, believe they know what’s best for you. Most S/P leaders, however, are Machiavellian and want to control your life – they’re permanently camped on the evil side of the equation. Of course, it may be hard to tell the difference between the sincerely well-intentioned and the Machiavellians, since the latter will also insist they have your best interests at heart – but either way, the lack of wisdom by most all S/Ps nearly always leads to unintended (or intended) consequences that are repugnant.

Here’s a key question for this article: What constitutes real wisdom in government? I believe it’s good judgment based on a combination of Biblical truth, morality, love of country, and life experience – which, when melded and applied to factual knowledge of an issue, produce policy decisions that solve actual problems without infringing on peoples’ freedoms. Truth be told, real wisdom in federal and state governments would dictate withdrawal from at least two-thirds of the life areas in which they now meddle.

In general, neither government leaders nor voters can have wisdom without relevant factual knowledge, but they can have (1) true factual knowledge without wisdom, like many S/P leaders today who simply ignore the truth, or (2) neither one, like some leaders on both sides and much of our electorate. And, to be clear, even a truly wise person can’t make good decisions on a specific issue or subject without relevant factual knowledge. Indeed, a truly wise person would recognize this and try to gain the appropriate knowledge before taking any action.

That said, a good case study of Prager’s formula for evil is our Social Security (SS) program. When it was presented in the 1930s, people were led to believe that every worker would contribute a little from each paycheck to his/her individual account, the employer would match it, contributions would accumulate and appreciate, and the account would start paying benefits at age 65. For workers who hit 65 only a few years after the plan’s launch, government would pad the benefit to make it “livable.” While it all sounded good, some in FDR’s government knew it was a fiscal timebomb that would eventually go off – but not until the distant future. But unrealistic assumptions prevailed over existing actuarial knowledge, resulting in too little wisdom behind the program so that the consequences are turning out to be evil – because now the distant future is here.

The basic problem with SS was (and still is) that the “individual accounts” were not individual accounts at all, in the sense of IRAs or 401K’s that grow in value through investment in the economy, as so many people believed. In reality, contributions were (and still are) “invested” in the general coffers of spendthrift government, making the so-called SS trust fund nothing more than a bunch of government IOUs. Not to worry, though, because retirement benefits would stay covered by a “never-ending stream of young people” who would join the workforce and start paying in fresh money. It was like a “Ponzi scheme” in which early high “returns on investment” (i.e., benefits) are paid by pulling in more new investors.

Charles Ponzi was jailed for his scam, but government was celebrated. Indeed, it was a highly publicized event in 1940 when a woman named Ida May Fuller, who had worked for just three years and contributed a total of $24.75 herself, was the first to receive benefits – a monthly check of $22.54. Trouble was, she lived to age 100 and, with cost of living increases, collected $22,888.92 before she died. Of course, taxpayers covered nearly all of it.

Ida May Fuller’s case was unique but foreshadowed several inconvenient things that have occurred across the board since the 1930s to hasten the day of reckoning, most of them foreseeable (by wisdom). For one, the average American’s life span has increased by 16 or 17 years since the 1930s. For another, a surge in the birth rate after World War II produced the current state of too many people (baby boomers) retiring within too short a time span and ballooning payouts for an extended period. Moreover, real wisdom would also have planned for the possible shrinkage of that “never ending stream” of new contributors. Specifically, after the baby boom came the big decline in live births from the 1960s to the present, and along with it, something that actually defied wisdom – 1973’s Roe v. Wade decision – which has significantly intensified the shortage of new workers by the murder of over 60 million babies in the womb since then. In short, on top of the horrendous moral evil of abortion, the evil economic result of wisdom-free good intentions by FDR’s government is that today’s SS “trust fund” is in a precarious fiscal position and threatening to pull the country downward with it.

But back to the equation. Regarding the workings of government, there’s little doubt that a great majority of our voters, especially the younger generations, are sorely deficient in knowledge of economics, civics, and key issues of the day – and therefore bereft of wisdom in those areas. For example, most of us have from time to time seen video clips of college campus interviews in which students adamantly state a particular (leftist) political position and then can’t come up with a coherent reason to support it.

A specific example is the recent protest by schoolchildren against the world’s “lack of action” to combat global warming. No doubt the adults who orchestrated the protest realized that their arguments for “doing something” are (1) increasingly being challenged by responsible scientists, economists, and common sense, and (2) falling on deaf ears in the public square – so to keep the pot boiling, what better strategy than to “bring out the kids” (led by a 16-year-old Swedish girl) to plead emotionally that “you’re stealing our future with your greed for money and economic growth….How can I plan my future if life on earth will end in 10 years because you did nothing to save our planet?” Et cetera.

If you’ve been following some of these purely emotional pleas in the news, it’s clear that these indoctrinated children have neither correct scientific knowledge nor wisdom on the subject. As a practical matter, planning one’s future would be profoundly more difficult in a broken economy that depends on the limited and unreliable energy capacity of wind, solar, and bovine dung. And as we know, life on earth will not end until Jesus returns, not before – and certainly not as a result of anything man does or doesn’t do.

It was also clear in these protests that much or most of the finger-wagging by the “climate kids” was aimed at the United States. Yet, the US actually reduced its CO2 emissions by 12% from 2000 to 2017, while in the same period, China’s CO2 emissions soared by 194%, and India’s by 140%. And both those countries are still adding new coal-fired generating plants. Of course, a bunch of kids protesting in China, for example, probably wouldn’t go over very well (just ask the residents of Hong Kong). And besides, what reasonably sane government, especially in still-developing countries like India, China, and Russia, would risk its entire economy on the forecast of climate science alarmists who have a “perfect” record of getting 41 out of 41 predictions wrong over the last 50-plus years? But at least the kids have good intentions – right?

In the end, what the well-intended “climate kids” are advocating would surely result in evil, because people the world over would be deprived of their right to improve their standard of living (i.e., life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness).

C.S. Lewis probably said it best: Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, [or] his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end

And endless torment it would be. That’s why you need to PRAY CONTINUALLY for wisdom in our governments.