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Works and Days

The Metaphysics of Contemporary Theft

June 19th, 2011 - 6:33 pm

I will make a wild leap and suggest that a vast majority of Americans are reaching the point where they accept that the blue statist paradigm is reaching its logical end and simply cannot go on any more, given that it is antithetical to human nature itself. There is not always a Germany for every Greece. Let me offer a few examples:

In the American Southwest, open borders, unassimilated illegal immigrants, ethnic and tribal chauvinism predicated on racial solidarity (after all, La Raza, Inc. is not complaining about the deportation of the Korean or Ugandan who overstays his visa or agitating for an open immigration policy with Kenya), a culture of grievance and complaint, all embedded in a contempt for federal law — all that leads to enclaves that resemble more the country abandoned than sought out. In other words the entire therapeutic vision of illegal immigration would lead to a society to which illegal immigrants would not wish to flock. Only assimilation, intermarriage, integration, legality, mastery of English, and acceptance of American culture would ensure the continuance of the sort of society which future illegal aliens would wish to cross into.

The same is true of unions, pensions, and compensation. Highly paid and pensioned California teachers and professors are resembling bishops, knights, or rooks surrounded by a host of part-time, temporary, one-year-contract pawns, lacking the salary, security, and benefits of the kingpins. Yet the liberal establishment in education cannot continue in such an apartheid world of unionized winners and exploited subordinate losers, or public fiefdoms propped up by private toilers. It is a contradiction in terms, and there is no money to pay for it, despite the fiscal logic of its exploitation. The logical conclusion to the blue state would be a handful of six-figured union grandees surrounded by a sea of part-time lackeys (sort of like the CSU system with its blue-chip administrators and tenured faculty propped up by legions of part-time lecturers). Note the surrealism of the European unrest: who are the “they” who “stole” the money that is now no longer there to fund socialism? Did not the socialists at last get what they wanted? The “they” who used to fund it by expanding the economy disappeared a long time ago and now are in the graveyards of Europe.

I went to the warehouse local food store the other day, soaked it all in, and wondered: if everyone is on food stamps (actually computerized government plastic credit cards designed to avoid the old stigma of pulling out a coupon), are there still food stamps? We are nearing 50 million recipients. So what will come next? Food stamp A; food stamp category B? Super food stamps? Can 100 million receive them? 150?

Our California prison system is said to be letting out 30,000-40,000 criminals. If all the court rulings mandating libraries, counseling, second medical opinions, legal help, etc., coupled with the cost of a unionized, highly compensated guild of guards, make prison too expensive, then will we be left with virtual prisons in which trials and sentencing are followed by freedom? If it is cheaper each year to send the felon to UCLA or even Stanford, why then have a prison — a new metaphor for almost everything gone wrong with contemporary American society?

This liberal notion of being careful of what you wish for extends to energy. If Obama promised “skyrocketing” energy prices, and to “bankrupt” coal, and has discouraged almost all new fossil fuel production (a great wonder of the age is how private enterprise keeps finding new gas and oil reserves despite the discouragement of the government), why then he is worried about $4 a gallon gas?  Is not $4 or $5 gas the point?

It is near $10 in Europe. So why not soon here the same? If the university president cannot afford to drive his Lexus to campus, if the trial lawyer cannot take his Mercedes to Yosemite, if the professor’s Volvo is too expensive to drive to the postmodern lit conference, have we reached nirvana or chaos?

Watching the tastes, the behavior, the rhetoric, the appointments, and the policy of this administration suggests to me that it is not really serious in radically altering the existing order, which it counts on despite itself. Its real goal is a sort of parasitism that assumes the survivability of the enfeebled host. That does not mean it has not done a lot of damage and will not do even more in the next two years; only that it never quite wanted to see cap and trade legislation enacted, blanket amnesty, Guantamo shut down, or Predators ended; these were simply crude slurs by which to demonize Bush, ways of acquiring power and influence, but not a workable plan of living. Note that Obama is now zealous on just those issues which he could have easily rammed through his Democratically controlled congress in 2009-10 when he had large majorities, such as amnesty and cap and trade.

You cannot fly to Costa del Sol on solar panels. The light switches might not go on at Vail without coal burning somewhere. The Holder or Obama children might not be safe in the Stockton or Parlier city schools. Some right-wing nut in the Dakotas is still necessary to pump the oil to refine the gas for Air Force One; there is no golf without an irrigation system and a supply of either ground or surface water.

In short, the currently insulted class is necessary and Obama knows it.

If I were not flying economy today for eight hours to speak on the other side of the country, and did not write this reflection, cramped up on the plane, there would soon be no more chainsaws or copper wire for the oppressed in my region to steal.

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