Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 1 Comments
It used to be that we rewarded good behavior and punished bad behavior. Today we do the opposite. If you run a successful business, you can expect to be taxed to the limit. If you drop out of school, use drugs, practice poor family planning, fail to keep a job-- the government will take money from citizens who work hard to fund those who don't.
If you blow up buses filled with civilians in the name of political independence, you can be sure that representatives from our government will soon be on the way to discuss how your demands can be met in exchange for an end to the violence. If you run a productive and law abiding country plagued by terrorists, you can be sure that those same representatives will be on the way to pressure you to give in to the terrorist's demands-- in the name of ending the violence. (By contrast if you are a brutal dictatorship and you respond to non-violent protesters calling for political independence with massacres, torture and ethnic cleansing, you can be sure to get a free pass.)
If you are a legal immigrant from Ireland looking to enter the United States, you had better be ready to wait a long time while your nation's quota is filled. If you are an illegal immigrant from Mexico, all you need to do to receive 90 percent of the same benefits as American citizens do, is illegally cross the border and you're in.
If you run a company that successfully makes profitable products, you can expect to be hounded by government and environmental agencies. If you run a company that unsuccessfully makes unprofitable products, all you need to do is to cultivate lobbyists and politicians and receive taxpayer money collected from successful companies to fund your projects. Welfare meet corporate welfare with the same basic premise. Those who can do, those who can't, get money from those who do.
If you are a normal law abiding citizens who finds himself in legal trouble, you're on your own. If you happen to be a criminal or illegal alien and find yourself in legal trouble, organizations like the ACLU will trip over themselves to rush to your aid. And they will do it with government grant money collected once again from law abiding taxpayers.
Such examples can be listed endlessly, but these are enough to form the larger picture. We have created a society, a political system and a cultural value system that rewards bad behavior and punishes good behavior. It's no longer the ant who lives through the winter while the grasshopper freezes. Instead the ant finds himself a second class citizen in favor of the grasshopper. Because the grasshopper has one valuable skill the ant does not, a skill that governments and agencies greatly value, dependency.
In a feudal system, money is collected from the peasants on behalf of the lord. In a socialist system, money is collected from productive citizens to fund the needs of government. To expand taxes, requires expanding those needs, which requires building a dependent base equivalent to the tax base. John pays taxes and lives in his own home with his family. Harry is perpetually unemployed and lives with his girlfriend and her three children, all by different men. John thinks the government needs him, but in reality it only needs his money, and Harry is their justification for taking John's money and redistributing it across an alphabet soup of Federal, State and independent agencies in order to help Harry do the one thing he does best-- remain a money soaking sponge on behalf of those same agencies.
Globally the picture isn't any better. If you're a productive democratic country that likes us, the government can take you for granted. If you're a dictatorship that hates us, then the government will work hard to win your approval. If you're a bunch of homicidal terrorists, the government will work even harder to "resolve" the problem by giving you what you want, usually at the expense of the productive democratic country.
It's more than just the squeaky wheel getting the grease, though that is of course part of the equation. Governments naturally cultivate problems, especially irresolvable ones, because it creates work for them to do. You can't take credit for bringing peace to Italy, but you can take credit for poking your head into Ireland or Israel and offering to mediate the problem, accompanied by some none too subtle pressure. And of course naturally it's the responsible parties who will always be called on to pay the piper-- to the irresponsible parties.
The degeneracy, corruption and violence bred by a system that rewards bad behavior is exactly what we see all around us. Human nature being what it is, rewarding bad behavior will breed more of it. If you reward teenage pregnancy, whether financially or culturally, there will be more of it. If you reward violence, crime and unemployment, they will spread. If you reward terrorism, there will be more terrorism. By rewarding bad behavior, you perpetuate it.
From a responsible nation of responsible men and women, the United States continues to slide toward becoming an irresponsible nation of overage juveniles. And that is to the benefit of the nanny state which requires the irresponsible to justify its own authority and power and which thrives on milking the responsible for the irresponsible to its own benefit.
As a nation becomes irresponsible, its real notions of responsibility, that of a citizen being responsible for himself or herself, evaporate to be replaced with grandiose notions of mythical responsibility.
Forget being responsible for earning a living or applying for a job based on your own merit, rather than your feeling of being discriminated against. The modern citizen of the State of Irresponsibility is expected to feel responsible for the destruction of the earth, the death of polar bears, racial hatred he doesn't feel for people he never met and the hatred that terrorists around the world feel for us.
What these all have in common is that they are things he is not responsible for, and more important things that he cannot change. What he can do is feel guilty about them and turn over what little power he has to the state which will promise to repair them. This is the final communion of irresponsibility. Give up the last of your responsibility and we'll remove your guilt and sins against the environment, other races and nations. Turn over the last of your nationhood and sense of pride. Abase yourself by voting for a man who along with his family and church despise you and your country. And then at last you shall be cleansed of guilt and freedom both in the perfect state of innocent irresponsibility.
And that is the ugly reality behind terms such as "privilege", "patriarchy" and "power" when used by the left to designate the original sin of Americans and Westerners in general. It is the even uglier destination that serves as the terminus of the tracks, for a man without responsibility is also a man without freedom, a slave.
Rewarding bad behavior is an elemental means for overthrowing a working society, destroying its institutions, rendering it dysfunctional step by step, turning its adults into juveniles and its citizens into sheep. The core battle we must fight and win at the social and political level is to force them to reward good behavior and punish bad behavior. And the way to do it is to punish bad political behavior and reward good political behavior.
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