Tag Archives: welfare

Damned Conservatives

Alas poor education, we once were free.  For those of us… you, who are angry with “conservatives” and who agree that conservatives are (choose all that apply): 1) racist;   2) homophobic; 3) Islamophobic; 4) “Trans”-phobic; 5) anti-women; 6) anti-science;    7) climate change deniers; and 8) fascists.  Excuse me, I forgot, 9) Christian fanatics.

Conservatives who support or, worse, don’t mind Donald Trump, are also stupid.  Did we pretty-much cover it?  Let’s not forget the Russians – don’t mean to slight anyone.

The United States was premised on the concept of individual sovereignty and liberty.  This isn’t taught anymore, but it’s true.  If you perceive or believe that we are “free” only when our entire group is free, then you are, to a degree, believing that the very basis for the exceptional founding of our nation, is no longer valid.  That’s quite sad.

The U. S. was not founded to be a unionized social-service mega-agency.  That we have become so is far from a testament to our benign compassion for the poor; not at all.  Rather, it is a massive subversion of liberty by the left.

“What?”  You exclaim, “Should we just let these poor, oppressed people starve?  If that’s what conservatism is, leave me out!”

No, conservatives would have taught those starving people to feed and otherwise take care of themselves.  Those same would then move forward in life without the artificial welfare of any government.  That seems, to the racist, homophobic, anti-women Neanderthals that liberals hate so deeply, like the ultimate compassionate action, and is, in fact, the very basis of free-enterprise capitalism.  There is wide misunderstanding about these principles.

The most easily grasped distinction between liberalism (in modern definition), or leftism, and conservatism (in modern definition), is responsibility – personal responsibility.  That is, modern liberals perceive everyone only as a member of a “demographic.”  Everyone only has identity due to matching characteristics of a named (must be known by a name) group.

Easiest to understand in this odd universe is a group known variously as “people of color,” “African-Americans,” “blacks,” or the current liberally-correct description.  People with brown skin are of a hundred origins and genealogies.  By definition they do not comprise a “group” or a tribe or even a nationality.  Why on earth would rational people look at people with brown skin as if they were somehow all connected or similar?  The answer reveals the heart of modern leftism.

The only rational purpose for grouping individuals who share a trait or appearance… even a little, is because those who consider them so might gain political power.  This rationalization has also infected members of the artificially constructed group, who join with liberals in maintaining the belief in the existence of a group that exists only politically and not in fact.  Great anger, hatred and historical distortion stems from this artificial group perception.  By automatic reflection, or reaction, every action of unkindness or perceived “hatred,” practiced by anyone not “in” the artificial group, becomes a failing of everyone in the “outgroup,” so long as its members share some identifiable characteristic – like a different skin color.  Suddenly, politically, hatred of the outgroup has flowered, and “white privilege” is the result.

Such hatred requires nurturing and nutrition.  Once embarked on the road to political power, people who know how to profit from hatred can’t seem ever to reverse course.  The joys of political office are too enticing; the lack of true responsibility too comforting, the outlandish emoluments too rewarding.  Today, hatreds are the MOST COMMON political motivations; statesmanship is nearly invisible.

For some “hatred” is simple cynicism.  These are they for whom “public service” is mere aggrandizement, and to Hell with society so long as they get as much out of our pockets as they can.  For the next level of public cynics, power is their profit, and they are satisfied to gain power for themselves, and to Hell with the rest of us.  The consequences of their powers are of little concern to them – indeed they generally absolve themselves of requirements to adhere to laws they codify.  Mixed into the second group are some of those who learn how to employ baser, defined hatreds in order to gain and retain their cynical powers.  Now it’s not simple lies and thievery, it is society-threatening.

And here we are.  Conservatives will point out that the left, constantly riding the “racist” bull, are using black hatred for white supremacists to enhance leftist political power, when it is the left that actually hates blacks by cynically trapping and consigning them to an artificial welfare life.  Blacks, themselves, hate what has happened to them, as they should, but careful education has taught them that it is conservatives who have done this to them.  And on the cycle of hatred goes, while fattened liberals live in mansions, sometimes not even in the districts they “represent.”

There are conservative haters, some of whom actually “hate” black or brown people.  Those are a very tiny minority.  Careful education and media manipulation teaches blacks that these few represent all conservatives.  This is easily refuted, but that is never taught. If one simply sets aside personal concerns temporarily and contemplates the question: “What element of society is primarily responsible for social and governmental failure?”

The likely answer will be “conservatives” or, at the very least, “Republicans,” the two far from synonymous.  At that point, the thoughtful and caring citizen has to wonder if that is a) possible; and b) how he or she came to think so.

Real conservatives, here defined as constitutionalists and others who believe in free enterprise and personal responsibility, are not haters… of anyone.  Mostly they, we, are disappointed that people of color aren’t doing better, on average, particularly with so much evidence of people variously brown in skin color, becoming champions of every field and discipline.  Clearly, or so it seems to us, there is no genetic reason for social failure.  It is based on beliefs, including carefully nurtured hatreds.

The actions that stem from hatred have no claim on forgiveness – from anyone.  The same is true for white-skinned people only more so, since they have no minority status to overcome along the way to happiness.  We have a left-induced tendency to forgive the hatreds of blacks, while trumpeting and often imputing those of whites.  Both destroy society and are to be condemned.  They are not to be exploited, God forbid.  But they are, to our shame… Black and White.

GRADUATED CHANGE

Prudence attended graduation at a well-known college in Boston’s Fenway section recently.  This particular school graduates no chemists, engineers, lawyers or business majors; no biologists, entomologists or astronomers; no materials scientists or agronomists or hydrologists, and no oceanographers.

Their purview is social work, and a healthy dose of “education.”  That is, education B.S. degree-recipients who, I think, they hope will teach the next generation along the lines of ultra-liberals who have been taking over education aggressively for the past 75 years. Fortunately, they sometimes fail and a graduate escapes with her (mostly hers and wannabes, there) internal philosophy intact, her understanding of reality clear, and her intense desire to educate young kids, rather than indoctrinate them, ready to run.  One such is Prudence’s only reason for attending.

Prudence’s eyes were opened, however, to the existence of this and other nests of socialist vipers, who churn out radical “change agents,” as were frequently referenced in the interminable speeches and last-second directives that made not a single reference to God, although the very last instructress managed to say, “… let the Divine …” which was amorphous enough to get through.  That tiny reference was among the last dozen words of last-second directions to the posse of Bachelors and Masters ready to change America.

The otherwise clear, May, day began with breakfast – free food, so to speak, catered in to the College’s Brookline facility.  Being observant was revelationary.  The professors are constantly professing, we noticed.  Tattoos, for example, profess attachment to the odd fascinations running rampant through society where women, sometimes grossly obese versions, have acres of “body art.”  It’s a statement of inclusion… or a test.  After all, if our campus is one of welcoming and inclusion and non-discrimination for students, then it must be for their instructors, too.  See how it works?

There seemed to be a single statement being uttered by a large fraction of both staff and graduates: There is no weirdness on OUR campus – all are welcome.  Prudence has no argument with the “welcom(ing)” part.  In other words, if you are as different and as unusual as you can make yourself, come, attend our college – we’re just as unusual as you!

Every speech underscored the same concepts of challenging the status quo; the difficulty is, today, that the status quo, having grown fairly weird itself, requires ever more strangeness from those who wish to challenge it.  This might explain, in part, the number of strange appearances of students, but it is unnerving to apply the same measure to staff and professors… at least it was to Prudence.

Sexuality is key to both protest and education, it seems.  Prudence needn’t describe sexual appearances and apparent expressions as most are indescribable and likely wide of the target.  But, unusual male-female iterations are more commonplace on college campuses than elsewhere in the world.  Perhaps it’s simply because these are the age groups where “youthful” experimentation is most likely.  Shouldn’t some adults guide these wandering – and wondering – children toward the most appropriate paths of action and belief?

Aren’t we intending to create new adults of our culture and social fabric?  Or is it our purpose to indulge every strange, interruptive feeling and treat it as if it were as valid as reality?  Reality is so restrictive: two genders… huh.  Are we kidding?  I mean, honestly!

Are there any lines a culture shouldn’t cross?  It’s not a trick question.  We used to decry drug use and numerous other forms of debasement.  Why?  Because it makes for a stronger, more nurturing society.

We used to require people to make their own way, no welfare and all the rest.  It inadvertently made for stronger people and children.  Problem free?  Of course not.  Too many fell through the “cracks,” as it were.  Some level of social support was required for simple fairness TO CHILDREN, and civil kindness to the helpless.

We used to require universal education that reinforced moral lessons, some Biblical, without damaging ANYONE, reinforcing shame for bad actions and strengthening the consciences of individuals… and their basic honesty.  These were good, strengthening-of-society kinds of structures.  Phenomenally, we have succumbed not to foreign powers but to our own cleverness, talking ourselves out of our heritage, our very culture, and of shame, itself.

We are so smart.

Murder, for example, now has shades of evil, some not so bad as to require equivalent sanction.  Indeed, abortion-at-will, deemed “murder” by half of the nation, has amorphous codified status and taxation support!  Suicide by drug overdose is a form of murder by drug-pusher, but we, the wealthiest, most sophisticated culture on earth, with more police forces per hectare than any other, has failed steadily for 60 years to clamp down firmly on drug commerce.

Now we are in a race to legalize ever purer and stronger pot despite its risks (there aren’t any, according to pot users) and to arm first responders with Narcan.  We’re smarter than we even realized.

The largest “industry” in the United States is welfare of a thousand titles.  Statists have found that the philosophies of the most rock-ribbed, self-made American stalwarts can be purchased with enough dependency, as recent “conservative” outcries against threats to Medicare makes clear.

The higher education “industry” is nothing if not opportunistic.  With TRILLIONS of dollars flowing from the Federal and state levels, colleges have justified turning out an army of social workers to soak them up.  Here and there people in need are truly helped, but the lion’s share of those dollars goes to the army of concerned, compassionate care-workers and, especially, to the army of administrators who make sure they are not wasting any money.

Somewhere, and here and there, are schools, churches and other institutions that respect and promote the concepts of self-reliance, absolute personal responsibility, honor and sublime integrity.  They must struggle against an onslaught of socialist control of budgets and information.  Is the ultimate success of the ultimate anti-God philosophy certain to overwhelm what made the U. S. great?

That future depends upon the ignorance of a majority of Americans.  How smart did you say we are?

 

When Robots are Rights

We must, as thinking, contemplative beings at least somewhat concerned about the future, consider the implications of robotics and so-called artificial intelligence: machines that learn. It’s all a matter of large-enough databases and rapid-enough retrieval. So what? you might ask.

Civilization came to be built as it is through an economic reality that forces individual humans to strive for improvement – both personal and financial. That is, at one level or another, life has been tough for most of us, causing each to become stronger in order to be able to adjust one’s surroundings to greater comfort or safety… or both.

In the past century or so we have managed to elevate enough of ourselves to support elaborate industries designed only to entertain us due to growing levels of “leisure” time. That is, modern life for a large fraction of humankind (but not all, certainly) permits complete creation of safe and comfortable living conditions (standards) with about 40 hours of “labor” of very specialized kinds per week, or about 25% of available time.

In fact not even 25% is needed, as many forms of labor provide for weeks of non-work time each year in addition to “holidays,” storm-days, “personal” days, sick days and, increasingly, family and maternity “leave” periods. Politicians and other panderers – advocates and socialists of various stripes – are constant in their demands for more time off for ostensibly “civilized” and crucial purposes. Employers are, after all, mere thieves of workers time and comfort and must not be allowed to earn a profit from their labor, if such dis-allowance is at all possible.

In any case and by whatever fraction of productive employees’ time, businesses must find ways to produce the millions of products and services that they and others need or want in order to create and maintain the kind of safe, comfortable living conditions each desires. And those products must be profitable enough to justify all the investment, risk, work and education that goes in to producing them, delivering them and warranting their quality and usefulness, AND to permit sufficient taxation of both profits and of labor itself, to pay for all of the “public” works and subsidies that politicians think we need – including those that we truly do.

Together we, many of us, understand the multiple contracts and assumptions and personal costs that are enabling lives we like; and we understand, largely, the changes we must each choose to make to have “better” lives and proportions of leisure time. Robots are changing the “contracts” we have made between individuals, companies, governments and ourselves – and we are largely unprepared for the future that they are creating.

Right now the contracts of the economy depend upon parties who have striven to be part of the economy and who have striven to be “good” and “useful” people – most of us, anyway. What each has attained-to is the basis on which each of us judges the other as a qualified member of our society and culture, evaluates him or her as to qualities of charity, kindness and “fairness,” or lacks thereof, and on what his or her productive value is determined.

It is very important to us whether the person we are considering is one who “pulls his or her weight” or, barring genuine disability, “coasts on the work of others.” Is he or she “pulling the wagon” or just “riding?” Like it or not, every one of us needs to grasp these values for the current system to “work.” We understand and agree to abide by the hundreds and thousands of “contracts” that cause society, products, services, profit and pay to function with a net gain of living standards over time for the largest number of our fellow society members.

Are you with me so far?

Here and there, and in growing numbers, people who are employers, which is to say, producers in our economy (“job-creation” being simply a result of profitable productivity), are squeezed by governments – including their legal systems – through taxation and liabilities of increasing types. Customers demand redress and compensation from producers’ profits if anything goes wrong with a product, its delivery or its use, almost regardless of “fault.” Governments need more and more revenue to perform vital deeds and to buy votes from constituents.

To compensate for growing assaults on profits producers must steadily become more productive without raising costs… and this means reducing labor costs – employee costs. Given myriad labor laws protecting workers, insuring them, insuring their families and paying them at certain rates, producers are turning toward automating as many procedures as possible: ie. robots.

Robots don’t have to look like manufactured humanoids. They can be as unassuming as ATM machines and self-check-out lanes at Home Depot and a thousand other retailers. “Robots” can dispense prescriptions, take orders at fast-food restaurants and, soon, custom-tailor suits with nary a sales-clerk or store-manager needed. What do YOU do? What function are you compensated for? Maybe you build houses.

Robots make it possible to factory-manufacture modular homes that come with wiring, piping and alarm and computer circuits already in place. They’re delivered by truck and bolted together on site. Altogether there can be barely 20% as much labor needed to produce a single-family home. For modular multi-family buildings, there is even less per housing unit. What will all the tradesmen be doing?

Or, the counter workers, potato-fryers, and on, and on, and on… what will they be doing? Retailing is disappearing before our eyes, along with its jobs and buildings, janitors and re-decorators, security guards and on, and on, and on. There are very, very few jobs that are not threatened, except, temporarily, robot-maker.

Will this happen overnight? Not yet, but overnight began about 30 years ago and is accelerating as rapidly today, tomorrow and next week, as computing power and miniaturization permit. So what are the political and human consequences of the robotic devouring of what we now call “jobs?”

First, people who now control productive enterprises, from small to large, will be controlling larger and larger fractions of production generally, whether of precision-engineered parts or of sandwiches, and with fewer and fewer employees. This will concentrate productive surplus – which is to say: profits – and wealth as well, in those same hands or corporations. How, under the U. S. Constitution, will this wealth be “shared” among the soon-to-be jobless citizens? (“Soon” being in 20 years?)

Shall we raise taxes much, much higher? Should laws be passed that require producers to share remaining jobs among 4, 5 or 6 individuals (however inefficient that will be)? What happens to the essential right of private property? Will all hiring and profits become the purview of the least-efficient institutions on the planet: federal bureaucracies?

And how will individuals prove their worth? Not only to their friends, wives and children… but to themselves? If lots of humans don’t need to be very smart to survive, will more than the owners of production and the builders and programmers of robots, bother to become so? What happens to politics, then?

The stratification we have acquiesced to so far – stratification in which those elected deem themselves superior and entitled to office, ideas they have “sold” to relatively ignorant constituents – will become stricter and more calcified, virtually unassailable by the welfare-supported masses of citizens. Those will be they who never vote against wealth-sharing and at ever greater sharing rates. How will democracy or a republic or religiosity survive?

Just as large fractions of us, now, can’t find our ways without “GPS,” or feed ourselves without welfare, what will we become when there is no need to strive… and dependence upon robots approaches totality? What will civilization be? Constant leisure? A complete absence of sacrifice? SHALL WE ALL BECOME ENTERTAINERS? Shouldn’t we be thinking about these things?

Do you think of them? Fear them?

Black Lives DO Matter

blmblogPrudence and I were at our Book Club the other night – it was at one of the member’s homes in a room full of smart people. We felt a little out of place. Good food, though.

Our book this time was titled “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation” and it’s not an easy read. The professor who advocated for us to read this particular book was unable to make the meeting, so 8 white guys had a discussion. The topic is definitely worth the work.

Author, Keeanga Yamahtta Taylor has done America a service, although its presentation is flawed by numerous non-factual declarations that are merely – and purposely – bumper-sticker- inflammatory. But one can get past them and still learn from the mountain of evidence she has laid before us.

Ladies and gentlemen of the polity, we do have a problem.

However, the book is a little one-sided. Problems faced by, let’s say, unsuccessful blacks, are not being solved in the “system” that America embodies, in Taylor’s (and #BlackLivesMatter’s) view, and that argument is valid. To them, the fact of some excessive force against black suspects and some unjustified killings of blacks by police, are reasons to indict ALL police and, by conflation, ALL of white Americans and, to seal the accusations, ALL of capitalism. To all of that our question is: What is the end-game?

Taylor and #BLM call repeatedly for the end of capitalism. This is somewhat understandable when considered from the standpoint of large numbers of blacks for whom “capitalism” doesn’t seem to work, and worse, is defended by a police-state of brutal, murderous police forces. Well. Given that George Soros and other America-haters provide funding to #BlackLivesMatter chapters, socialism is made credible for dismayed blacks. But, the “soul” of #BLM is dichotomous.

On one hand, and that most publicized, #BLM is fighting to change policing AND to obtain reparations for slavery, Jim Crow and for “institutional” racism of which all whites are (must be) guilty. On the other hand, they seem to be advocating for the dissolution of white America and replacing it with a socialist democracy that will share its wealth with downtrodden blacks. This aspect is not as publicized, as the acquiescence of guilt-ridden whites is essential to #BLM’s political success. Amorphous guilt is working; fear of total loss will not.

Prudence and I are not ready to destroy what does work and which can be made to work much, much better. Unfortunately, and largely thanks to corrupt politics, American capitalism is twisted and encumbered by unbelievable debt, tax games and cronyism, and outright government-sponsored monopolies. The past 8 years of the first “black” president, Mr. Obama, has brought the flaws of politicized capitalism into stark relief. (He is not blessed with a large fraction of “black” genes; his black African roots comprise about 1/8th of his African ancestry, while Arab ancestry fulfills the balance of that “half” of him. His mother was white, of course, denying him the percentage of “blackness” needed to claim African-American as his “race.” Indeed, his Arab ancestors may have been selling blacks into slavery.) While Wall Street revels in a Federal-Reserve-fomented bonanza, black America has slipped even further behind in terms of employment, income, apparent opportunity, and familial net worths. Concentrated neighborhoods of poor blacks, mostly a burden of large cities, but not exclusively so, became, again, tinderboxes of hopeless dissatisfaction and outright hatred of “white privilege,” which most evidently exists given the (near) total absence of “black privilege.”

Colleges and even grade schools have tried to inculcate the guilt-laden concept of “white privilege” in white students. Only if whites can be made to regret their apparent membership in a national bloc of proto-slave-owners, can the plight of blacks continue to be purveyed as the result of nationwide group suppression. Like all politics based on anti-capitalism… that is, on the left, these views deny the sovereignty, power and responsibility of individuals.

Most white individuals have nothing to do with making or keeping blacks poor, although if they (we) were more sensitive to the distant or unseen conditions in black ghettos, perhaps we would demand better government and governance. Several problems pervade American politics and its resulting economics.

First, politics has become organized theft. A majority of us have agreed to take part in and benefit from the thievery. Despite 19th century warnings, we figured out not only how to vote ourselves money from the public treasury, but how to vote ourselves “money” from the future. Our hunger for this “free” wealth has resulted in $20 Trillion of debt and a worldwide distrust of American economics. Americans themselves are happy to suspend disbelief so long as “benefits” or “entitlements” keep appearing in their bank accounts and on their “EBT” welfare cards.

As debt has grown, periodic increases in the “debt ceiling” have been voted by Congress primarily to buy votes from beneficiary groups, including poor blacks on various forms of welfare. Welfare, despite shifts in programs, called “cuts” has grown fairly steadily since the federalization of it in the 1960’s. Welfare doesn’t make blacks happy or grateful. For white politicians (maybe for all colors of politicians) welfare is the only tool they can wield to keep blacks contained and not too restive in their ghettos. It’s a system we have tolerated/imposed for 50 years, and it deserves some questioning, like, “Who benefits from the welfare-hopelessness cycle?”

The socially blind might say that blacks do. After all, look at all the money “we’ve” transferred to them from the public treasury. More cynical types might say that over time, only the politicians benefit. Keeping blacks somewhat nurtured and somewhat angry means that politicians can commiserate enough at election time to direct their votes toward themselves. Democrats do this in no small part by pointing out to blacks that it is those evil Republicans who have failed to take care of them; indeed, it is Republicans who prevent caring Democrats from enacting the programs that will transfer enough money and other support to finally make for “level playing fields.” What bastards they must be.

Next is drugs and crime. The U. S. is not really serious about cleaning society of drugs and, if one were cynical about this, too, he or she might observe that “drugs” and brown skin tend to concentrate in the same parts of cities. Despite our 50-year “war” on drugs, they are more available today than ever. So, the same question pertains: Who benefits from drug crime? And a corollary: Does the ongoing drug economy fulfill a social or political purpose?

Our response has been to “manage” the drug economy and build more prisons. One might be reminded of national treatment of “Injuns” and “redskins.” Their susceptibility to alcohol didn’t bother us, it fulfilled a prejudice. In a sad, sick way, the fact that blacks (and browns) are affected the most by drugs and related crimes, seems to fit a prejudice, too. Unaffected people see the self-destruction of blacks and their communities as a “natural” outgrowth of weaknesses in black character. Worse, so long as it keeps blacks busy and of limited danger to suburbanites, no ultimate solution to drugs is in the works.

Unfortunately or, perhaps, fortunately, drugs are killing suburban white kids in noticeable numbers, now. Perhaps a real war on drugs will be finally joined. If so, it still won’t be because we are deeply concerned about black lives. All lives matter.

So, despite their odd politics, #BlackLivesMatter has a valid point, but not a true target for its efforts. Rogue police officers and “prejudices” within police departments are certainly a problem, and a wildly public one, lately. Bad practices on the part of police do result in wrongful deaths – some practices/reactions far worse than others. Prejudice among police personnel at every level should be corrected, removed, discussed, stamped-out, brainwashed away and punished – all of those things, maybe more. But, prejudice doesn’t really matter so long as police actions are preserving of life and safety every time it is possible to be so. Actions may be modified by training.

Better training of police officers, however, will do virtually nothing to improve the lives of most blacks. Blacks in the welfare/hopelessness cycle must be taught to believe something different about their lives and possibilities. Neither the Federal government nor any other amoral entity can perform that function. Correcting the spirit of hopeless people is almost impossible. Not killing them accidentally is possible.

So, #BlackLivesMatter has selected a politically advantageous target in the relative handful of cases so destructively publicized as to foment riots and new levels of hatred by blacks and of fear by whites. They have not – and will not – take on the big target of destructive welfare policies, destructive drugs, destructive fatherlessness, destructive life choices and all the rest of it. Right now, they can’t; neither, politically, can, or will, anyone else.

At some point, if #BlackLivesMatter, and others who claim deep concern about the future of black lives, can come to a more honest understanding of politics and economics, perhaps a totally different approach to black society’s dysfunctions will manifest. It must be free of political profit, for one thing, and based on a moral, marriage-based code. All the social license and all the foolish names we concoct for it, cannot replace stable families with two parents. Prudence says that some adults have to step forward… adults who can lead the children the rest of the way to a drug-free, non-communist promised land.