The Other Side of Class Warfare: Taking Society Down

Society's Lowest Common Denominator

One of the most divisive and intractable problems we face in the U.S. is the growing poverty in our society.  More people are connected to the governmental umbilical cord than ever in history, and there are complaints emanating from all the usual sources that the wealthy segment of our society doesn’t pay enough for the privilege of their wealth.  I look at this from a completely different perspective, based in reality, and not in some grand socialistic dream about the good in humanity.  I know that humans are fallible and imperfect, and easily fall into a destitution of spirit even more readily than they do into a poverty of material things.  Encouraged to do so, many people are more than willing to live from the efforts of others and to subsist without reference to their own sloth.

I realize that what I am going to tell you will cause many to hurl derision in my direction, but it’s time that we tell the truth about who the real free-riders in our society have been.  Our country cannot thrive so long as the free-riders of whom we ask exactly nothing can collect by virtue of their unwillingness to contribute anything.  Our “welfare” system is becoming the largest segment of a rapidly growing government that rests not on a poverty of material things it provides, but on the grotesque destitution of spirit of those among those who these programs were intended to assist.

First, I’d like to address the question of entitlement programs, and differentiate among them on the following basis: Social Security, a program I think has thoroughly impossible problems, has been promised on the basis of individual contributions over a lifetime of work.  While it is clear that some substantial reform is necessary, and many  have been misled about the nature of the program, it is not the program I wish to discuss.  Instead, I’d prefer to focus on the massive programs for which there is no connection between benefits paid and the manner in which they are funded.  This includes the myriad programs that fall into the category widely regarded as “welfare,” and includes everything from public housing to Medicaid, among the more well-known, but includes also Pell Grants and Home Energy Assistance, and extends now even to Internet Service and Cellular Phones.

Over the last number of days, I’ve been verbally hammered via email and on the phone by those who have become disheartened at the things they now witness in their daily lives.  It’s not merely that these programs exist, or that they now provide every imaginable need, but that the recipients no longer appreciate them as a gift of a generous society.  Instead, they now view these benefits as a primary means of existence, and a right to which they are entitled to exercise.  Imagine subsisting in the belief that society owes you a living, based on no more exhaustive claim but for your existence.  It is to say “I’m here, so pay for me.”  If this seems stunning to some Americans who are less familiar with this sub-culture of economic dependency and moral depravity, it shouldn’t.  We have allowed our politicians to create a system in which they are rewarded with votes by providing material goods to people who produce nothing, owe nothing, and more, are being conditioned to believe that they possess an endless right to the wealth of those who produce the wealth of the nation.

Ladies and gentlemen, there can be no doubt that by permitting government to become the great dispenser of benefits, we have built a monster that has taken on a life and a force from which we may not escape.  We have such stellar intellectuals as Elizabeth Warren, a candidate for Senate in Massachusetts, and a former Obama White House flunky, who tells us a few things that ought to disqualify her from any office anywhere on the planet:

“I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’  No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody.”

Do you understand her claim?  She is saying that society enables people to become rich.  This is a lie.  If society enables people to become rich, why aren’t we all rich?  Why? What’s the difference between one person’s wealth and another person’s poverty?  She doesn’t explain that, but she does continue to make absurd statements that reveal her poverty of understanding  of both economics and human nature:

“You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did.”

This bizarre and reckless politician is telling you that the roads came first.  She is plainly asserting that roadways came before commerce.  They did not.  Commerce was the reason the roads were built, and the people who were engaged in that commerce are the ones who built the roads.  If there was nothing to protect, we would not need police.  This asinine would-be Senator actually believes that “the rest of us paid for” all of these things.  She is lying.  Find for me the total number of dollars paid for any roadway by those who do nothing but take from this system?

“Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

This is pure sophistry.  There is no instance in which her narrative is true.  We cannot  afford any more of this notion.  The people who have paid for those products are most frequently the people who had a hand in producing them.  This is a serious problem.  She is an advocate for free-riders who actually insists on bolstering the notion that free-riders are the great virtue in our system who somehow provide the ability of the rich to become richer, while nevertheless providing exactly and precisely nothing.

This must stop.  We must begin to strip such power from politicians. We must challenge this nonsense at ever turn.  We must begin to say “No” and mean it, not merely to these politicians, but also to the people who have become dependent upon them.  It simply ludicrous to suggest that the infrastructure depends on the payments of people who don’t pay, while people who do pay are compelled at gunpoint to build and provide  it.

We have a real problem, and this insufferable leftist demonstrates it quite well: The poverty we face is in intellect, philosophy, and spirit, and we can no longer afford the luxury of all of these programs.  We must end the welfare state before it ends us.  With each day it continues, it increases its own numbers as more people give up the will to earn their existence as they find themselves increasingly surrounded by those who will not.

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  • http://jonnydropout.wordpress.com jonnydropout

    i hope you don't honestly believe that… the idea that all humanity would slide into sloth if given the chance shows a callous disregard for the dignity of the working class.

    warren's speech was one of the most honest and heartfelt i have ever heard. the reckless way in which you dismiss the oppotunities this nation provides to all as somehow superlative to the ideals, makes me wonder how someone so well written could be so poorly read.

    it's not commerce that warren is railing against, it is the ridiculous argument that nothing can be achieved collectively, and that somehow the common good is just a collection of all individual goods. from this point of view, sacrifice for the common good would be illogical.

    but that distortion of true common good, in truth, makes us all weaker. we allow tyrants and oligarchs to own everything, because someone must when there is no collective power to fill the void.

    your argument leads to it's own destruction, as any common resource or tool we now have could be skewed under the same distortion, and the sacrifice would be considered too great. with that, you can say goodbye to any public services or resources, as the collective spirit dies along with any hope of collective action.

    -jon

    • Travis

      I have to wonder if you read this article.
      I believe he is says that those that exist on goverment money are not supporting anything. Including roads, police, or the common good.
      Those that only take should not expect to be taken care of.

  • Ron

    This reminds me of Rudyard Kipling – he understood 100 years ago –

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

    – Rudyard Kipling 1919

    • http://none Garry

      Brilliant bit of focus in recalling the wisdom of another age to educate and illuminate us all.

      Nicely done …

      Garry

  • DC

    Jon-
    Thanks for all the Marxist jargon. Real catchy…"dignity of the working class", "true common good", "tyrants and oligarchs [who] own everything", "collective power". You may want to drop some of your electives and take Econ 101 for starters. Mark makes serious, relevant points in his piece and you offer this claptrap? You and Warren are good for each other.

  • http://meredithroach.wordpress.com Meredith Vinger Roac

    "It’s not merely that these programs exist, or that they now provide every imaginable need, but that the recipients no longer appreciate them as a gift of a generous society. Instead, they now view these benefits as a primary means of existence, and a right to which they are entitled to exercise."
    It's not helpful to generalize, as you've done, especially when it's doubtful you consider poverty's scarcity and opportunity cost such as the Cliff Effect. For example, a single mother with a high school diploma in Colorado is statistically unlikely to earn the self-sufficiency wage of $42k per year. Work supports such as subsidized child care and the EITC allow her to work and care for her child. Every imaginable need? You mean like $ to pay for college so she can advance her career and get off the dole? Nope. Dental care so she can have her wisdom teeth pulled? Nope.

    • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

      Meredith, I have one question: By what right do you make the claim, on behalf of anyone, that anybody has a right to the earnings, the property, or the wealth of others? Get back to me when you have an answer that isn't composed of "Because I said so" or "Because I want it." In short, get lost, because you have no answer except a gun pointed at the heads of those who produce their own existence and from whose lives you poach what you consider 'excess.' I went six years with a wisdom tooth that should have long ago been pulled precisely because I could not afford to do so. So what? In the mean time, I bettered my own life to the extent that I was finally able to afford it. What on Earth makes you think that one person's pain is to be spread around the planet? Never mind. I know it: Your thorough hatred for all human life.

    • http://gravatar.com/dogswife1969 dogswife1969

      Dear Ms. Roach:

      It's not clear to me how you justify the idea that the workers in our society are obligated to give what we earn to others simply because they are alive.

      My husband is not a college educated man yet he provides over the 42k threshold that you speak of for me and our 5 children. The economy has been difficult for us, much of it because of the payroll taxes we must meet as small business owners. We have not had cable tv nor cell phones in our house since 2008. We have done away with luxuries in order to meet our bills so that no one else will have to pay for us. Others should do the same.

      It smokes my hide when I see these totally able bodied people driving into the welfare office down the street from my home, in nicer vehicles than I have (mine's paid for by the way, we saved up and paid cash) with a cell phone stuck in their ear, sucking on a Big Gulp soda from Circle K, all the while sucking on society's teats; sucking our system dry and our country down because they don't have the ambition to start something of their own. If they can't find a job, they can make a job. I know they can because my husband and I have done it. We don't have to worry about being laid off because we are responsible for our successes and failures.

      I need dental care but I damn sure don't expect someone else to pay it for me. I provide my own childcare. There are community colleges with affordable tuition rates.

      How dare you come on here spewing your supposed statistics. We live in the land of opportunity. People make it or break it on their own merit in this country. My husband and I CANNOT AFFORD to pay for others to breathe. We have to pay for ourselves to breathe. Unfortunately we have people like you who not only condone thievery, but advocate for it. Thievery from fellow working Americans.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000115674819 Jeannie Clarke

    I have worked in different careers where the attitudes you mention were on display daily. From men who fathered children and refused to get jobs because the state would take part of their pay for child support , all the while living off the state themselves, to women who did work but had it figured down to the minute exactly how many hours they could work before their state benefits would be cut. This while getting child support from an ex-husband which apparently is not considered when assessing welfare benefits. Paraphrasing Ben Franklin – the answer is making them miserable in their poverty.

  • http://none C Bartlett

    How do I see this?

  • http://www.devereauxdailydose.blogspot.com devereaux

    Mark,

    firstly, we must have learned from the same teachers….lol
    I could not have said it better….I really think you woul dlike my blog at dvereauxdailydose.com and would be honored if you would take a look….I don't hold back with what I have to say….lol

    As far as some of your commenter's go….the battle lines are drawn very clearly…there are those with basic intelligence and understanding, able to articulate their thoughts very clearly and on the other side, those who are stuck in cliche mode.

    I guess jonnydropout's handle is very descriptive….perhaps he shpuld have stayed in school? But of course, dropping out allows him to suck at the teat of the welfare state and that is how he likes it. He is just one of many who are addicted to the freebies.

    And then we have Meredith who makes what at first blush looks to be considered statements (but underneath reflect the cliche's of the left)…laughable really.

    I applaud that you attack and tear stupid commentary apart so quickly. I know it is easy to do, but still, few people choose to meet the enemy so forcefully….

    I think we are definitely on the same page there.

    …..devereaux

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000175725589 Robert Lambert

    Good post Mark. Did Glenn Beck ever reply about what his comedy said about Palin?

    • http://www.markamerica.com MarkAmerica

      No Robert, he did not, so I canceled… End of story.

  • johnannegalt

    Mark, I feel the same way! At work yesterday I unfortunately encountered two women who got into an argument with me because they felt as though they are "entitled" to what I and others have earned. I explained that my parents lose more than 40% of their paychecks every month to support people like them (the women, they're on medicaid, food stamps, etc.) yet still live paycheck to paycheck and they wouldn't believe me! One of them asked me what I would do if my husband and I lost our jobs and had children.. I said we would first burn through our savings, then maybe ask our family for help, go to our church or charity organization, and I'd even consider begging at Walmart for a dollar here or there- if that didn't work, tough. I was told "well, I wasn't fortunate enough to have both parents, my mama's babies' daddies' both left her, just like both of mine left me. And my kid sure as hell ain't gone be seeing me asking for no handout!" I replied, "so, you won't ask for a handout, but you'll demand a handout at the point of a gun?" She said she would simply be too embarrassed raising kids that saw her asking for help- I told her that, for me, it would be much more mortifying for my children to find out that we forced other people to take care of us and acted as thugs to maintain our livelihoods.

    These are the people that don't understand history in the least bit, or the idea of socialism. Remember, Hitler was passing out the bread/providing the medical care/making the government the teat of society before he began to reveal the (even greater) monster that he really was.

    Thanks so much for the encouragement, these people often cause me to feel I should just give up all together. What we need to do is wake more people up to the reality of the entitlement mentality that is killing this country- and it's workers.

  • JohnInFlorida

    Mark,

    It looks like they're ganging up on you, just as you expected. Just know there are many of us that agree with what you've written here.

    I'm a charitable fellow by choice, but put a gun to my head and I become quite the SOB … I guess it's just one of my many flaws.

    Keep up spreading the gospel.

    JohnInFlorida

  • Pingback: Elizabeth Warren crystallizes class warfare while trying to refute it « Sharp Right Turn

  • http://gravatar.com/kilt1iron kilt1iron

    MarkAmerica —

    I label those of the 'entitlement mentality' I encounter in my daily travels, the "truly clueless."

    I have made a choice now to prepare for the worst. I have armed myself, and trained to be accurate and efficient in defense of family and property.

    I continue to sharpen my mind, study more on my nation's history, and ready my wits to challenge stupidity when I find it.

    You write well. I am happy I found your site. I will spread your words throughout my friend network.

    • johnannegalt

      It's good to know there are others like myself and my family, kilt1iron, your comment encourages me.
      Hopefully we won't be outnumbered by the vast horde of moochers and people who vote for what's "cool"/"popular" this time around.

  • Dennis McKeon

    Warren is disturbing, (and seemingly disturbed) on many levels. The first being that we live here in MA, where there are often as many Green Party candidates on the ballot as Republicans. The scariest being that she could possibly win an election versus Brown, who, while a centrist in actuality, is viewed as a right-wing extremist "rubber stamp" in a state where the center has been moved so far to the left.

    The most obvious flaw in her diatribe is implying that "society" has an unrestricted right to your property. Society has no rights. Only individuals have rights. She seems to entirely miss the point that infrastructure exists because of commerce, and as a result of revenues derived from the taxation of commerce. Commerce does not exist in a vacuum.

    Warren is another in a long line of baby boomers who seem to be suffering from some sort of arrested development, where they can't mature past ta phase of sophomoric iconoclasticism and adolescent impotent rage, possibly the result of having not been breast fed.

  • http://jonnydropout.wordpress.com jonnydropout

    hey mark,

    i appreciate you responding to my response, although i find some of the insinuations down the line a little insulting, my pride and self-respect is still intact, so harm, no foul, right?

    as to my education, i'll have you know i am a university dropout, and demand the respect that this implies. (ha!)

    i only seek to defend the ideals of a social contract that i never signed, and hope that you, deep down, understand that this constant fear you experience is a result of your ideas, not mine.

    i want you to be happy, healthy, prosperous and wise.

    i just think we can do that best by working together….

    maybe i'm wrong…

  • johnannegalt

    Jon, why should it be your concern to ensure his wealth or happiness for that matter? The very idea that one should be responsible for another man's emotions or wealth is quite twisted.

  • http://jonnydropout.wordpress.com jonnydropout

    hmm. i see your point, from your frame of reference, and it definitely appears valid in such light. i, however, do not share this view.

    i merely suggest that the prosperity of all is integral to the prosperity of one, and that, in the same spirit, the gains of one can be considered a collective gain.

    you make it sound as if i alone must take responsibility for others with my own means, and that any help offered to others would harm myself… the reality is much closer to a system of collective achievement, with the caveat that achievement requires subsequent and proportional investment back to sustain said system.

    i ask only that you consider the alternative carefully, and understand that 'there, but for the grace of god, go i" is more then a platitude, but an attitude.

    you could be the next to fall on hard times… because it can happen to anyone. the barriers you erect will only serve to keep help away…

    that is something that i wish on no one.

    regards,
    -jon

  • johnannegalt

    Certainly I could fall on hard times, but I will never become a thug and force others to pay for my existence at the point of a gun. Just because I am faced with unfortunate circumstances, why should everyone else be, too?