Sunday, February 12, 2012

State Sponsored Suicide


We've lost the concept of shame.  Or more rightly put, we're only allowed to use it in socially-approved ways now 

The President and the left can scold their greedy conservative enemies about social justice, The First Lady can lecture us on eating our vegetables, but woe to those who enter the public square and preach time-tested, millennia-old Judeo-Christian morality like hard work and being true to your spouse and children.

We can no longer shame "men" who would rather mooch off of the rest of us than get a job, or those serial impregnators who have fun and run, leaving us to foot the bill.  We can no longer shame people for out-of-wedlock births that produce litters of children in single-parent government-provided apartments that are really gang-controlled cell blocks.  Irresponsible adults condemn children to a life of poverty, crime, ignorance and social dysfunction, and the responsible adults who work hard and pay the bills simply keep their mouths shut and go about their business.

MTV’s Sixteen and Pregnant is damn near the only entity publicly calling out bad behavior.  Unfortunately, it is swimming in a sewer of sin and societal decay, diluting its effectiveness.  Despite this, Sixteen and Pregnant shows the consequences of irresponsibility, and does so gently, by example, without preaching.

But we need to start preaching and getting in people’s faces over their behaviors.

"Wanna act like a stupid cracked-out Hollyweird pig?  Then get a job that provides you enough money to do it on your own damn dime and you won’t have to put up with the rest of us excoriating you for staggering through life brain-dead and tapping the rest of us to pay for your mistakes.  Pull your head out!!!"

That's what I want to say, and others bigger and smarter than me are saying it as well, only in nicer terms.

Klaus Schwab, whom I gather is some kind of international plutocrat and a Davos Man, ventilated this lament at the latest global cognoscenti conclave:
"We have a general morality gap, we are over-leveraged, we have neglected to invest in the future, we have undermined social coherence, and we are in danger of completely losing the confidence of future generations," said Klaus Schwab, host and founder of the annual World Economic Forum.
"Solving problems in the context of outdated and crumbling models will only dig us deeper into the hole. (Breitbart)
A Moral Morass

We are in a moral morass, and the elites have led us here.  By their own venal behavior in the world's marketplaces of business and finance, but also by their tacit approval of destructive behavior.  Throwing state money at the poor salves some consciences, but it's done nothing to help the poor pull themselves out of poverty.

State-sponsored social projects have resulted in a split between Belmonters (the haves) and Fishtowners (the have nots), according to the central thesis of Charles Murray's new book, Coming Apart.

Murray notes that before the 1960's, the rich and the poor shared many demographic traits, common mores and shared American values.  Now, they are miles apart.  Percentages in both groups were comparable for marriage, out of wedlock births, unemployment, crime, and church attendance.  All of these social indicators have gotten much worse for Fishtown, while the Belmonters enjoy stability.  Both groups are in a feedback-fed spiral, one virtuous and the other corkscrewing ever downward.

Preach What You Practice

Progressives have generally accepted Murray's observations, but they disagree vehemently with his conclusion:
The best thing that the new upper class can do to provide that reinforcement is to drop its condescending "nonjudgmentalism." Married, educated people who work hard and conscientiously raise their kids shouldn't hesitate to voice their disapproval of those who defy these norms. When it comes to marriage and the work ethic, the new upper class must start preaching what it practices. (WSJ - Murray)
Progressives want more redistribution and government programs.  Niall Ferguson explains why this is folly:
So what is to be done to heal the rift between Rich America and Poor America? There are two obvious problems with the standard liberal prescription of increased welfare spending, financed by higher taxes on the rich. The first, as Murray points out, is that the welfare programs of the Great Society era were in many ways the cause of the breakdown of social order in working-class America.
The second is that this is a very strange time to want to import the European welfare state, with its aspiration to provide everyone with comfort and security from the cradle to the grave. In case you hadn’t noticed, that system is currently on the brink of fiscal collapse in its continent of origin.
Murray’s conclusion is that Americans need to steer clear of Europe and instead get back to their roots. We should scrap the institutions of the New Deal and Great Society and replace them with the system of guaranteed basic income he first proposed in In Our Hands (2006). And we should pin our faith on the four traditional pillars of the American way of life: family, vocation, community, and faith. These, Murray argues, were the true foundations of the American project, from Kennedy all the way back to Washington. (Ferguson)
If You Love Someone, Set Them Free

A little shame wouldn't hurt either. The fear of shaming myself and my family is what kept me from stealing when I needed more money, or from engaging in other behaviors that were fun at the time but could end in destruction, tragedy or... shame...

My parents also taught me that the bird with the broken wing and the sick fox I captured and nursed back to health had to eventually be let go. We are financing societal dysfunction that has condemned millions to crime-infested neighborhoods and failed schools.

More money and more government has only made things worse for the poor. For the tens of millions on the bottom, The War on Poverty has been lost, and it's not a Great Society. It's time to try something different.

See Also (Walter Russell Mead is especially thought-provoking):

44 comments:

The Watchman on politics said...

Shame? You want to see shame?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64mkn-in7JM&feature=player_embedded#!

Anonymous said...

The liberals have a vested interest in perpetuating the notion that individuals must be shielded from the consequences of their actions.

Since they blame criminal behavior, irresponsible reproduction, poverty, drug use, and all of our other woes on society in general and our 'unjust' economic system in particular it provides their mandate for social engineering.

Expecting people to stand on their own feet and make their own way in the world makes us heartless conservatives the scapegoat for all of the worlds ills. Heaven forfend that anyone acquire the notion that hard work, thrift, and responsibility could be the way forward.

viburnum

Ducky's here said...

As David Frum pointed out in his brilliant review of Murray's piece of crap, the decline in values has accelerated as the culture has become more laissez-faire.

The slide really accelerated starting with Saint Ronnie Raygun. Why, because you pompous Libertarian clowns believe only in the individual. You're concern is strictly for individual rights.

Community and the commons comes second if it is of any concern at all.

Enjoy the product of your thought.

And do read Frum's response. You can't claim that he's a liberal and he takes Murray and absolutely beats the shit out of him.

Anonymous said...

If society is the sum of its parts wouldn't it be far better to have them strong and self sufficient?

Our downward slide began generation before Reagan. Even the New Deal didn't suddenly materialize out of the ether. It grew out of the notions of Bentham, Mill, Marx, Engels et al

viburnum

Silverfiddle said...

You're concern is strictly for individual rights.

Cartoon thought, how entertaining!

Frum is a fluffy lightweight. I have read his rambling feel-good response, but it lacks the scholarship, data and focus of Murray, so no, he did not beat the crap out of him.

You can hardly blame the libertarians for this, since they had zero influence on public policy.

You blather on about the horrors of individualism (sniveling and wrong) while worrying about communities (a concern I share), so you should be troubled by this divergence, not smearing one who posits the theory.

Silverfiddle said...

Viburnum: Ducky will seize any chance to use that jolly and oh so inventive phrase, "Saint Ronnie Raygun" whether the subject calls for it or not.

Oh, I split my sides every time I hear it!

-FJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Bashing Reagan is as ubiquitous as blaming Bush and amounts to nothing more than white noise coming from over on the left.

As for the other point, as a pompous conservative libertarian I will state categorically that there are 'only' individual rights since to coin a paraphrase, "governments derive their just powers by the consent of the governed"

viburnum

-FJ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Z said...

SF..the richest part being Reagan included in the same thought as "declining values"... Gee, I guess we can't all live up to Clinton's values :-)

Shame? Shame on YOU for even bring it up. How terribly judgmental, how awfully critical and rigid you are...didn't you know "ANYTHING GOES?" (sarcasm here)

sadly, the truth is, and we're seeing it today,..."When ANYTHING GOES, EVERYTHING goes.." z

Ducky's here said...

You blather on about the horrors of individualism

--------

No I don't. Quit weaseling.

I value individual expression quite a bit among other rights. However, I have the sense to realize that it has been pretty well established that when the discrepancy in wealth in a society becomes very wide the society is weakened.

This is what we have been seeing since your hero, the ass clown Raygun, shilled for the financial oligarchy.

You rail against the weakening of society and promote policies which hasten it's deterioration. Which is precisely why even though you are sincere and decent you are extremely destructive.

You need to realize you are a true believer and that has effectively closed your mind. A severe danger for fundamentalist religious.

dmarks said...

Ducky said: "You're concern is strictly for individual rights.

Community and the commons comes second if it is of any concern at all."

Nothing is further from the truth. The community and the common cause arise from a foundation of respect for individual liberty. Informed citizens working together for a common good. THAT is where legitimate power arises.

As opposed to the alternative: socialistic top-down control in which the few ruling elites have the power and will to maximize their individualism and force a "one size fits view" common good on all of us. Which ends up being just the good envisioned by the ruling elites.

"This is what we have been seeing since your hero, the ass clown Raygun, shilled for the financial oligarchy."

He never did. He "shilled" for the power of the average American to run his or her life. That is to be applauded.

"You rail against the weakening of society and promote policies which hasten it's deterioration."

No, we consitently promote policies that make a stronger, better society.

Lets make a choice: individual rights for everyone (which is capititalism) or individual rights only for those at the top of the power structure (which is socialism). I choose the former.

Silverfiddle said...

Ducky, meet mirror. Everything you said is psychological projection.

Roosevelt sewed the seeds and Johnson's great society reaped the bountiful harvest of societal decay.

Alligator said...

Having been an ex-hippie, I can see that our societal downturn (in terms of ethical and moral behavior and personal responsibility) really started in the 1960s.

We had a corrupt Democratic administration leading us in a war of dubious value. We had corrupt Democratic administrations throughout the South refusing to allow blacks their Constitutional rights despite the handwriting on the wall. Then the hippies were inculcating the country with the "If it feels good do it" (a.k.a. be selfish) philosophy. The federal government came to see itself as the arbiter of the daily welfare of all citizens, all the time, for any reason. It all came together in a harmonic convergence. The pace slowed down somewhat during "Ronnie Raygun's" administration, but we are continuing a slide that really started in earnest around 1968. The protesting leftist pinheads had the right analysis of many situations but the wrong prescription. Those folks and their ideological progeny now hold public office.

My opinion and $3 will get you coffee at Starbucks.

beamish said...

...the decline in values has accelerated as the culture has become more laissez-faire.

I'm guessing this is Ducky chocking up at the starting block to argue for some sort of government cultural enforcement to crack down on people who don't pay to go see Karen Finley smear chocolate on her naked body to a disco beat.

Ducky's here said...

No, Beamish I'm talking about metalhead morons who think that string quartets perform under a baton and who can only speak of contemporary art in sensational terms.

beamish said...

No, Beamish I'm talking about metalhead morons who think that string quartets perform under a baton and who can only speak of contemporary art in sensational terms.

Dude, get over it. Dee Snider of Twisted Sister totally pwned Al Gore in front of the world the last time you leftists tried to crusade against rock music.

Ducky's here said...

No dmarks, if you've been paying attention you notice that Murray's book, the topic, has generated considerable criticism.

You may be sincere but you advocate policies that weaken community.


Many on the left have read Strauss, and Shmidtt and Hayek, not just listened to Bill O'Reilly.
That's why laissez-faire make me laugh. You really think you understand, but you only believe.
Myself, I believe that's partially a product of Sola Scriptura

Ducky's here said...

...or a more contemporary reference, the leftist calls to crack down on the ultraviolent Grand Theft Auto video game because it has an unlockable sex scene in it most people are totally unaware of.

----

Thanks for pointing that out. I was completely unaware.

That's constitutes a view held be the wide spectrum of leftists?

Farmer john. It's boring, take it outside.

Finntann said...

Minor point of order: This isn't a post about Beamish or his blog. Please stay on topic.

beamish said...

...or a more contemporary reference, the leftist calls to crack down on the ultraviolent Grand Theft Auto video game because it has an unlockable sex scene in it most people are totally unaware of.

----

Thanks for pointing that out. I was completely unaware.

The PC version of the game has the explicit scene. Game console versions, not so much. ;)

That's constitutes a view held be the wide spectrum of leftists?

Nah. Just the psychologists steeped in that nutty Commie idea that image control is culture control who berate the ESRB and lobby for certain games to be banned from the market with half-baked statistics that gamers have diminished capacity for "prosocial" (read: give a damn for left-wing causes) behavior.

Apparently playing Call of Duty 3 is supposed to cause post-tramatic stress disorder or some shit.

Finntann said...

"As David Frum pointed out in his brilliant review of Murray's piece of crap, the decline in values has accelerated as the culture has become more laissez-faire."

Ducky, what Frum review are you talking about? Certainly not this one:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/06/charles-murray-book-review.html

I wouldn't characterize this as a brilliant refutation of Murray's piece. Murray is arguing that the problem is larger than the 1 or 5% split you OWS'ers seem to be focused on, and Frum hasn't refuted that. All he has done is regurgitate more "but the 1% is worse". It's a childish refutation at best.

Certainly Murray's work isn't the end-all authoritative work on what is wrong with society today. He does however make a very important observation that the problem is much larger than you seem to want to accept.

If I'm looking at the wrong Frum piece, please, point me in the right direction.

Cheers!

dmarks said...

Ducky: "You may be sincere but you advocate policies that weaken community."

Name one. Please.

"That's why laissez-faire make me laugh. You really think you understand, but you only believe."

I understand, that is why I believe. And I am aware of the consistently atrocious historic record of Marxism.

Silverfiddle said...

To Beamish and the legion that torments him:

You are welcome here so long as you stay on topic. Start slinging off-topic personal insults and you are gone.

Silverfiddle said...

I had a membership at the Frum Forum, but I got tired of correcting his serial, material errors and misstatements.

He was always gracious, responding in the thread when I pointed them out, but it still got old, and I realized the guy just emotes, and he doesn't do his homework.

Finntann said...

Isn't freedom by definition laissez-faire?

The more government regulation, intervention, and the more authoritative the state, the less the freedom of its subjects.

"That we cannot grow except by lowering our neighbors is a detestable notion!"

Rene d'Argenson

Laissez faire, morbleu! Laissez faire!!

Ducky's here said...

http://www.scribd.com/doc/77349055/Coming-Apart-by-Charles-Murray-Quiz

You can take his little quiz.

Ducky's here said...

I scored 64.

Ducky's here said...

@dmarks - Name one. Please.

------
Financial deregulation, trickle down, Bush tax cuts, NAFTA ...

Have you been in a freaking coma for the last few decades?

Even actions like privatizing the student loan function which added an extra cost ... really, why don't you fringe righties wake up.

Silverfiddle said...

... things would be so much better if we would just surrender ourselves to a marxist dictatorship...

Finntann said...

I scored a 77 for what it's worth.

Mainly, I would suppose given the explanation from growing up in a working class neighborhood and serving in the armed forces.

Cheers!

Silverfiddle said...

I got a 65, and that despite never having watched Oprah or any TV shows this past year...

Interesting quiz, and you know Ducky, his data shows that social stratifications are hardening, something progressives are concerned with...

dmarks said...

Ducky said: "Financial deregulation, trickle down, Bush tax cuts, NAFTA"

All of these are great ideas that help the community and weaken the ruling elites. But not so sure about trickle down. But I do support in general the idea of not overtaxing the job creators so they can get about the business of making business with lots of jobs for people.

"Have you been in a freaking coma for the last few decades?"

I've been watching, and understanding, exactly what is going on.

"why don't you fringe righties wake up."

All of these are mainstream views.

What you are doing is confusing "the community" with "the tight grip of the ruling elites who want to control every aspect of our society".

beamish said...

I scored a 73 on that Murray quiz. Probably would have done better if I used my TV for more than playing video games and drank beer.

Kid said...

Right on Silver. Today's parents have little in common generally speaking with a couple generations ago. Ditto, teachers, media and all outside popular influences.

Kids don't have a chance. And that's what it was all about. Or did it happen by accident.

Anonymous said...

...Financial deregulation, trickle down, Bush tax cuts, NAFTA ...

Have you been in a freaking coma for the last few decades?



Deregulation, tax cuts, and free trade are the remedies for policies instituted by dreamers who had been asleep at the helm.

The cure for the effects of government sticking its nose into areas it doesn't belong is not more of the same.

Trickle down being the expression of a theory rather than actual policy doesn't belong on the list, and on an historical note the first President to cut taxes in order to stimulate the economy was John Kennedy. Successfully in fact.

As for the standard OWS gripe about student loans, we should forgive their debts if and only if they surrender their degrees and expunge their transcripts.

viburnum

KP said...

One of SF's best articles and some of Ducky's best counterpoints. Oustanding stuff. I scored an 80 on Murray's quiz.

dmarks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dmarks said...

Under free trade, every person making trading decisions gets to decide what is fair or not, and participate as they see fit.

I suggest that Ducky deal with his problems with NAFTA and the freedom to make deals with those brown-skinned can't-speak-English Mexican hordes by doing the following: don't buy anything Mexicans make.

Problem entirely solved. Just don't try to force your choices on others, or get the government to force your "one size fits few" solutions on the whole nation against the interests of most people.

And yes, dislike of free trade is tied into xenophobic and often racist fears. I have talked to Mexicans about this, and they sure resent the arrogance and bigotry of some in the US on this.

Ducky's here said...

You assume that everyone knows the true price of the mutual exchange.

However, you don't know the true price of lost jobs or environmental damage for instance.

Did Mexican farmers benefit from "free trade" in subsidized American corn? The American farmer, almost equal to the European farming welfare queens.

In other words, you haven't moved past a basic understanding so you might want to can the perpetual lectures.

dmarks said...

Ducky said: "You assume that everyone knows the true price of the mutual exchange."

The people making the exchange are the ones who know the true price. Not outsiders.

"However, you don't know the true price of lost jobs or environmental damage for instance."

Nor do you. In fact, you are attaching generally unrelated or even imaginary things.

Did Mexican farmers benefit from "free trade" in subsidized American corn? The American farmer, almost equal to the European farming welfare queens."

We do have some agreement here.

1) I oppose ALL subsidies to farmers and industry.

2) Tax breaks are not a subsidy at all.

Tax breaks are often erroneously lumped into subsidies. I favor getting rid of (1) completely, but not (2).

And the result is more free trade. Which is what I want: open trade between nations, no subsidies at all, and no tariffs.

I do have much more than basic understanding of this, thank you. I merely insist on the facts, not "lectures".

MK said...

Unfortunately the calls for shaming and for these parasites to wake up to themselves is falling on deaf ears.

Fortunately, the way the world works, it cannot go on forever, sooner or later the money will dry up and the parasites will learn to work and live off their own work or just die off.

That lesson is currently being taught to many, many unwilling and angry Greeks and other Europeans.

You Americans will soon be dragged into that class and so will we down under.

Anonymous said...

"Tax breaks are not a subsidy at all."

BOY! Do I ever agree with THAT, DMarks.

And by the same line of logic not implementing proposed increases in the funding of wasteful, generally useless, "social programs" does not constitute a "CUT" in those programs -- as D'Rat operatives annoyingly and disingenuously insist.

I think it may be long past the time when LYING on the part of Public Officials should be declared a CAPITAL offense.

And no, I'm NOT kidding. However, the chance of anything like that ever getting through would be less than the survivability of the proverbial snowball in hell.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

David Frum may be 'brilliant, but he is a faux-conservative who plays all sides against the middle. He's been an untrustworthy non-ally in the culture war.

In effect he played the role of Viper in the Bosom that nursed him into prominence in conservative circles.

Ignoble!

~ FreeThinke