Losing It

Why is our society losing its grip?

Our ongoing "Things To Come" series is documenting the unpleasant future our leading elites plan to impose on us.  The Democrats have enjoyed considerable success by promising voters goodies like "free" cell phones which will be paid for by someone else and there's no sign that "voting for a living" might change any time soon.

Most of which feminists call "women's issues" involve debating how much the rest of society will pay to give women free abortions, free birth control, free rent, and "affordable, high-quality child care," for example.

The whole thrust of American politics has become a battle over how much favored groups such as sugar growers and ethanol producers can squeeze out of taxpayers through high taxes on overseas competitors or federal laws that force drivers to pay to have ethanol mixed into their gasoline.

California voters agreed to let government raise taxes and gave Democrats the 2/3 majority they need to raise taxes at will.  The California legislature spends $1.25 or $1.50 for every dollar of increased revenue, however, so this will lead to even worse deficits.

Michigan voters decided not to let the state government appoint managers to take over failing cities.  Bankruptcy seems to be the only viable option for ruined cities such as Detroit.

Confucius pointed out that society collapses into anarchy when government costs more than society can afford.  We've argued that voters can stem the tide by electing virtuous politicians, but they didn't; to our appalled horror, they freely and openly voted for more spending instead.

If we can't cut Big Bird, we can't cut anything at all.  Now that the voters have spoken, we at Scragged see no political cure for excess government spending other than collapse.

How Did We Get Here?

Given that all societies which chose to give the people things they didn't earn have collapsed, there's no need to point out why such giveaways lead to ruin.  It would be instructive, however, to list the reasons why the American voters have voted for more and more spending to the point that economic growth can't keep up.

America was founded on the idea that people ought to work as hard as they could to earn as much as they could and that hard-working people had the right to keep what they earned.  Taxes and regulation were supposed to be limited so that government wouldn't get too powerful and so that there would be incentives to sell people products they wanted to buy.

The last several decades of big government and crony capitalism have run in the opposite direction.  The results are predictable - as tenants outnumber landlords and vote for rent control, as welfare recipients and government employees vote for more taxes, government costs go nowhere but up.

The question is, why were voters deluded into thinking that this situation was good for them and for their grandchildren?  Once someone settles into a life to taxpayer-funded ease either in a no-show government job or on welfare, it's hard to persuade them to go to work.  Why, however, did the rest of the voters go along with this? Why didn't they know better?

There are a number of causes:

  • It's long been recognized that parents are a child's most important teachers.  On Nov. 27, 2102, USA Today published "Santa don't care if you're naughty or nice."  The article said that although 23% of the children said they were willing to eat spinach to get the presents they wanted, 80% of parents planned to give the same gifts regardless of how well their children behaved.  If parents don't punish bad behavior and reward good behavior as kids expect them to, is it any surprise that kids don't bother to behave well?
  • My 3rd grade classmates were terrified of being "held back."  The laziest kids started working a lot harder along about March or April so that they'd pass.  In the end, nobody failed.  More than 40 years ago, however, schools decided that being held back was bad for "self esteem."  Educrats put in systems of "social promotion" where everybody got promoted whether they did the work or not.  Is it any surprise that kids who "graduate" without having to work believe that showing up is enough to earn high pay?  The Occupy movement demands free education and high-paying jobs regardless of work.  That's the core of the entitlement mentality.
  • Welfare means that a woman needn't require that a man have a job and marry her before getting her pregnant.  Many men abandon their children if they can have sex without responsibility.  A child whose mother isn't married is 80% more likely to be poor than a child whose parents are married.  Liberals have chosen to use this fact as an excuse to increase welfare benefits rather than trying to strengthen the institution of marriage.
  • Churches no longer urge people to behave well because God cares about what each person does.  The "All-Seeing Eye of God" was put on the dollar bill to remind everyone that God sees everything, but modern Americans no longer think that God cares about much of anything.  Religious institutions like the Catholic church acts as if their beliefs don't matter.  Catholics teach that abortion is murder and that the Pope has the authority to send people to hell by throwing them out of the church.  If these doctrines are important, why don't they excommunicate supposedly Catholic politicians such as Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden who advocate government-paid abortions?  By acting as if doctrines don't matter, the Catholic leadership acts like parents who give kids presents regardless of behavior.
  • When Lyndon Johnson was promoting the "Great Society" where poverty would be abolished, churches argued that government should take care of poor people because only government could raise enough money to cure poverty.  They advocated unconditional welfare payments even though the Bible commands that people who will not work shouldn't eat (II Thessalonians 3:10).  They advocated paying child support to unmarried mothers in spite of Biblical commands not to support women who'd never married (I Timothy 5:9-10).  By abandoning core doctrines of a book they claim to revere, most Christian denominations undermined their moral authority, and the resulting unconditional entitlements made working unnecessary.

The bottom line is that Americans, like Europeans, have abandoned the cultural, social, religious, and historical underpinnings to the essential notion that people should look out for themselves.  As Robert Samuelson put it in Newsweek, Feb 1, 1993, p. 51,

We gradually moved from an era in which people did not want to use government for anything to today when people use government for almost everything.

The difficulty is that government doesn't do anything particularly well.  The more we ask government to do, the less it accomplishes and the more it costs.  The more government costs, the sooner it will bring down our society.

When the times comes to recover from the coming collapse, let's hope that we remember some of the lessons of this one so that we don't have to make all the mistakes over again.

Will Offensicht is a staff writer for Scragged.com and an internationally published author by a different name.  Read other Scragged.com articles by Will Offensicht or other articles on Society.
Reader Comments

Unfortunately, people will continue to make these mistakes again and again. History shows this will repeat.

December 3, 2012 2:22 PM

There's another factor that results in men fathering children that they have no reason or incentive to raise: women's lib.

Women need to understand that men should hold doors for them not to suggest that they're too week and dainty to do it themselves, but to domesticate men and encourage them to behave around women. Physical differences are what they are, and women have become ungrateful for this domestication and so it is now gone. Women also don't help their cases by passing themselves around like collection plates at church.

There are loads of other factors too, that have created the sinkhole in which we find ourselves: a tax code that makes building wealth deliberately impossible and discourages saving and investing; a sports-team mentality applied to political parties; and the adoption of the idea that a government can solve anything at all, let alone problems that it caused itself.

But remember - all those problems are entirely by design.

December 3, 2012 7:00 PM

History repeats itself. Why should America be any different? As long as we are quoting biblical scriptures there's a little part in the Bible about coveting thy neighbor's wife and possessions if I am not mistaken. Is there any difference in coveting possessions and and the rest of the quotes that Will quoted? No, no difference, we are all instructed to do the right thing. Mankind is work and eat by the sweat of his brow in the most simplest form of instructions. Ever wonder where wealth envy came from? Well if you are a Bible thumping, right wing zealot who believes hat responsibility begins at home then you do not have to look any further than someone who might just oppose Biblical teachings. It is very unpopular to bring these teachings into the political forum because the progressives insist on separation of church and state. What they fail to mention is that our country was founded on these very principles that created the wealthiest nation on earth. Why are we in a downward spiral now? Very simple, we are running from these principles and trying to legislate morality with man's laws instead of God's laws. Yes, Will has accurately stated the problems in out economy and I don't think that for one second any reading this column believes that we will reverse our course in any meaningful direction, implosion will take place. It is my belief that we will eventually break into two countries, the reds and the blues with a loose confederation when it comes to international matters such as wars. The reds and the blues will run their own affairs and we will have two currencies. It is really the only way because no one will vote Santa Claus out of office.

December 4, 2012 9:41 AM

Have you noticed how all the liberal ideas affecting sexual activity, viz. free birth control, abortion, gay marriage, etc. demonstrate a fear and loathing of fertility? This indicates a society that is bent on killing itself.

January 7, 2013 4:56 PM
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