"I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos." - Walter Sobchak in "The Big Lebowski"
When news broke that the Congressional Budget Office Report indicated that the equivalent of 2.5 million jobs would be lost by 2024 under Obamacare, to a chorus of laughable cheerleading that the "job-locked" would be "liberated" and America could now restore its national "work-life balance," one man came to mind: Jeffrey Lebowski, properly known as the Dude, or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing.
For I would submit that the explicit purpose of the progressive agenda is to create a nation of Lebowskis (Dudes) and Julias (Dudettes), or at least a two-class system in which big business and big labor are protected by government in the way that the Mafia protects your friendly local butcher, while Lebowskis and Julias are showered with benefits in exchange for votes.
If I sound cynical it's because I've been watching a lot of "House of Cards" lately (culture matters).
A screenshot of Jeffrey Lebowski from "The Big Lebowski." (Image Source: Fansided.com)
Tuesday's news that an estimated 500,000 jobs would be lost as a result of raising the federal minimum wage (an entirely predictable result) only further lends credence to the argument that the Left is willfully working to damage the economy and demoralize the American worker. Paradoxically, they are most hurting young folks and especially young black males, who will be locked out of a shrinking entry-level job pool in favor of more experienced ones, doing uncalculable long-term damage and pulling the "ladders" out from under people striving to develop the skills necessary to reach a narrowing middle class.
Indeed the Left's policies disincentivize work, prevent new enterprises from growing or eliminate jobs altogether, encourage reckless behavior and seek to dumb down the public, in the process destroying physical, financial and most importantly human capital. This last point is of primary importance because a nation can have all the resources in the world at its disposal, but like the entitled and incompetent child of a .01 percent-er, blow it all if the people to whom our national treasures are entrusted are not prudent stewards.
The Left's policies create millions of Dudes and Julias (i.e. imprudent stewards) because they instill in individuals traits anathema to the one's that drive success, such as individual responsibility, self-reliance, a work ethic, risk tolerance and above all else, virtue. Don't just take it from me, read Charles Murray's "Coming Apart" to see the devastation wrought on society from the Left's cultural and political onslaught of the last 50 years.
Call it killing us with compassion.
The Life of Julia in spoof form. (Image Source: Screenshot from lifeofjulia.com)
Or to put it more delicately, as one Congresswoman cheerily declared, become "an artist or a photographer or a writer without worrying about keeping...[your] day job." My apologies to aspiring artists, photographers and writers.
What reason would you have to settle down and start a family knowing that your likely mates are those being coddled by the government too, leading to equal stultification in personal development, and an equal inability to take on the responsibilities necessary to build a stable home in which to raise a family.
By infantilizing individuals, progressives create a dependency on the state that becomes difficult if not impossible to break -- just look at the results after spending trillions on the Great Society programs (about that cynicism, do you know what Lyndon B. Johnson said after passing the Great Society legislation?). And an infantilized, enfeebled, hungry people will likely choose security over liberty once conditioned to expect politicians to continue offering gifts, enabling such politicians to maintain and extend their power in perpetuity, trampling on the backs of the very people to whom they purport to be helping.
Those in government should be ashamed that they have so abused their Constitutional authorities as to have willfully inflicted harm upon the citizenry for short-term gains. But we should also be ashamed for having enabled them.
In our recent interview with the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence officer to ever defect, Lt. Gen. Ion Pacepa noted that "the Cold War was in fact waged primarily for the purpose of conquering minds." If you can't beat your enemy in economic production or military might, let your enemy kill himself through ideological subversion that makes Americans hate America and all the principles on which it was built.
Well we've already had two generations of Americans educated in schools of lower and higher education run by progressives, with schools and students alike subsidized by government. Now with Common Core we'll have Leftist professors teaching materials explicitly intended to dumb down students by focusing more on feeling and the collective will than logic and the ability of the individual to think for oneself. That means future generations of little Lebowskis and Julias getting degrees in Gender Studies under Professors of "Consciousness" like Angela Davis, and other radicals, or maybe even worse their children.
We are fast "progressing" towards Franklin D.Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights, and with this push destroying the very engines that enabled the wealth-creation off of which the entire edifice of the state was funded in the first place.
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights. (Image Source: Screenshot from Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story")
In free-marketeer and technologist George Gilder's recent "Knowledge and Power," he said:
“When faith dies, so does enterprise. It is impossible to create a system of collective regulation, insurance, and safety that does not finally deaden the moral source of the willingness to face danger and fight, that does not dampen the spontaneous flow of gifts and experiments, that extends the dimensions of the world and the circles of human sympathy.
“The ultimate strength and crucial weakness of both capitalism and democracy are their reliance on individual creation. But there is no alternative except mediocrity and stagnation. Demand-based systems can never flourish in a world where events are shaped by millions of human beings, acting unknowably, in fathomless interplay and complexity, in the darkness of time.”
Stated differently, kill human capital -- the human spirit itself, and you can kiss the America we know and love goodbye.
[sharequote align="center"]Kill human capital, the human spirit itself, and you can kiss the America we know and love goodbye.[/sharequote]
If we actually wanted a booming economy, a compassionate economy, a just economy, a socially responsible economy (whatever the Left means by such things), the surest way would be to restore the democracy of a free market, in which individuals are actually empowered. To truly help people would require massive cuts to the hyper-regulatory state, a stable currency backed by something real -- not seven federal governors with their fingers in the wind centrally planning interest rates, and the greatest redistribution of wealth in history -- from the government back to the people as programs and bureaucracies are abolished.
But I don't see this coming anytime soon.
Walter Sobchak was right -- socialism is an ethos -- and it can be a very attractive one if you're on the receiving end and the alternative has been articulated poorly or not articulated at all. It is attractive up until the point when gravity and cosmic justice intervene, and it all falls apart.
The Left's bastardization of the economy makes for great comedy in the form of a movie, but great tragedy in the form of a nation. This Dude doesn't abide.
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