Have you ever stopped to consider that our society lives in constant anticipation that something is going to occur to make things better? Now nothing we are doing is making things better, to the contrary, what we are doing is making things worse. Yet we continue waking up every morning with this dull eyed optimism based on wishing. This is not new nor is it native to the American experience. There was once a sense of optimism in this country that included effort for achievement. We looked out over the future with a sense that we could build something for ourselves. There was no drive for entitlement provided by the state. No expectation that the fellow who was innovating and getting rich was somehow responsible for our wellbeing. The change in the way Americans looked at the world has a starting point and that is World War II. After the war there was a sense of entitlement instilled in the children of this country and in each successive generation it has gotten worse.
We have conducted an experiment on our children and our children’s children and their children and the outcome is not good. We are now looking at huge numbers of people who think that by their mere existence on Earth, the rest of the society should be impressed and financially liable. It is as if simply by managing to be born, something people have been doing for thousands of years, they are special and have come into this world owed a debt. Each year for decades this number has grown and grown until today, they represent a plurality that “feel” they don’t really have to contribute in proportion to what they consume. As a society we have placated this group as they have grown. We have created more and more rules, regulations, safety nets, institutions, programs and excuses for why they couldn’t make it in the real world and indeed shouldn’t have to. We have paid dearly and will pay dearer still. Our economic model will not sustain it.
A big problem with any solution anyone might offer is the nature of the entitlement these people feel is their due. It isn’t basic food and shelter they think themselves entitled to. It isn’t some abstract freedom or liberty they demand. It isn’t equality of opportunity they seek. It is equality of result and not on the low end. What our self-proclaimed, ever growing and self-created underclass demands is access to material wealth and leisure time on the high end. Not only that, but they demand it whether they produce any of it or not. They demand that those who build buildings provide room. They demand that those who create technology make it available. They demand that those who produce food feed their children for them. They demand that those who are educated in the fields of medicine provide for their care. They demand that the shrinking number of net producers be made to pay more to provide more for the net consumers. They demand that this continue even as reality is peeking through and threatening the world with economic ruin.
We have codified such thinking into our laws under the mistaken belief that the mob makes right and that the emotional arguments to help the needy be applied to the majority even as the bar that defines ‘needy’ has risen. As the unfunded liability against future entitlements grows, those who profit from the welfare state apply a new tactic. That tactic is now part of the daily onslaught of state messaging. The vilification of the rich. We are being told at this point that the reason for poverty is the creation of wealth. We are being told that the creation of wealth occurs in a zero sum economic environment where every dollar that goes to one man is necessarily taken from another and the poor are being told that those dollars are being taken from them. They don’t have the cognitive skills to reason it out.
The main commodity being peddled by the purveyors of this zero sum game is ignorance. In the time since World War II leading up to the present, in parallel with the placation of the entitlement mentality we have also let those who believe in the absolute power of the secular state have control over our education system. What we teach in these government schools is relativism and a system of moral equivalence. What we deliver to our children is a point of view based in ignorance with a large helping of phony self-esteem. We teach that self-worth is divorced from achievement and that there are different definitions of intelligence. We teach that every idea has merit and every culture is equal to every other culture except for the ideas of markets and the culture of America. We condemn all the evidence to the contrary as intolerance and racism. We are committing suicide as a civilization in order to create some imaginary utopia that will work by magic if only we will hand over power to the state and destroy the economic freedoms of the markets. It is insanity.
I don’t know if it can be fixed. The people who are now the champions of this nonsense aren’t smart enough to see through it. They use circular reasoning to defend what the rest of us can see clearly as a failing proposition. We are moving backwards as a civilization and being told it is progressive. We now find ourselves with an unelected bureaucratic monster that spends greater than a trillion dollars a year more than it takes in. It has accumulated fifteen trillion dollars in direct debt against the treasury and over a hundred trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities against future revenues for entitlements that can never be paid. Those who support the position of the statists with their votes are being told that the solution is to confiscate the wealth remaining in the free markets so that even modest reductions in spending can be avoided. Any suggestion that we live within our means is met with cries of draconian attacks on the working people. We are like the poor farmer in a bad winter eating the seed corn that he set aside for spring’s planting. He doesn’t have a plan for the spring he just knows he’s hungry now.
Anyone with their eyes open can look at the world around them and see that it is on the brink of financial and economic collapse yet we turn away to look at the shiny bauble being dangled before us as a distraction from this reality. And if you ask the dull eyed folk who demand more control and more regulation and more debt what they are counting on, they have no answer other than to keep feeding the beast, keep taking from the productive, keep the entitlements growing, keep the engine of our doom well greased. They demand we trade our freedoms for the security of the state’s entitlement apparatus. They insist that we are helpless to take care of ourselves or our own families. They demand more and more power be entrusted to our permanent ruling class who are protected by law and immune to elections. They insist that they have the right to vote themselves the treasury for as long as it lasts and to replenish it from what remains of the wealth of those who feed us.
When it finally goes it will be mercifully swift. One day we will wake up and the lights will be out, the currency worthless, the stores closed and the government checks will be gone. Mobs will form from gatherings of the once entitled and they will rail against the evil greedy rich. That will be the fellow with the can of corn.
John Castle Reviews “The Spear of Destiny”
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