Shame, Capitalism, the Collective, and Suburbs: a Compendium of Morality
August 2, 2012 9 Comments
It’s time to clean out the inbox, so let’s see if we can build a post from stuff I haven’t gotten around to.
First up is how our culture has become shameless This is from Walter Williams of WND.
… Years ago, spending beyond one’s means was considered a character defect. Today not only do people spend beyond their means, but also there are companies that advertise on radio and TV to eliminate or reduce your credit card and mortgage debt. Students saddled with college loans have called for student loan forgiveness. Yesterday’s Americans would have viewed it as morally corrupt and reprehensible to accumulate debt and then seek to avoid paying it. It’s nothing less than theft. What’s worse is there’s little condemnation of it by the rest of us.
Earlier this year, as a result of a budget crunch, the Philadelphia School District had to lay off 91 school police officers. During the 1940s and ’50s, I attended Philadelphia schools in poor neighborhoods. The only time we saw a policeman in school was during an assembly period when we had to listen to a boring lecture about safety. Because teacher assaults are tolerated – 4,000 over the past five years in Philadelphia – school police are needed. Prior to the ’60s, few students would have thought of talking back to a teacher, and no one would have cursed, much less assaulted, a teacher.
Continue reading Shame: An Endangered Concept. Read it, I have nothing to add.
So let’s continue, You know that I have written extensively on the moral basis of capitalism, and just this week we’ve discussed capitalism in the Old Testament. here’s another take, which brings it right down to practicalities. From Sydney Williams of Breitbart News
In 1978, Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote in National Review: “It is almost universally recognized that the West shows all the world a way to successful economic development.” He then added a cautionary note: “Many people living in the West are dissatisfied with their own society.” A statement, sad but seemingly true. The question is: Why?
Charles Murray, in this past weekend’s issue of the Wall Street Journal (“Why Capitalism Has An Image Problem,”) noted an empirical truth – that from the dawn of history until the 18th Century the world was impoverished, with only a thin veneer of wealth on the top. The Industrial Revolution and the emergence of capitalism changed everything. National wealth began to increase and poverty began to recede. In those parts of the world where capitalism did not take root, poverty persisted.
The rise of capitalism, which was concomitant with the Industrial Revolution that began in England around 1750, has been remarkable. James R. Otteson, a professor of economics and philosophy at Yeshiva University, wrote recently for the Manhattan Institute: “Since 1800 the world’s population has increased six-fold; yet despite this enormous increase, real income has increased 16-fold.” In America, he added: “Even while the population increased 58-fold [since 1800], our life expectancy doubled, and our GDP increased almost 36-fold. Such growth is unprecedented in the history of humankind.” That phenomenal growth over two centuries is a manifestation of the positive impact of the free enterprise system. While it is true that some benefit more than others, all benefit.
Yet the term capitalism has taken on negative connotations. There are those, like many West Europeans, who agree that capitalism delivers the goods, but argue that Socialism is morally superior. These people point out that capitalism generates inequality, in allowing some to become wealthier than others, and that it threatens social solidarity, as it permits individuals priority over their communities. Guilty, on both counts.
Continue reading The Moral Case for Capitalism, Read it, she’s right, completely.
While we’re on morality, let’s take a look at where we seem to be going, the collective, and the President’s newest catch phrase, ” You didn’t build that,” which I tend to refer to as institutionalized envy. This is from Oleg Atbashian of PJ Media.
…Barack Obama said:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
Per a friend of mine with a Ph.D. in mathematics:
We scientists say that in order to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first build the universe — and that takes about four billion years. But that doesn’t mean we can’t build anything new from existing resources. So telling a businessman “you didn’t build that” is pure sophistry. Such phrases have always been a preamble to looting. Coming from the president, it’s chilling.
Apart from the simple untruth that “government created the Internet,” Obama’s words boil down to the collectivist bromide that the individual is nothing without the society and the state. As one would expect, Obama didn’t come up with it on his own. Standing on the shoulders of his collectivist predecessors, he ineptly restated Mussolini’s motto:
All individuals or groups are relative, only to be conceived in their relation to the State.
Our nation can achieve permanent health only from within on the basis of the principle: The common interest before self-interest.
Continue reading ‘You Didn’t Build That’ and the Darkness of Collective Punishment for an unsettling glimpse of the dark place that simple untruth “You didn’t build that” will take us.
Let’s take a look at what some of Obama’s advisors think we should with our suburbs, again it ain’t pretty. This comes from Stanley Kurtzof National Review.
President Obama is not a fan of America’s suburbs. Indeed, he intends to abolish them. With suburban voters set to be the swing constituency of the 2012 election, the administration’s plans for this segment of the electorate deserve scrutiny. Obama is a longtime supporter of “regionalism,” the idea that the suburbs should be folded into the cities, merging schools, housing, transportation, and above all taxation. To this end, the president has already put programs in place designed to push the country toward a sweeping social transformation in a possible second term. The goal: income equalization via a massive redistribution of suburban tax money to the cities.
Obama’s plans to undercut the political and economic independence of America’s suburbs reach back decades. The community organizers who trained him in the mid-1980s blamed the plight of cities on taxpayer “flight” to suburbia. Beginning in the mid-1990s, Obama’s mentors at the Gamaliel Foundation (a community-organizing network Obama helped found) formally dedicated their efforts to the budding fight against suburban “sprawl.” From his positions on the boards of a couple of left-leaning Chicago foundations, Obama channeled substantial financial support to these efforts. On entering politics, he served as a dedicated ally of his mentors’ anti-suburban activism.
Continue reading Burn Down the Suburbs? I have also seen unsubstantiated reports that the real thrust of this is because American have too much freedom, that they will be far more docile when they are jammed into apartment blocks and dependent on public transportation. Which I don’t have documentation for but is consistent.
This isn’t a particularly upbeat post but, it offers insights on the options we face. And there is less in my inbox.
- ‘You Didn’t Build That’ and the Darkness of Collective Punishment (johnmalcolm.me)
- The Moral Case for Capitalism (johnmalcolm.me)
- ‘You Didn’t Build That’ and the Darkness of Collective Punishment (pjmedia.com)
- Market morality and the PNG elections (nancysullivan.typepad.com)
- Monday Ketch-Up: Obama’s Secret Collectivist Plan For His Second Term (nicedeb.wordpress.com)