2012: A time to fight
No, I’m not advocating violence. I’m just observing the existence of a conflict between 2 completely irreconcilable ideas (and the people who hold them) that’s been growing for the past 100 years in America.
On one hand is the simple idea that “by the sweat of your face you will eat bread, till you return to the ground“. Or stated only a bit more pleasantly, that everyone should work, that earning a living must be encouraged, that charity should only be given to or accepted by people in a misfortune entirely beyond their control.
On the other hand is a century of serious intellectual effort not to accept that fact. To proclaim, in much prettier words than I’ll use here, that people are entitled simply by their existence to various things they want (a “job”, a “living wage”, “social justice”, “access to healthcare”, “decent” housing, and other items in the intellectuals’ easily malleable list of “rights”), without the traditionalists’ demand that they pay for such things themselves, or receive them as a willing gift from another who had.
In the middle of this have been the mostly decent people of America going about their business and paying sporadic attention to the ideological conflict.
For the past 100 years, the entitlement idea has advanced. There have been rear-guard actions opposing it (fought by, e.g. William F. Buckley, Milton Friedman, and Ronald Reagan), but these have delayed or postponed, rather than reversed the trend.
Now, however, the idea of entitlement is, to borrow a term used by many others, literally and figuratively nearing bankruptcy. The cost of taxing, borrowing, or inflating to pay for people NOT to produce is going to be higher than Americans are willing to pay within the next 10 years.
On the side of the entitled are a motley collection of genuine scum who want to use them as a way to actively destroy civilization, the “Anointed” busybodies trying to hold on to their self-image as morally superior (or in many cases, to distract from their own fantastic wealth acquired partly or wholly through the political process), politicians (almost all of the Democrats, but many Republicans as well) who’ve managed to use “compassion” through the money of others to get themselves elected, and an army of sympathizers throughout the media, government agencies, court systems, unions, Hollywood, and subsidized universities.
On the side of the workers (the producers, not the proletariat of Marxist lore) are reality, and a relatively young (the Tea Party for lack of a better comprehensive term) movement supporting them, with good intentions, few illusions, but little or no experience in political battle. There are also the established conservative and libertarian organizations – some of which, like any organization, have some inertia in their culture, but almost all of whom recognize the need to fight.
What do we need to do now?
- First, we can’t forget that also on the “entitled” side are the victims of the welfare state themselves – the children (and even the mothers and fathers) from families whose breakup was subsidized by the welfare check. The disabled worker whose will to be productive in spite of his disability is eroded. The able-bodied young man who loses the habit of working daily after more than a year of collecting an unemployment check and pretending that he’s tried to find a job. The elderly who haven’t made provisions for their own retirement income or medical care. Most of these are people who can work and get along with each other if they have an incentive to do so.
Keep them in your mind when you’re lectured for your supposed lack of compassion. Keep them in mind too when you’re tempted to think that it’s only a lack of moral character and not the perverse incentives in a man-made system that led to their current conditions.
- Second, fight relentlessly and NOW. There are a minority of the Entitled who are going to fight back just as fiercely at any attempt to take away what they think is Theirs. We’ve seen them in 2011 in Greece, in the Wisconsin statehouse, in public parks all over America.
They’ve convinced themselves they can win this fight, despite the fact that the United States federal government alone has a debt greater than what all Americans produce in a year (leaving aside its less-binding promises such as Social Security and Medicare), and despite the fact that even some local and state Democrats have recognized the looming fiscal crises.
They will continue to convince themselves of a win unless and until their funding dries up and their ideas are widely recognized as the rotten lies that they are. And they will grow temporarily much stronger if they get to keep any semblance of the current President and Congress.
(Which category of entitlement supporters the President and various members of Congress belong to is debatable; that they’re on the side of entitlement is not.)
This fight, like other predictably imminent conflicts throughout history, can be resolved with much less cost now if it’s decisively pursued to a conclusion than if it’s delayed or half-assed. Would there have been an American Civil War, had a compensated emancipation program been instituted in 1850? Would the conflict of 1914-18 still be the only “Great War” had Hitler been removed from power after occupying the Rhineland? It’s plausible but not certain in both cases. Would the costs in money and lives lost have been much lower had slavery and National Socialism been defeated earlier? Undoubtedly.
How can we defeat entitlement now? Fight it with everything we’ve got.
- We have a largely sympathetic population around us who understands the underlying reality. They want economic growth and job opportunities, not entitlement. We are the only ones offering that, and we should not be ashamed nor should we deviate from that path.
- We should by all means continue to encourage each other and the less ideologically committed in the House and Senate of the reality of our conviction, at every chance we get.
And by all means, do not just stand on the sidelines and cheer.
- Get involved in your local Republican Party as a precinct captain, and oppose the party leadership if they won’t fight.
- Register sympathetic voters and get them to turn them out at election time.
- Politely correct people when they state Entitlement assumptions as though they were fact.
- Ridicule Leftists when they spew nonsense, no matter how prominent they are.
- Expose the “long march” through an institution before it gets entrenched.
- Continue working to get conservative Republicans elected to office, and don’t shy away from stepping on anyone’s toes to get that done.
- DON’T get bogged down in personality conflicts with people who agree with you.
Do ALL of these. They don’t take that much time once you’ve done them once; it takes less time to succeed then to fail.
With you all to victory,