Sunday, November 9, 2008

Killing Us Softly

Mark Steyn is on point again:

While few electorates consciously choose to leap left, a couple more steps every election and eventually societies reach a tipping point. In much of the west, it's government health care. It changes the relationship between state and citizen into something closer to pusher and junkie. . . .
I disagree with my fellow conservatives who think the Obama-Pelosi-Reid-Frank liberal behemoth will so obviously screw up that they'll be routed in two or four years' time. The President-elect's so-called “tax cut” will absolve 48 per cent of Americans from paying any federal income tax at all, while those that are left will pay more. Just under half the population will be, as Daniel Henninger pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, on the dole. By 2012, it will be more than half, and this will be an electorate where the majority of the electorate will be able to vote itself more lollipops from the minority of their compatriots still dumb enough to prioritize self-reliance, dynamism, and innovation over the sedating cocoon of the nanny state. That is the death of the American idea.

[Click on the title above, or date stamp below, to see the full article.]
Or, as Bill Whittle said here: "But the moral assumption [of social engineering by wealth redistribution] . . . well that's just fatal. It's fatal. Because when people who don't pay any thing taxes realize that they can vote themselves someone else's money, it's the end of us."


  1. Lance!

    ...and another joins the ranks - Most Excellent and WELCOME!

    While, of course, giving a percentage of the populace the chance to vote themselves more lollipops would indeed be The End...

    It is worth noting that The One's relative ability to pay for those lollipops might just depend on which flavor he tries to dole out first...

    (commitment to fighting the good fight aside, I will admit that stockpiling of non-monetary-commodities has already begun...)

    - MuscleDaddy

  2. ~Paules says,

    This is a good place to tie the thread from "All Hail the Republic." I posted there yesterday and later found Steyn echoing my own thoughts. It seems we have a concensus. And by way of answering Morph (an okay guy, no troll he) I want to offer a story.

    I grew up spending my summers in the Polish ghetto of Chester, Pennsylvania. I use the word "ghetto" in the sense that neighborhoods were strictly segregated. The Poles held the area of Front St. throught 4th Street. Beyond that other immigrant groups had staked out their claims. It was never clear to me why I had to stay away from Irish and Italian neighborhoods. In my child's mind's eye my mental map said simply "there be monsters." My little enclave was a safe and secure place to grow up.

    The Polish people of that generation, first and second, were known as the working poor. My grandfather quit school at age twelve when his father died. The custom was to keep a factory seat open for the next in line, that being the only social security on offer. My grandfather became the family bread-winner. Somehow the family survived the Great Depression if only barely. Then came the war. The neighborhood sent its young men off to fight. Some did not return, but the neighborhood survived.

    My grandparents owned a modest rowhouse on the 100 block of Thurlow St. Some people called it the wrong side of the tracks. Actually, we were on the tracks. We used to shoot cans off the rails with a BB gun from the neighbor's porch. I guess to the older folks it seemed far safer than the old habit of sending young boys clambering up the side of moving coal cars to rob them of the precious fuel that would keep a family warm for the day. Despite our "poverty" the neighborhood was thriving.

    The center of our lives was St. Hedwig's Church, a majestic structure with stain glass windows stretching to a vaulted ceiling. The congregation was large enough to require five masses on Sunday. Piety was our chief virtue, except for Joe Schpok and Handsome Harry. But those two were excused because Joe was a bum, and Harry was mad. Joe lived in an abandoned car and earned his livelihood doing odd jobs. Harry owned a rowhouse next to my aunt. I guess he was harmless, but his sudden appearance sent our mob scurrying for cover. The neighborhood monster was tall and oily with fingernails an inch long. When he got sick, the local women would bring him food and medicine. Same for Joe. The community looked after its own.

    Life was simple and routine. There was work and church, kielbasa for dinner, and Phillies baseball on the AM radio. There was no crime in our neighborhood and the streets were clean. You painted your concrete porch and front steps every spring. They didn't really need it, of course, but no one wanted social stigma of being called a slacker. Kids graduated from St. Hedwig's Catholic School, and wonder of wonders, began to enroll in college. The next generation began moving into the middle class.

    It all looked like a dream come true. Until the day something truly dreadful happened. The government arrived . . . to help. You see, the g-men had been studying the demographics. As the third generation moved out, more properties became rentals. The modest rowhouses were never worth much, about 30K in the late 1970's. So the government began to encourage real estate agencies to buy them up. The government would supply tenants and guarantee rents.

    The new arrivals were nothing like us. By this I mean they didn't share our values. They didn't work or attend church. Their children were wild and undisciplined. They didn't even paint their steps and porch every year! It didn't take long for the neighborhood to become feral. We began to notice rats and stray animals. Broken windows went unrepaired. Garbage began to pile up in the alleys. The Polish people fought back with brooms and buckets of paint, but to no avail. You see, the neighborhood was now full of retirees. The muscle that the next generation might otherwise supply had moved to the suburbs.

    The new class moving in had no vested interest in our neighborhood. The government would take care of everything. The government should take care of everything, at least that was their attitude. And worse, the new arrivals tolerated crime. They actually turned their backs on break-ins and assaults. Then the drug dealers and prostitutes arrived. But the police didn't care. The neighborhood was dying. When tenants moved out, the landlords simply boarded up the wreckage left behind. The remaining Poles secured their doors and windows with locks and bars and hunkered down to await the death knell. The Polish ghetto died without so much as a whimper.

    There is nothing unique about this story. It has happened to thousands of neighborhoods across the country, is happening still to this day. It happens because government thinks it can substitute its influence for citizen virtue. But a republic can stand strong only so long as the citizenry retains values based on hard work and commensurate reward. Nothing is valued that is not earned. The citizenry must have a vested interest in community and nation. It can't be given; it must be earned. There is no other way. The government cannot cure poverty because government policy creates poverty. How many lessons do we need? Or should we sit back and wait till the entire nation is naught but a blight upon the land? Chester Pennsylvania didn't die. It was murdered.

  3. Damn, ~Paules. That was a thing of beauty.

  4. I can simply add my meager, AMEN to Monster's remark.

  5. That's why I moved it to the front page.
    Well done Mr. P!

  6. does St Hedwig's still stand?


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