Ed Driscoll

Nasty, Bismarckian, and Short

At the Belmont Club, Richard Fernandez writes, “Theodore Dalyrymple’s funeral oration for a generation in City Journal needs no amplification. It cannot be improved on. He says what people are now ready to hear:  that dependency has a created a generation of cripples:”

The London riots and the current ongoing financial collapse have made it possible to say what was previously verboten: that rather than attaining the End of History the Welfare State has reached the End of the Line.

The $64 trillion question is what do we do about it? But first let us have a look at what Dalyrymple says about the state of our ruined human capital:

The riots are the apotheosis of the welfare state and popular culture in their British form. A population thinks (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class) that it is entitled to a high standard of consumption, irrespective of its personal efforts; and therefore it regards the fact that it does not receive that high standard, by comparison with the rest of society, as a sign of injustice. It believes itself deprived (because it has often been told so by intellectuals and the political class), even though each member of it has received an education costing $80,000, toward which neither he nor—quite likely—any member of his family has made much of a contribution; indeed, he may well have lived his entire life at others’ expense, such that every mouthful of food he has ever eaten, every shirt he has ever worn, every television he has ever watched, has been provided by others. Even if he were to recognize this, he would not be grateful, for dependency does not promote gratitude. On the contrary, he would simply feel that the subventions were not sufficient to allow him to live as he would have liked.

At the same time, his expensive education will have equipped him for nothing. His labor, even supposing that he were inclined to work, would not be worth its cost to any employer—partly because of the social charges necessary to keep others such as he in a state of permanent idleness, and partly because of his own characteristics. And so unskilled labor is performed in England by foreigners, while an indigenous class of permanently unemployed is subsidized. …

Finally, long experience of impunity has taught the rioters that they have nothing to fear from the law, which in England has become almost comically lax—except, that is, for the victims of crime.

In reading the City Journal article there is the sense that Dalyrymple is pulling his punches. The prose is funerary. He is too sad to gloat, too dismayed to revel in vindication. And like most of us has very little idea about what to do next.

Nature’s default method for dealing with failure is natural selection. It subjects individuals to a survival test and if they fail, they die. Having died they remove themselves from the gene pool (and probably the meme pool as well) and are heard from no more. Left to themselves the brood of the Welfare State would fare poorly. Without skills, having torched their surroundings and having, in the words of one Australian self-confessed Leftist “shit on their own doorstep” they would pick their surroundings clean and then perish from basic starvation.

Richard’s post is titled “Disputing Darwin.” As Jonah Goldberg noted in Liberal Fascism, “Darwin himself admitted that his ideas were merely an extension of Malthusianism to the natural world. (Thomas Malthus was the economic philosopher who predicted that a natural human tendency to overbreed, coupled with finite natural resources, would yield persistent misery.)”

Malthus was wrong about all sorts of things, and technology has extended mankind’s natural resources significantly. But as the century-old Bismarckian Welfare State is increasingly discovering, the taxpayers’ monetary resources are certainly finite, particularly amongst nations that are no longer producing many new future taxpayers, even as the welfare state demands more and more of their money.

Rinse, repeat, ad infinitum until society is fully augured into the ground.

Or until enough voters understand how rigged the system is against them.

Just don’t look to the MSM for much help — this unintentionally hilarious quote from Newsweek illustrates how deep the rot has set in:

Rather, Bachmann and the Tea Party go much further, insisting that the federal government actually shrink over time, spending less money from year to year as its commitments grow.

Worse than that Newsweek. Worse. Than. That. It’s a dirty little secret — and I know you’ll be as shocked as I am to discover this, but the Tea Party wants those commitments to shrink to0. They actually want government to leave people alone.

I know that’s awfully radical, if not quite as chic as Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton in an Armani pantsuit.