We were doing some quality control of our blog post archives when we ran across the post below from over two years ago. It concerned the increase in scope and breadth of our entitlement society and the deleterious effects it has on the individual which then is passed along to our society as a whole.
Look at what has happened in Europe, particularly southern Europe, where even talk of relatively modest austerity measures to their massive social safety net is cause for rioting in the streets. The rioters haven't figured out or refuse to acknowledge basic economics: you may vote for free stuff but in reality, that stuff is not free; the cost has to be picked up somewhere and by someone and with an aging population, someone is becoming an increasingly smaller number paying out benefits to a growing population of pensioners. The math dictates that this is an unsustainable situation and math wins, math always wins.
From April of 2011:
Give us a chance so we can dicover the most valuable ways to serve one another.
Dennis Prager from NRO on entitlements vs. rights and free markets vs. the welfare state:
What handouts do, and what the transformation of handouts into rights does, is create a citizenry that increasingly lacks the most important character trait - gratitude. Of all the characteristics needed for both a happy and morally decent life, none surpasses gratitude. Grateful people are happier, and grateful people are more morally decent. That is why we teach our children to say "thank you." But the welfare state undoes that. One does not express thanks for a right. So, instead of "thank you," the citizen of the welfare state is taught to say, "What more can I get?"
Yet, while producing increasingly selfish people, the mantra of the Left, and therefore of the universities and the media, has been for generations that capitalism and the free market, not the welfare state, produces selfish people.
John Stossel was on O'Reilly the other night and claimed that private charity would step in and replace the broader government-sponsored and managed social safety net were it ever dismantled. We tend to agree with him but we wonder if we've passed the point of no return in that our desire and incentive to voluntarily give our time, talent and treasure to helping those less fortunate than us has been blunted to the point that our belief is no longer true.
When one starts claiming that a job, a house and health care are "rights", how is anything then not on the table to be provided and which results in the involuntary confiscation of those that create, build and provide those assumed rights?
We're seeing some positive signs particularly at the state level where steps are being taken to curtail the collective bargaining "rights" of government employee unions and also to prevent the automatic deduction (see also, confiscation) of tax-payer-funded salaries which go directly to political causes, most notably those that involve the further expansion of union "rights".
Rights supported by the confiscation of goods and services are not right at all and that's why we love that quote above that was taken from the Keynes v Hayek smackdown in the previous post.
Give us a chance = Free will not top down/command and control decision-making will allow...
So we can discover = our God-given talents, intellect and ability to figure out...
the most valuable ways = achieving the most efficient means...
to serve one another = of being a positive force in society whether in the market place or charity.
Back to real time:
Dull, listless, yet ever-more selfish and ungrateful wards of the state or vibrant, giving, independent and grateful members of society. It seems like a no-brainer but our voting habits would also seem to indicate otherwise.
We've probably been doing a piss-poor job of it but we will continue to make the case for the ultimate morality and decency of free market socio-economics over the ultimate enslavement of statism/collectivism.