I like to imagine a sci-fi future where I have lead a group of pioneers on a mission to start a new country on an alien planet. I imagine, because we are all democratically minded folk, that, upon arrival, we would immediately begin furious and intense brain storming sessions to devise a strategy for our brand new nation. We’re starting fresh, so it’s important to get going in the right direction with a solid plan and a clear mission. I’d be, of course, the unquestioned leader, after my opponents for the title somehow mysteriously and tragically ended up eating a batch of poisoned freeze dried chicken on the way there. But I am a democratic man, so I’d let everyone have some input into the fundamental formation of our new civilization.
It wouldn’t be long into our meeting of the minds before someone would jump up with a bright idea: “I’ve got it! Here’s the best way to establish lasting peace and prosperity: We should make sure we give people every possible incentive to not work. We should make it EASY and PROFITABLE to contribute nothing. Yeah, yeah, I think I’m onto something here. This is good. This will be great. See, what we need to do is somehow engender the notion in everyone’s mind that they can get — no, no, that they are ENTITLED, that they are OWED — the fruits of another man’s labor. We should put the weight of societal success on a shrinking number of hard working adults, and see to it that their efforts are less and less rewarding for them, and more and more rewarding for everyone else. We should, of course, make sure to heap upon these beleaguered few a hefty amount of guilt and emotional manipulation. That way, if they ever dare complain about this clearly unfair and unjust dynamic, we can actually get away with calling THEM selfish! Oh, that would be fantastic! Just think about it: The people TAKING the money could somehow find themselves on the moral high ground where they can berate and belittle the people MAKING it! Let’s set up an entire system of forced redistribution, only we’ll call it an “entitlement system”. HA! Do you think people will be dumb enough to buy that label? I hope so! Imagine: we are forcibly extracting funds from one family and giving them to another — and people, instead of seeing it as theft, which it intrinsically is, will see it as enforcement of some sort of divine karmic right. Wait, wait, here’s something else: Lets utterly and totally destroy the meanings of words so that A) communication becomes impossible and B) we can get away with absolutely absurd things. Absurd things like telling people that “anxiety”, “stress”, and “depression” are “disabilities” and therefore, if they have these “conditions”, they can stay home and collect “disability checks”. Yeah! We will equate physically capable adults with common emotional problems to paraplegics! Before long we’ll have so many “disabled” people that they will double the population of Virginia! Incompetency, un-productiveness, impotency, selfishness and greed will abound! You guys see where I’m going with this, right?”
At this point we’d all realize that an American Liberal managed to weasel his way into our colony. This would call for an immediate deportation. We’d put him in a capsule and send him back to earth. Unfortunately his vessel will be slightly off course due to a programming error and he’d miss the earth by a few miles and end up careening right into the sun. We’d all be very sad about this but we’d manage to get over it within a couple of minutes.
In case my point has been lost on some by now, here it is: We are doing things in this country that, if you suggested them as new ideas, you’d come off as a raving lunatic. We have built our modern society on a fundamentally insane, morally bankrupt, inherently unethical system that has literally no chance of breeding success or happiness for anyone.
But, anyway, let’s just carry on with it.