Russell and Duenes

British Riots: Exhibit A

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A liberal relative of mine has on more than one occasion asked me why I’m against higher taxes to pay for increasing welfare. He tells me, “It’s not taking any food off your plate, so why are you against paying it?” I’ve tried to explain to him – in vain – that I have a much more significant reason for opposing welfare than “whether it takes food off my plate.” Were my relative open to listening, I would point to the riots in London as Exhibit A for why I’m opposed to welfare. Creating a permanent underclass, as welfare policy inevitably does, does not lead to well-being and prosperity for its recipients. It leads to ingratitude and moral and spiritual degeneracy. As Theodore Dalrymple says,

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.

Few things are more obvious than Dalrymple’s analysis, and yet we keep perpetuating the same policies. I can’t imagine it will be long before we see more and more of this. By the way, this is also an indictment of our public schools, which no longer teach students how to be responsible, hard-working citizens in a democratic republic such as we have. Rather, public schools fill students’ minds with a lot of psychological clap-trap, a sense that the U.S. is not a great country, and a focus on the “rights” they are “entitled” to.



Written by Michael Duenes

August 11, 2011 at 7:10 am

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