Monday, November 12, 2012

The New EERA

My point is that, whatever we are fighting about on the front lines of politics, the real issues can be found by stepping back a bit.

In my weekly oped, I announce the new era of the welfare state smashup.  The welfare state smashup will occur because, the promises that have been made cannot be delivered.  What is more, they should not be delivered.

It's a new EERA, and I think that the defining issues will be Entitlements, Economy, Race, and Abortion.

On Entitlements, we must realize that, not only are entitlements eating up the budget, they are eating up our society.  The great issue of any society, from a family to a nation state, is freeloading.  The benefits of society are enormous, there is no such thing as an "independent" human.  We would all perish without society.  But equally, for each of us there is an eternal temptation to ride on the labor of others.  One of the central tasks of religion, according to Nicholas Wade in The Faith Instinct, is to control freeloading, by naming and shaming and, if that doesn't work, with divine justice.  But the welfare state creates a springtime for freeloaders, encouraging people to define themselves as victims that cannot be expected to contribute.  It dissolves the notion that we should all try to contribute as much as we can, rather that try to get away with as little as we can. or as beneficiaries who deserve to get back what they put in.  Then there is the systems aspect of entitlements, the idea that you can set up an administrative system that defines for all time what people should contribute and what they should receive.  Such a mechanical system is bound to fail.

On Economy, we must stop the government trying to game the economy.  No doubt there is a place for the government's system of force, but if we have learned one thing over the last two centuries of the industrial age it is that the government's attempts to second guess the market has almost always failed.  On the credit system, governments have again and again debauched the currency and stolen the savings of ordinary people.  On the market system, governments have again and again favored special interests and economic chimeras over the natural discovery process of the market.  And while the government is tending its cronies, the wind farmers and the government employee unions, the ordinary fraudsters and bunco artists thrive.  Why on earth did Bernie Madoff not get shut down by the regulators?

On Race, we must stop the monstrous betrayal of the civil rights revolution.  I can understand that the Democrats may have thought, after the civil rights acts, that they deserved to hand out some goodies to their supporters, but the hypocrisy of quotas and "diversity" 50 years later is an outrage, and the way that Democrats have ghettoized blacks into voting 90-10 for Democrats can only have been achieved by naked appeals to race.  What the civil rights revolution was supposed to curb in the racist South.

On Abortion, liberals need to rethink.  My prediction is that abortion is going to become the great moral issue of the age.  Think back to slavery.  Back in the 18th century, Europeans were doing a fine business in the slave plantation business.  It brought sugar to the breakfast tables of Europe, and built great mansions in the country.  But then the Quakers decided that it was wrong.  A century later, slavery was dead.  Today, we can agree that abortion is, after a fashion, tremendously liberating for women.  They do not have to be a slave to their reproductive role.  That's the good side.  But there is a cost to the convenience of abortion.  It cheapens the central business of life, which is reproduction.  There is a reason why women and children have been made sacred and set apart.  It is because we forget the central importance of reproduction at our peril.  When we see the child per woman rate down at 1.3 in Western Europe, when 2.1 is replacement rate, we know that something is wrong.  That something is the marginalization of sex, marriage, childbearing and childraising.  We talk about careers for women as more important than children for women.

We humans are social animals, but we are also easily distracted from any tasks and run off at tangents.  Instead of concentrating on the job at hand we run off into the weeds.  It is the job of the great social institutions to turn us back to our tasks.  On Entitlements it is to realize that the great social engagements of health care, education, and welfare cannot be shoved aside as mechanical administrative programs.  On the Economy it is to realize that the economy is something to which we must all contribute before we can get our reward.  On Race it is to refocus on what unites us rather than what divides us.  On Abortion it is to realize that our central creative task is to produce children not great products, great cities, or great works of art.

We can either re-channel ourselves to our central human task, or we can drain away into the sand, like every other civilization in history.  Our choice.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure my comment makes sense here, but... >shrugg< I've read several of your posts and find that I basically agree with them. I'm not as upbeat about the future as you are, but maybe I see the hard work of the feild, and not the food of the feast.
    Anyhow, another blogger put it that the voters voted for what they thought was 'justice' it being just that we help the poor (who are predominataly minorities) and justice to help those in need with entitle ments and justice to alow a woman to control her fertility even at the fiscal expense of another paying for it.
    That to win, the arguement that conservative values are more just needs to be worked out.

    After reading that, I came to the conclusion, that conservatives beleive in justice before the law, but today's liberal beleives in justice after it.