Category Archive 'The Welfare State'
07 Jan 2014

Government Largesse


26 May 2013

Woolwich Jihadis Living on the Dole?

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Michael Adebolajo

Bird Dog

These people are paid more from Welfare than the murdered soldier made.

I tried, and I have not been able to verify this, but it may very well be true. If it is true, speaks volumes about the insanity of contemporary Western culture.

07 Nov 2012

Not the Same America Anymore

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Michael J. Hurd was a little bitter.

Bill O’Reilly said it well—and honestly:

“It’s not a traditional America anymore, and there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama.”

Twenty years ago, O’Reilly said, Obama would have been “roundly defeated by an establishment candidate” like Romney.

“The white establishment is now the minority,” he added. “The voters, many of them, feel this economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff.”

The primary issue is not race. It’s outlook. You have basically two types of people, when considered in the context of electoral politics. One wants to do, and wants to be left alone to do it. The other wants to get, not in the traditional American sense of pursuing happiness…but to have goodies to which one is entitled, and provided for by others.

Since the welfare/entitlement state began in earnest, back in the 1930s, the trend has been consistent and steady. Ignore the periods of exception or backing off the trend, such as when Eisenhower or Reagan were President. These periods were the exception, not the norm. They did not represent the steady direction the country was taking, even at those times.
Before Obama, presidential elections were usually decided by the state of the economy. This is because most people, before Obama, wanted a thriving economy above all else.

Things have changed.

The fact that Obama—an open redistributer or wealth—won the first time was an indication that perhaps something had changed in American society. …

Obama won. Before 2012, this would not have been possible in America. At the end of the day, a majority would never have voted back into office a President presiding over such a lousy economy. Obama himself, back in 2009, predicted he would not be a two-term President if the economy didn’t appreciably improve. The economy did not appreciably approve. Yet Obama won anyway. …

This is so not the America of 1776. There are still good and great people to be found in this society, and some of them will perhaps still manage to flourish, unless liberty perishes altogether and some kind of a dictatorship takes hold in coming decades. (It certainly can, on our current course, especially with continued debt, deficits and economic decline.)

One thing is for sure. Those of us who yearn to think, live self-responsibly and independently must share a society with a plurality of people who would rather force others to take care of them. Not every single person who voted for Obama is a mooching dependent of the welfare state, of course. The truth is much uglier than that. The majority of people live their lives in such fear—even if they’re doing quite well for themselves—that they chose to support the least freedom loving President in our relatively young nation’s history. Obama provides them with the illusion that they’re not alone, even though they are more alone with a hack like Obama, not less.

03 Jul 2012

It Used to Be a Free Country

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How long has it been since you heard somebody politely ask permission to do something (like light a cigarette) and heard the reply: “It’s a free country.” In my own experience, it’s been a long time.

Jerry has an excellent essay, reflecting on how far things have come, and just where America’s wound up.

This is not a nation where people are left alone anymore. This is a nation where they are hounded from the moment they are born until the moment they die by the arms of a regulatory state run by men and women weaned on Cleaver, Alinsky, Fourier, Marx, Wells and countless others. This is a nation where, accordingly, being left alone is the greatest of luxuries. …

ObamaCare is one of the final declarations that there is no opting out. Even if you don’t drive, own a home, own a business, own a dog, or do one of the infinite things that bring you into mandatory contact with the apparatus of your local, semi-local, trans-local, national or global government, you are committed to a task from maturity to death. Your mission is to obtain health insurance, and, in a system in which you become the ward of the government as soon as you taste air, it is the price that you pay for being alive.

In a free country, you are not obligated to do things simply for the privilege of breathing oxygen north of the Rio Grande and south of Niagara Falls. But this isn’t a free country anymore; this is a country in which you get things for free. And there is a big difference between those two things.

We are a nation in which everyone is entitled to everything, except the right to opt out of all the entitlements and the cost of paying for them. We may not have the Bill of Rights anymore, but we have a hell of a bill to settle and, every year, the deficits keep making it bigger and bigger. Our forefathers passed on to us a Bill of Rights, and we shall pass on to our descendants a Bill. A tremendous Bill which can be unrolled from the mountains to the prairies to the oceans white with foam… and all the way across the ocean to China.

This one is must-read.

02 Sep 2011

Anti-Scientific, Reationary Liberals

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We’ve recently heard a lot of condescending accusations that Republican candidates who refuse to accept Warmism are anti-scientific, just as we heard an awful lot during the battle over Obamacare how backward anyone was who did not understand that universal government-provided healthcare was an essential feature of any modern advanced society.

Dan Greenfield explored the issue of just who the reactionaries harboring hostility toward science and Modernity really are in an excellent essay written early last year.

The narrative that liberal pundits have constructed and continually replayed over the last year is one in which progress minded and enlightened liberals are working to reform America into a modern society, while being stymied by a bunch of knuckle dragging reactionary conservatives who are anti-Science and want to drag America back into the dark ages. There’s only one problem with this narrative, it’s actually a mirror image of reality.

When it comes to holding on to reactionary ideas or maintaining an ideological worldview built on a reflexive hostility to modernity; nobody can top the modern leftist or his tamer liberal cousin. If you took away leader worship, fear of technology, the state as the solution to all problems, the supremacy of the group over the individual and the belief that the “enlightened” should rule over the common masses for their own good and control every aspect of their lives– there would be nothing left of the modern liberal. Literally nothing at all.

The modern liberal is wedded to a thoroughly reactionary worldview in which he worships the institutions he control and is full of paranoia and suspicion of those he does not. He disdains the common man and longs for enlightened leaders to uplift him and to transform his country into a messianic vision of a kingdom of heaven in which no one ever goes hungry and everyone is perfectly equalized– a pseudo-religious vision of government as religion that is wholly primitive in its conflation of theology and civics.

Every time a liberal pundit self-righteously trots out the stereotype of the ignorant science bashing conservative who just won’t accept the science of the environmentalist movement, he needs to be reminded that the entire environmentalist movement is founded on a fear of the products of science, namely technology and modern civilization. …

When its flashy clothes are stripped away, liberalism stands revealed as a fear of modernity. There is nothing progressive about liberalism, it is the ideology of a political, cultural and economic elite that reviles everything modern, that longs for a mystical right of kings and well ordered oligarchies, denounces technology as the tool of the pollution devil, distrusts all science that is not in the service of its ideology and is threatened by any sort of debate or opposition.

Today liberalism is the second most backward, most paranoid, most reactionary and totalitarian ideology in the West after Islamism. Both are based on the fear of the modern, the fear of the liberated individual, technology and the nation state. Their great dream is the same, a vast mystical world-state ruled over by the enlightened and providing an inhumanly perfect justice for all. Both believe that the only solution for mankind is to go backward, to crawl instead of walk, to fear instead of know and to obey rather than think. That is Liberalism and Islamism in a nutshell, two reactionary ideologies walking together into the dark ages.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

13 Jul 2010

“Two Wolves and a Lamb Voting On the Entree For Lunch”

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Neil Reynolds comments on the financial collapse of the European welfare state.

Democracies produced Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, fulfilling the expectation of Socrates and Machiavelli that democracies end in tyranny. Now democracies are fulfilling the complementary expectation of Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman that democracies end in bankruptcy. Put a democracy in charge of the Sahara, Mr. Friedman once said, and sand itself will become scarce. Democracies are indeed profligate trustees – or have been for the past 30 or 40 years. Mr. Friedman’s primary fret, though, was the tendency of democracy to centralize political and economic power in the same hands. Most critiques of democracy reflect this elemental distrust. “Democracy is two wolves and a lamb,” Benjamin Franklin reputedly said, “voting on what to have for lunch.”

A must read article.

24 Mar 2010

Nanny State to Bully State

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After Leviathan has seized control of health services and is picking up the tab for your health care, Patrick Basham notes, government intrusion into your personal life and government efforts to reform your bad habits will inevitably assume a lot more urgency. Methods of altering citizens’ behavior are likely to get a lot tougher than a new series of public service messages.

During the course of this decade we will witness a global battle over the fate of the nascent Bully State. The Bully State will be this decade’s ‘bad cop’ to the Nanny State’s ‘good cop’ of past decades.

The past generation of welfare statism saw the unduly protective Nanny State bleed into every sinew of our daily lives. Sociologist David Marsland explains that, ‘Once you have a big welfare state in place, the excuse for state nannying is infinite in scale’, he says. ‘This … continues the process of reducing self-reliance and handing responsibility for ourselves to external bodies.’

Yet, just when you thought things could not get worse, they did. Two years ago, Oxford University’s Nuffield Council of Bioethics published a seminal report that provided the international public health establishment with the explicit rationale for a dramatic change in the relationship between the citizen and the State.

Did anyone think national health care was really going to be free?

Hat tip to the News Junkie.

22 Mar 2010

Another European Welfare State

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Let’s hope the Supreme Court strikes it down, or the new GOP Congress repeals the damned thing next Fall. As Mark Steyn observes, the Bismarkian welfare state dramatically changes the relationship of nations to government making citizens into clients and dependents, and there are other inevitable consequences.

[I]t’s hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished. Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage: As the graph posted earlier shows, the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be “insurers” in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and once that’s clear we’ll be on the fast track to Obama’s desired destination of single payer as a fait accomplis.

If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history. It’s a huge transformative event in Americans’ view of themselves and of the role of government. You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn’t be doing what they’re doing. Their bet is that it can’t be undone, and that over time, as I’ve been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people. As I wrote in NR recently, there’s plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.

More prosaically, it’s also unaffordable. That’s why one of the first things that middle-rank powers abandon once they go down this road is a global military capability. If you take the view that the U.S. is an imperialist aggressor, congratulations: You can cease worrying. But, if you think that America has been the ultimate guarantor of the post-war global order, it’s less cheery. Five years from now, just as in Canada and Europe two generations ago, we’ll be getting used to announcements of defense cuts to prop up the unsustainable costs of big government at home. And, as the superpower retrenches, America’s enemies will be quick to scent opportunity.

Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon.

21 Dec 2008

Liberalism Is Really All About Selfishness

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Nicholas Kristof finds himself forced to admit that, despite their constant yammering about the less fortunate, liberals are typically not personally very charitable at all.

This holiday season is a time to examine who’s been naughty and who’s been nice, but I’m unhappy with my findings. The problem is this: We liberals are personally stingy.

Liberals show tremendous compassion in pushing for generous government spending to help the neediest people at home and abroad. Yet when it comes to individual contributions to charitable causes, liberals are cheapskates.

Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, “Who Really Cares,” cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.

Other research has reached similar conclusions. The “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.

The upshot is that Democrats, who speak passionately about the hungry and homeless, personally fork over less money to charity than Republicans — the ones who try to cut health insurance for children.

“When I started doing research on charity,” Mr. Brooks wrote, “I expected to find that political liberals — who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did — would turn out to be the most privately charitable people. So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views.”

Read the whole thing.

Really there is nothing surprising here.

Liberalism is a philosophy of limitless self-entitlement, which undertakes simply to dispense with Constitutional limits, federalism, and the wisdom of the ages in order to get what the liberal desires… right now. What liberals desire is power, affirmation of their self-importance, the ability to call the shots, and massive federal intervention to tidy up the world on their behalf.

Liberals live in a comfortable haute bourgeois mileu, and are susceptible to self doubt concerning their own worthiness. The existence of different, less eligible human circumstances both offends the liberal aesthetic sense, and makes the liberal conscience uneasy.

Naturally, the liberal feels that all of the world’s untidyness, unruliness, and unhappiness ought to be promptly and efficiently cleared away at the public expense. Tax dollars taken from wealthier people engaged in less obviously defensible occupations than the liberal’s own will be more than ample to pay for all that, the liberal just naturally supposes.

It is precisely this unmoderated selfishness, this unlimited sense of self-entitlement which makes the urban enclaves where liberals abound so unlivable. Government in those places is always impractically overreaching, administratively incompetent, and fiscally wildly out of control. Local politics is always a snakepit of activism, corruption, and interest groups squabbling over every issue, every decision, and every dollar like a pack of wolves.

27 Jun 2008

Liberals:Totalitarian Enablers

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John Hawkins points to Berkeley, to Canada (where Mark Steyn is on trial), and to Europe as examples of just where we are going to wind up if our liberal friends have their way.

The liberal agenda (today) is, in many respects, the same as it was in the thirties. Whether you call it communism, fascism, socialism, liberalism, or progressivism, the only real difference is how much they believe they can get away with, the way they sell it to people, and the latest trendy name for what they believe.

So, once the liberals pick a policy from their stale program to push, the next step is to get it implemented. This is where liberals have problems because whether a policy makes sense, is practical, or actually improves people’s lives is of secondary importance to them. What is important to liberals is whether supporting or opposing that policy makes them feel good about themselves.

This is why liberals continue to support dysfunctional policies that have been failing miserably for decades and why they often oppose common sense programs that have been proven to work time and time again — because it isn’t about whether it works or not, it’s about how it makes them feel.

In other words, a liberal will almost always prefer a policy that’s extremely expensive, is difficult to implement, helps almost no one, but seems “nice” — to a policy that is cheap, simple to implement, extremely effective, and seems “mean.”

However, since most Americans make decisions about policies based on whether or not they believe the policy makes people’s lives better or worse, liberals have had to become habitually dishonest about what they believe and want to do to get their ideas put into action. …

Even though this is a center-right country, we do have political cycles and there are times when those cycles favor the Left. When that happens and the Lefties start to get a bit more confident, usually a few liberals at the edges will start talking about what they want to do. At that early point, most other liberals will still vehemently deny their ideological goals to the public out of fear that it will prevent them from getting into power.

However, when the Left gains enough strength to be capable of getting one of the policies they favor implemented, all the liberals who previously denied that they supported it will unapologetically shift on a dime and vote for it en masse — while they rely on their ideological allies in the media and the fact that many Americans are ill informed about politics to cover their tracks.

So, if you want to know what liberals want to do, their words mean absolutely nothing because lying about their agenda has become as natural to them as chasing a cat is to a dog.

Instead, what you have to do is watch what other liberals have done when they have come into power. Look at Canada, where conservatives are being put on trial for hate crimes because they’ve dared to criticize Muslims. Look at European countries, where they have socialistic economies, sky high tax rates, rigid speech codes, and overweening nannystates. You can even look at liberal enclaves in the United States like Berkeley and San Francisco, where members of the military are treated like pariahs and they boo the national anthem.

If you believe the liberals in Berkeley, France, Canada or for that matter in the bowels of the Daily Kos or Huffington Post, are significantly different than, say Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, you are kidding yourself. The only differences are in what they think they can get away with and how honest they are willing to be about their agenda.

20 Apr 2008

Mark Steyn Responds to Obama’s Remarks on God and Guns

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Mark Steyn has a few choice words for the democrat party front-runner.

Our lesson today comes from the songwriter Frank Loesser:

“Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition.”

Or as Barack Obama and his San Francisco pals would put it: God and guns. Loesser got the phrase from Howell Forgy, a naval chaplain at Pearl Harbor, who walked the decks of the USS New Orleans under Japanese bombardment, exhorting his comrades. When the line came to Loesser’s ears, he turned it into a big hit song of the Second World War:

“Praise the Lord and swing into position

Can’t afford to sit around a-wishin’…” – which some folks sang as “Can’t afford to be a politician.” Indeed. Sen. Obama’s remarks about poor dumb, bitter rural losers “clinging to” guns and God certainly testify to the instinctive snobbery of a big segment of the political class. But we shouldn’t let it go by merely deploring coastal condescension toward the knuckledraggers. No, what Michelle Malkin calls Crackerquiddick (quite rightly – it’s more than just another dreary “-gate”) is not just snobbish nor even merely wrongheaded. It’s an attack on two of the critical advantages the United States holds over most of the rest of the Western world. In the other G7 developed nations, nobody clings to God ‘n’ guns. The guns got taken away, and the Europeans gave up on churchgoing once they embraced Big Government as the new religion.

How’s that working out? Compared with America, France and Germany have been more or less economically stagnant for the past quarter-century, living permanently with unemployment rates significantly higher than in the United States.

Has it made them any less “bitter,” as Obama characterizes those Pennsylvanian crackers? No. …

Europeans did “vote for their own best interests” – i.e., cradle-to-grave welfare, 35-hour workweeks, six weeks of paid vacation, etc. – and as a result they now face a perfect storm of unsustainable entitlements, economic stagnation and declining human capital that’s left them so demographically beholden to unassimilable levels of immigration that they’re being remorselessly Islamized with every passing day. We should thank God (forgive the expression) that America’s loser gun nuts don’t share the same sophisticated rational calculation of “their best interests” as do Thomas Frank, Obama, too many Democrats and the European political establishment.

As for “gun-totin’,” large numbers of Americans tote guns because they’re assertive, self-reliant citizens, not docile subjects of a permanent governing class. The Second Amendment is philosophically consistent with the First Amendment, for which I’ve become more grateful since the Canadian Islamic Congress decided to sue me for “hate speech” up north. Both amendments embody the American view that liberty is not the gift of the state, and its defense cannot be outsourced exclusively to the government.

I think a healthy society needs both God and guns: It benefits from a belief in some kind of higher purpose to life on Earth, and it requires a self-reliant citizenry. If you lack either of those twin props, you wind up with today’s Europe – a present-tense Eutopia mired in fatalism.

A while back, I was struck by the words of Oscar van den Boogaard, a Dutch gay humanist (which is pretty much the trifecta of Eurocool). Reflecting on the Continent’s accelerating Islamification, he concluded that the jig was up for the Europe he loved, but what could he do? “I am not a warrior, but who is?” he shrugged. “I have never learned to fight for my freedom. I was only good at enjoying it.”

Sorry, it doesn’t work like that. If you don’t understand that there are times when you’ll have to fight for it, you won’t enjoy it for long. …

God and guns. Maybe one day a viable society will find a magic cure-all that can do without both, but Big Government isn’t it. And even complacent liberal Democrats ought to be able to look across the ocean and see that. But, then, Obama did give the speech in San Francisco, a city demographically declining at a rate that qualifies it for EU membership. When it comes to parochial simpletons, you don’t need to go to Kansas.

02 Jan 2008

A New Year’s Rant

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Neal Boortz has some choice words for the left.

Sorry, I’m not in the mood for all of this Happy New Year nonsense. This is getting to be about as phony as the 4th of July. (Freedom … right. Like the people of this country are still in love with the idea of liberty.) This is 2008. This is an election year. We’re choosing a new House of Representatives, about one-third of the Senate and a president. This is not the type of New Year you launch with the traditional expressions of optimism. We’re in trouble. An election is coming in 11 months and millions of parasites, led by single females, are getting ready to accelerate the destruction of the concepts of individuality, private property rights, self-reliance, and this very country by putting a hideous, power-hungry, big-government socialist into the White House.

I think I’ve made a bit of a mistake over the past few months. Trying to be a bit to nice to the people I think are destroying this country. I’ve been trying to cut them some slack .. be a little understanding. You know, the compassion thing. Well, something must have clicked during the last two weeks off. No more free passes. Identify the leeches. Call them out. They’re destroying the greatest system of governance this world has ever known, and they should not be allowed to go unchallenged.

If you squandered every opportunity for an education to end up an unemployable semi-literate loser, that’s your problem, not mine. If you’ve destroyed your health with cigarettes and fast food … then by what right do you demand that people who lived their lives more responsibly than you cover the cost of your medical care. You cry about your “right” to health care. You dare to claim a right to the services of another human being to correct problems you created for yourself? Further, if it is more important for you to spend your money on a cell phone, flat-screen televisions, the best new car, meals at expensive restaurants and fancy vacations than it is to spend your money on a health insurance policy .. then you should be on your own. Don’t beg the government to steal from someone else so that you don’t have to change your lifestyle.

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