All Blessings Flow From The State

It seems amazing now, but back in 2004, the actual Democrat presidential ticket consisted of John Kerry and John Edwards.  If you were trying to forget that… well, I’m not going to apologize for making you think about it again.  We must never allow Democrats to forget who their party tried to stuff into the Oval Office.

While John Edwards faces the possibility of fines or prison time for violating campaign finance laws to cover up the illegitimate child he fathered while cheating on his cancer-stricken wife, his running mate John Kerry still serves in the Senate, and occasionally forces America to ask hard questions about the voters of Massachusetts.  Today he was holding forth on the topic of budget cuts during a floor speech, and advanced the following reason why the insane spending policies of our bankrupt federal government should not be restricted, as reported by Alexander Bolton of The Hill:

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) warned Tuesday that spending cuts could wipe out future government achievements, like the invention of the Internet, which Kerry credited to Washington.

“A lot of people don’t think about that. But the fact is the government invented the Internet,” Kerry said in a 30-minute floor speech.

Kerry said the Internet was first conceived by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) as a communications system in case of nuclear war.

“The private sector saw the opportunities and took those opportunities and translated them into what we have today, which has revolutionized the way people communicate and do business,” Kerry said.

We might begin analyzing this argument by noting that DARPA was a military operation, and the military is the one area of government spending that Kerry’s party does want to cut.  Usually they want to loot the defense budget for politically useful social spending.  With their backs against the wall, they’re willing to claim they want to cut the defense budget to reduce the deficit.

On the very same day Kerry was telling us that spending cuts would prevent the federal government from creating global wonders like the Internet, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) galloped onto the very same Senate floor to tell us that we cannot possibly consider cutting federal subsidies for cowboy poetry festivals.  Truly, all blessings flow from the State!

In the course of defending the lavishly funded government cornucopia of innovation, Kerry inadvertently concedes the more important point that it was private sector businesses that made investments, and accepted entrepreneurial risk, to develop DARPANET into the mighty Internet that we all enjoy today.  Military necessity created the raw materials for the Internet, as it has done with many other technologies throughout our history – and, indeed, from before the dawn of the Industrial Age, for nations around the world. 

If Kerry’s reasoning were followed to its logical conclusion, it would hold that every innovation of the private sector, and every element of our prosperity, was the work of the government.  After all, commerce could not exist without the police and military suppressing bandits.  No meaningful research would be accomplished in an anarchic wasteland ruled by warlords.  An advanced economy could not exist without enforceable contracts and (relatively) stable currency.

No one can doubt that a lawful government, attending to its Constitutional duties, has a role to play in ensuring our prosperity… or “promoting the general welfare,” if you prefer.  That is not at all the same thing as saying the government should have unlimited funding, or first claim on the output of all its citizens.  It says much about John Kerry that he thinks the first spending cuts applied against a $3.6 trillion budget would take out the most sensitive and vital agencies of our highly advanced defense apparatus.  It says even more about Democrats that they don’t think we can live without the taxpayer-subsidized cowboy poetry, either.