Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Logical Dead End of the Nanny State

Quote of the Day from Mark Steyn in today's Orange County Register:
This is the logical dead end of the Nanny State. When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the British welfare regime in 1942, his goal was the "abolition of want" to be accomplished by "co-operation between the State and the individual." In attempting to insulate the citizenry from life's vicissitudes, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams. As I write in my book: "Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity."
In Steyn's unique style of wit and sarcasm, and having witnessed much of it personally, he speaks the truth no one else dares to: of children are raised in homes in which no adult works – in which the weekday ritual of rising, dressing and leaving for gainful employment is entirely unknown. One-tenth of the adult population has done not a day's work since Tony Blair took office on May 1, 1997. (emphasis added)
The European Nanny State is collapsing in front of TV news cameras every day.  There are really only two possible outcomes that I can see: either the governments collapse into bankruptcy and currency destruction, or the EU turns into a giant command economy: communism, fascism or National Socialism (Nazism).  Years ago, I remember quipping "who would have thought world communism would collapse because there's no money in it?", but it's true.  A command economy can never out compete a free market economy, even one like ours which had been hobbled by a century of socialist policies.  If the EU becomes a command economy, it just kicks the collapse can down the road and makes it worse.  Janet Daley, writing in the Telegraph last week said,
The truly fundamental question that is at the heart of the disaster toward which we are racing is being debated only in America: is it possible for a free market economy to support a democratic socialist society?
As both Steyn and Daley emphasize, and we can clearly see, the idea that a capitalist economy can support an ever-expanding socialist welfare state is collapsing in flames right in front of us.  It's not the poor vs. the rich.  It's bored kids who have never earned any self-esteem by accomplishing anything (precisely because of the welfare state) going "wilding" and burning and stealing because they're bored.  How else do you explain the millionaire's daughter breaking down stores to add to her (presumably) already stuffed closets?  Or the "stunning 22 year old model", and the others who give the lie to the story that it's poor people getting revenge. 

Back to Steyn,
The London rioters are the children of dependency, the progeny of Big Government: they have been marinated in "stimulus" their entire lives.
There is literally nothing you can't get Her Majesty's Government to pay for. From page 205 of my book: "A man of 21 with learning disabilities has been granted taxpayers' money to fly to Amsterdam and have sex with a prostitute."
Hey, why not? "He's planning to do more than just have his end away," explained his social worker. "Refusing to offer him this service would be a violation of his human rights."
If taxpayers funding a man's flight to Holland to employ a prostitute (is this one of those jobs that British women just won't do?) isn't enough; Ann Coulter contributes this:
A year earlier, in 2007, another product of the new order, Fiona MacKeown, took seven of her eight children (by five different fathers) and her then-boyfriend, on a drug-fueled, six-month vacation to the Indian island of Goa. The trip was paid for -- like everything else in her life -- with government benefits.

(When was the last time you had a free, six-month vacation? I'm drawing a blank, too.)
This is one of those cases where you need a Ph.D. in economics to be stupid enough to fall for the idea that everything can be paid for by a productive class and will be forever.  "From each according to his abilities to each according to his need" always, always, falls apart at that "need" part, when need turns from a meal to a flight to Amsterdam for a prostitute or to India for six months vacation.  From bread to circuses.  At some point, the system falls apart.  The productive class sees the life that parasites lead, sees progressively less and less of their efforts, the sweat of their brow, being "allowed" to stay in their wallets, and they quit.  Then the whole society collapses.

Starting now.
‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome." - Robert A. Heinlein


  1. One part of Steyn's post I disagree with has to do with his reference to the grandparents of "these brutes". I've seen the photos of those on the rampage through London. Their grandparents were doing the same shit to one another in Africa, several generations ago. Then they were brought to England for unclear reasons and it is no surprise that they will continue their family traditions there. The only thing that has kept the peace was a believable threat of force. Now that's gone.

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  3. "...I've seen the photos of those on the rampage through London. Their grandparents were doing the same shit to one another in Africa, several generations ago. Then they were brought to England..."

    You are transposing American ideas of race and culture into a completely foreign environment.

    1) Race does not have the same significance over there that it does here. Those rioters (go look at the photos again, I'll wait,) are a nice rainbow coalition. The dividing lines in Ol' Blighty are ones of class, not skin hue. (And "class" over there means something different than it does here; in America, your "class" is tied to your paycheck, over there it's tied to your parents.)

    2) Blacks in England weren't "brought" there. You're thinking of America, which was where the slave ships went. Blacks in England mostly moved there on their own from the Caribbean or Kenya or South Africa, generally post-WWII. They weren't "brought there" any more than your (wop/mick/yid/kraut/limey/frog/buckethead/bohunk/whatever) ancestors were brought here.

  4. Ex-Dissident - interesting input! It is hard to determine exactly what's going on over there from here, since all we have to go on is conflicting media reports. I try to not to be biased but everyone is.

    As you say, the credible threat of force from the police is gone - have you seen the video of the police retreating in fear from the protesters? - and with the exception of some immigrants who have yet to be made submissive by the society, the subjects act like little more than terrified little mice.

  5. I'm afraid it isn't merely English class at work here. How do you explain the millionaire's daughter, the organic chef, the aspiring model, numerous college students in engineering, etc.?

    It's the lack of morals, the notion that anything is acceptable if you can get away with it, or if everyone else is doing it at play here. Sure, the English "lower classes" may have been the predominant actors, but the phenomenon was not limited to them by any stretch of the imagination.

    Think of how many times rich kids throughout the world have been the perpetrators of crime and terrorism, as in the Bader Meinhoff gang, the Red Brigade, violent protests in the streets and on campus in Europe and in America.

    This was as much about college students and other middle and upper class kids doing what "felt good" or looked like fun, by kids swayed by their Leftist professors' rhetoric in the universities. I would be willing to bet that as much of it was started by middle class kids as the immigrants. (Not that they should be given a pass. They should be deported.) Per English news, anyway.

  6. SG,

    I meant to add that, you _almost_ can't blame the English for acting like mice. When they try to defend themselves from predators they end up going to jail, whether they used a weapon or their bare hands. They have even more reason to fear arrest than we would for shooting the mob members who were beating that fourteen year old boy at the fair.

    The police and the criminal "justice" system are a large part of the problem here in this country, but it is an order of magnitude worse for the poor Brits who have also had the fight bred out of them over the last fifty years. The brave men and women who fought and struggled to survive the bombings in WWII are almost completely gone, and the ones that live there now are like my English bulldog - the aggression has been bred pretty much completely out of them. Those that still possess a spark get crushed by _their_ system.

    I say "fight anyway", but it is a lot easier for me to say sitting here in Montana than it would be on Cheapside.

  7. Sorry to hog so much bandwidth here, but I had to come back and admit I was using the very criteria for class that Tam said wasn't applicable here, financial instead of social. I think it is going to be pretty difficult to say which of the college students, perhaps, came from the social upper classes as opposed to the financial upper classes - although there is certain to be a fair amount of overlap there.

    I'm not certain there really are that many families left in England, not a significant number anyway, who are truly "upper crust". As I mentioned before, however, I have seen the children of "old money" in this country swallow the Left's meme hook-line-and-sinker, and I have little doubt that this is also the case among those in England, whether Dad was a Duke or Baron or whatever.

    Look at how far Left old Charles swings - he's practically an acolyte of Al Gore and the other Green pretenders out there.

  8. I think Tam's observation is 90% correct, maybe more: class is way more tied to your birth certificate there than here. That's why we continue to draw immigrants from all over the world; the belief you can achieve regardless of your family's pedigree.

    For example, I work with a Romanian EE who ended up here because "all real electronics innovation comes out of the United States" and the idea of your success being tied to your innovativeness, tenacity and intelligence, rather than some idea of nobility.

    But the bored children of the rich in the UK are plainly behind some of the crime. To borrow from something Steyn said, something about getting up when you'd really rather not get up, putting on clothes you'd really rather not wear and going out to provide for yourself and your family brings a moral climate to society that the FSA approach destroys. And destroying any chance of real accomplishment these people may have is far more cruel than letting a few of them go to bed with "want".

  9. It may be the LOGICAL end to the Nanny State but the corpse is still breathing and won't give up without a fight. This may not be the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning.

    We - the US - have had the flash mobs here and there - but the homegrown ones don't get the coverage the British ones get...but then ours aren't providing the "pretty pictures" for the media by burning the cities - yet. And we have the build-up to The Elections to distract everyone.

  10. I think class is indeed tied to birth more over there than here, but I remain unconvinced that it was the sole root of the rioting. The root of the rioting was definitely in the "wants" of the immigrants, many of whom went to the UK because of the ease of getting into the welfare system there, with free rent, the dole, etc. But it also lies in the other segments of Tam's "rainbow", the completely white and even _native_ young people who saw it as a lark, a way to get one over on the "system", the fun of doing things for which they saw no consequences.

    Like the girl was reported to have said, "we can do what we want and you can't do anything about it", or words to that effect. The middle and upper classes that participated weren't doing it out of envy or perceived need or entitlement. And I strongly suspect that many of the leaders, the original smashers of windows and looters of stores were otherwise well-to-do white British youth. We all certainly saw as many photos of whites with their arms full of loot as we saw blacks with their arms full of loot.

    How many of those blacks were long-time subjects of Great Britain, as opposed to recent immigrants? I haven't a clue. There have been black Africans living there for many years now in great numbers, since the '50s at least. They have come to the UK in droves because of the common knowledge of how easy it is to get the British government to support them. FSA for sure.

    So, for me it is the moral climate established by the dole, the welfare system, entitlement that motivated Tam's lower (immigrant, recent or not) class, but not the same for the whiter portion of the "rainbow". The motivation to riot was as varied as the perpetrators of the riot.

    Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams have been saying for years what you have been saying, SG. The entitlement system destroys the soul of the very people the Left pretends it is trying to help, while it is actually simply trying - successfully - to addict them to the Nanny State, and provide the votes they need to keep them in power.