December 9, 2012

“So who will tell the truth – and then act on it?” [Darleen Click]

On both sides of the Atlantic, Barack Obama and George Osborne are locked into the trajectory of killing off The West.

[R]ight here, right now, it matters that Barack Obama and George Osborne are playing small-time strategic games with their toy-town enemies while the unutterable economic truth stares them in the face. (The political leadership of the EU seems to have passed through the looking glass into a world where the rules of economics do not apply, so their statements and actions are beyond analysis.) Mr Obama is locked in an eye-balling contest with a Republican Congress to see who can end up with more ignominy when the United States goes over the fiscal cliff. It is clear now that the president will be quite happy to bring about this apocalypse – which would pull most of the developed world into interminable recession – if he could be sure that it would result in long-term electoral damage to his opponents.

Meanwhile, Mr Osborne takes teeny-tiny steps in the direction which is the only plausible one: little bitty reductions in the welfare programme to “make work pay” which are barely enough to push those who are actually working in the black economy off the unemployment rolls, and fiddly adjustments (almost too small to notice in day-to-day life) to lessen the burden of tax that bears down on people who are scarcely self-sustaining, let alone prosperous. Supposedly from opposite sides of the political divide, the US president and the British Chancellor come to a surprisingly similar conclusion: it is not feasible to speak the truth, let alone act on it. The truth being, as this column has often said, that present levels of public spending and government intervention in the US, Britain and Europe are unsustainable. The proportion of GDP which is now being spent by the governments of what used to be called the “free world” vastly exceeds what it is possible to raise through taxation without destroying any possibility of creating wealth, and therefore requires either an intolerable degree of national debt or the endless printing of progressively more meaningless money – or both. [...]

Having won the Cold War and succeeded in settling the great ideological argument of the 20th century in favour of free-market economics, the nations of the West managed to bankrupt themselves by insisting that they could fund a lukewarm form of socialism with the proceeds of capitalism.

What the West took from its defeat of the East was that it must accept the model of the state as social engineer in order to avert any future threat to freedom. Capitalism would only be tolerated if government distributed its wealth evenly across society. The original concept of social security and welfare provision – that no one should be allowed to sink into destitution or real want – had to be revisited. The new ideal was that there should not be inequalities of wealth.

And, as we have seen over the past few decades, the knowledge that one is entitled to a portion of your working neighbor’s earnings has stripped people of a work ethic, principles of frugality and gratitude. The harder the State has worked to alleviate people of being ashamed to be on the dole (e.g. EBT cards that look like debit cards, naming food stamp programs something trendy like “CalFresh”) the easier it has made it for welfare recipients to have disposable income to indulge in a middle class lifestyle without actually working for it. Ironically, any “shame” associated with the transfer of wealth from the producers to the welfare class is to be imposed on any producer who dares question the entitlement.

This picture of the perfect society – in which disparities of wealth are eradicated and economic equality is maintained through a vastly complex and expensive system of state intervention – has been the explicit goal of the EU virtually since its inception. It had an on-again, off-again history in Britain until it was locked firmly into the political infrastructure by Gordon Brown. More unexpectedly, it has now taken root in the American political culture, where Mr Obama seems determined to exploit it in his blood-curdling contest with the Republicans. Once ensconced, this concept undermines the logic of the free-market economy which funds it.

Capitalism is, by its nature, dynamic: it creates transitory disparities of wealth constantly as it reinvents itself. Fortunes are made and lost and, as old industries are replaced by new, the earnings that they create rise and fall. Punishing those who exceed some momentary average income and artificially subsidising those who fall below it – as well as providing for a universal standard of living which bears no relation to merit or even to need – has now reached the unavoidable, unaffordable end of the line.

So who will tell the truth – and then act on it? Who will say not just that welfare must be cut, but that in future the NHS will need to rely on a system of co-payments? That people will have to provide for their own retirement because the state pension will be frozen? That without a radical reduction in government intervention, the free and prosperous West will have been a brief historical aberration?

Well, in this country, those that have spoken the truth are dismissed as teabaggers, hobbits, hysterics and racists.

This isn’t going to end well.

Posted by Darleen @ 10:00am
47 comments | Trackback

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Comments (47)

  1. Slavery has returned, although it is now called “income equality.”

    I seem to recall there was a rather bloody war fought over slavery a century and a half ago.

  2. Boehner agrees the rich need to pay more. So on that point we have a consensus.

  3. Weepy would gladly tax you today for spending cuts someday.

  4. Weepy would gladly tax you today for spending cuts to spending increases someday.

    FIFY

  5. It’s reparations, pure and simple. But there is an “other” reparation coming to all those who looked toward this state of affairs with indignant righteousness and glee, as a wrong finally righted.

    It’s a lie, it will never be righted, it can only be buried once and for all.

    Their refusal to dwell in peace in a land that has both in law and culture made a way of peace and prosperity available to all who pursue it, will leave the takers further and further outside the eventual process of surviving hardships to come. When our country did away with slavery, we replaced it with machinery, trade schools, innovations, engineering, and paid workers to produce things that others wanted.

    The current state of ignorant anarchy will bring forth nothing to replace the producers. Producers are now their slaves, and when they are rid of us, tribalism is the best they can hope for. And they will be slaves yet the more.

  6. Joan, if they’re lucky, the takers will survive long enough to become slaves.

    Welfare recipients are one extended EBT failure away from rampaging hordes running amok, killing and looting everything in their path.

    These people have absolutely no clue as to how thin and rotten the reed upon which they rest is.

  7. The new ideal was that there should not be inequalities of wealth.

    You so desperately want to believe that Obama believes that, but clearly, he doesn’t.

  8. “You so desperately want to believe that Obama believes that, but clearly, he doesn’t

    A friend from Chicago, involved in Illinois politics who has known Obama since his early days in the Illinois State Senate, told me that two things that trump everything else in Obama’s mind: redistributing the wealth and empowering labor unions. Look at everything the President does, my friend says, and you will find one or the other lurking in the background.

    link

  9. Offence-taking is a tried and tested tactic by which certain movements can dismiss critics without need for engagement, and bend society to their wishes. It is enabled by society’s lack of nerve, and by a persistence and willingness to take advantage of society’s weakness on the part of those employing it. Over the last few decades it has been used extensively by the feminist and gay rights movements. While many of the positions held by these movements may be perfectly justified, they have advanced in many quarters by silencing opponents and inoculating themselves against criticism, characterizing opponents or critics and their positions as hateful or insensitive and petitioning powerful allies to close down their voices.

    On account of offence-taking and outrage-making tactics, such movements have rendered society incredibly pliable to their wishes. Given the social value of appearing enlightened and sensitized to the concerns of such groups, other parties can fall over themselves to take offence on their behalf, or to pander to their professed concerns. Those opposing certain of the claims of such movements will not infrequently find themselves marginalized within respectable society, suffering great damage to their reputation, being sidelined within the academy, or removed from public office. Offence-taking and outrage-making parties do not have to win any arguments, just to claim that other parties are being ‘intolerant’, ‘prejudiced’, ‘misogynist’, ‘homophobic’, etc. Little evidence is required to support such claims. Where opposing views are still voiced, they are exposed to an extreme double standard, having to meet standards of argument and evidence considerably greater than other positions. In such a manner, public discourse becomes a closed shop.

    link

  10. Looks like we’re in for another round of Heinlein’s “Bad luck”:

    Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

    This is known as “bad luck.”

  11. Equal opportunity but not equal outcomes – or something like that.

  12. Slippery, the only thing you’re useful for is being an idiot. Good luck with that when there is no longer any need for an idiot such as yourself.

  13. I have to disagree with the primary contention that “we won the Cold War.”

    I don’t think that is correct at all.

  14. And Slope at 2:39 actually shows a glimmer of sense.

    Probably just lucky, but who knows.

  15. You so desperately want to believe that Obama believes that, but clearly, he doesn’t.

    dear, he certainly does believe that!

    Oh, you mean his $4 million dollar Christmas vacation in Hawaii? But he needs that as He is your Lord and Savior … He’s doing it for your own good, of course, and since when do the rules for the masses ever apply to the Masters?

  16. I have to disagree with the primary contention that “we won the Cold War.”

    Indeed. The collapse of the Berlin wall and communism wasn’t the final battle. It was actually an unrelated sideshow. The long game Soviet strategy was the clear winner, even if they didn’t last long enough to enjoy it. We have adopted all the communists wanted. We have destroyed ourselves.

  17. You are confusing wealth and income, Darleen. Obama adores wealth, he hates high achievers.

  18. Fortunately, The West [Christendom] is an idea that will survive in the hearts and minds of a few of us, just as The United States Of America is an idea that will live on in our souls.

    Both are not subject to physicial restrictions, so they can carry-on.

    It is our duty to those who came before us and those who are yet to be born to preserve that Sword Of Imagination that keeps both ideas alive.

  19. Counting down the days

    When the apathy and fear reaches a crisis point in the next few years, probably during our next election in 2016, we will deal with the unmitigated disaster of the irresponsible fiscal spending this nation has been engaged in for decades.

    Once this cataclysmic event occurs, the transition will begin. After the crisis starts, most people willingly accept the difficult solutions that were unfathomable only months earlier.

    In the case of the U. S. economy, the change that will take place will be the recognition that only by accepting personal responsibility and accountability will our economy ever right itself. If personal responsibility is not accepted, collapse of our nation, as we know it, is inevitable.

    Col. Ryan thinks we’ll make it ’till 2016. I think he knows better, but is afraid to say so.

  20. Bob Belvedere says December 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    That was awesome Bob. Inspirational even.

  21. OT: I wonder if Bob Costas will say something stupid again tonight.

  22. i don’t think nbcmslsd has a stupid quota

  23. Thank you, LBascom.

  24. While the Colonel makes some solid points, serr8d, he ignores what’s most needed for any return to fiscal sanity to survive long-term: a restoration of virtue.

    As many of the Founders believed, the continued existence of The Republic depends on enough of the people realizing their duties and responsibilities as citizens of a constitutional republic.

  25. Restoration of virture? That won’t happen easily or soon.

  26. True, cranky. But it’s necessary to try.

  27. You are confusing wealth and income, Darleen. Obama adores wealth, he hates high achievers.

    B Moe nails it.

  28. he ignores what’s most needed for any return to fiscal sanity to survive long-term: a restoration of virtue.

    I think he knows virtue is a necessity, but it’s still too soon to mention that essential nugget is required for any recovery. He’d be called a godbothering loony clown with obvious RAAAAACIST! and homophobic tendencies.

    Those sorts, jeering and mocking, will have the worst time of it I’m thinking.

  29. Good point, serr8d.

  30. It’s not about inequality, or opportunity either. It’s about how these things get decided.

  31. So who will tell the truth

    Liars rule us, revenge is what they desire most. For us, the teabagging scum, a new housing is being tested. Truth? Bah Humbug.

  32. I can hardly wait.

  33. Well we’re likely to stupid to know or care what happens. Until the rats come anyway.

  34. Too for to, to prove my own stupidity.

    Now, when does the “Hot War” start?

  35. This isn’t going to end well.

    As long as fags can’t marry, it won’t be that bad.

  36. As long as fags can’t marry, it won’t be that bad.

    Obviously someone needs to look up the difference between “symptom” and “disease”.

  37. after the recent fiasco even the dimmest Team R is beginning to understand that the party’s coddling of social con weirdos is a magnet for loser candidates that immensely damage its brand

    and now we find out that the party’s rabid fealty to religious nuts has far and away eclipsed any such fealty to conservative economic principles

    America deserves better than this boenerfaglilarosism

  38. Actually, someone needs to look up sarcasm.

    A post about the destruction of Western Civ gets 30 responses, one about gay marriage gets 800.

    Well actually about the same 10 repeated 80 times. I don’t understand the obsession.

  39. I don’t understand the obsession

    Newspeak … or, in other words …

    Because language matters.

  40. after the recent fiasco even the dimmest Team R is beginning to understand that the party’s coddling of social con weirdos is a magnet for loser candidates that immensely damage its brand
    and now we find out that the party’s rabid fealty to religious nuts has far and away eclipsed any such fealty to conservative economic principles

    If you ran a platform of free shit for everyone, but no marrying, fags against it’s opposite, I imagine free shit beats gay marriage in nine times out of ten.

  41. You so desperately want to believe that Obama believes that, but clearly, he doesn’t.

    You mean to tell me that Barack Obama believes that he is entitled to more wealth than we plebs? The hell you say.

  42. That’s the difference between deserving and un-deserving!

  43. A post about the destruction of Western Civ gets 30 responses, one about gay marriage gets 800.

    Both are about the destruction of Western civilization. Here’s another:

    A federal judge has ruled it is unconstitutional for North Carolina to issue pro-life license plates unless the state offers similar plates supporting abortion rights.

  44. A post about the destruction of Western Civ gets 30 responses, one about gay marriage gets 800.

    There’s really not much to discuss regarding the former, unless there’s a troll in the house. Unless you’re looking for a hundred variations of “Man, that’s sucks.” and “These assholes! What bullshit!” there’s not that much left to say.

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