When my grandmother was born a horse was the normal means of transport. When my granddaughter was born the International Space Striation was the brightest light in the night’s sky. In other words, things change. When I sat on the couch and watched the first man walk on the moon with my grandmother she didn’t believe it was real. When I tell my low information neighbors that the International Space Striation is the brightest light in the night’s sky they don’t believe it is true. In other words, human nature doesn’t change.
To allow our leaders, our fellow citizens, our own kith and kin the charitable label of misguided dreamers is the closest I can come to innocently explaining their roles as either accomplices or instigators of our national decline. I try to tell myself they are as Lenin and Stalin are reputed to have called them, “Useful Idiots:” well-meaning people who genuinely believe central planning will help the needy. I try not to let myself think the Progressives and their supporters are actually extremely corrupt and evil people who are actively attempting to transform our beloved experiment in freedom into another forced labor camp striving to achieve Utopia.
The problem with utopian dreams is that they always end in dystopian realities. Lenin’s dream of a worker’s paradise transformed itself into Stalin’s nightmare of the gulags, starvation, and the eventual destruction of their nation. Mousseline’s dream of a return to the glories of Rome led directly to the loss of the empire they had and the destruction of their nation. Hitler’s dream of a Thousand Year Reich led directly to the Gestapo, the holocaust, the worst war in History, and the destruction of their nation.
How can we believe we can follow a dream of utopia to any other end than the one everyone else has arrived at: the dust bin of History?
Some may say, “But we are Americans, and we have always done the things others could not do.” You will find no more ardent believer in American Exceptionalism than I. I truly believe, not that diversity is our strength but instead that the blending of all into a uniquely American hybrid has created the most talented, most dynamic, and most successful nation the world has ever known. It is not the will or the talents of our homegrown American collectivists that I question; it is the very nature of collectivism that I maintain makes the accomplishment of their utopian dream impossible.
People can have the best of intentions; however, if they believe they can take from Peter to pay Paul without making Peter resent the fact that he has less than he had before they don’t know Peter very well. And if they think they can set Paul up as a perpetual recipient of the swag taken from Peter without creating a pool of Paul’s who constantly want more and who resent those who do the distributing they have never worked in a soup kitchen, a food bank, or a giveaway store for more than a day.
The vast majority of people are not by nature altruistic milk cows, and they resent it when that is how they are viewed by the nameless faceless bureaucracy necessary to make the machinery of utopia crank out the shabby imitation they deliver. Conversely the vast majority of people are not by nature perpetual mooches content to stand with their hands out waiting for the nameless faceless bureaucracy to deliver the bare minimum needed to survive which is always the bounty that actually drops from the utopian extruder.
I contend that a collectivist redistribution Utopia whether it is called Progressive, Socialist, Communist, Fascist, or merely the right thing to do is contrary to the nature of humanity.
People by nature want to be self-reliant. They want to make things better for themselves and their children. People want to strive for something noble, and they want to feel as if their lives matter. Yet in an industrial world divided into haves and have nots it is easy to understand how the frustration of being a have not can convince someone that there needs to be a more equitable division of the material goods which modern civilization abundantly provides.
Having come from a blue collar family and having spent the majority of my life as a self-employed boom or bust house painter I can well relate to not having health insurance because you can’t afford it, I couldn’t. I can relate to having mornings where you don’t know what you will feed your family that night because I have had those days. I know what it is like to be a high school dropout who can’t get anything except a menial low paying job, because I have been that person. Yes, I can relate to the situations which might make a person believe we need to spread the wealth around.
I also know what it feels like to have to get food stamps and other things from public and private assistance just to make it through the day because I have done so. I know how the welfare people make you feel, the way they treat you as if you are trying to take their personal money or the condescension of pity.
What I can’t relate to is either thinking it is a good thing to consign our fellow citizens to such a life or to being satisfied with such a life.
Not only does a welfare state corrupt both the dispensers and the recipients it carries the seeds of its own destruction. Eventually the recipients will want more than the dispensers are willing to give, and revolution or collapse will be the end result.
In addition, since redistribution as a state policy always means stealing from Peter to pay Paul, ultimately the thief will need a gun. Though Peter may be a nice person and at first say, “Sure I can contribute something to help poor old Paul,” if poor old Paul never gets back on his feet sooner or later Peter will wonder why Paul doesn’t start providing for himself. At that point the contributions are no longer voluntary and they must be taken one way or another. There is also the question of how many Pauls can Peter carry without either shrugging like Atlas or becoming a Paul himself in self-defense. As Margret Thatcher taught us, “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money.”
Plunder empires always collapse. Utopias always end up eating the goose that laid the golden egg. Central planning and collectivism: the Progressive dream for a Great Society has never, can never, and will never succeed. It just isn’t natural.
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2013 Robert R. Owens Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens