Leftists Want To Be Your Parents

David Hogg recently claimed owning 22,000 rounds of ammunition should “put you on a list or something.” As with all such claims, one wonders what the threshold of being on “a list” might be. Can you own 100 rounds without being on a list? 1,000? In reality, of course, the Left generally wants to track ammunition the way guns themselves are tracked. Read the Giffords.org position for more on that. Whether you have 22,000 rounds, or just a handful of .22lr, the Left wants to know and track.

In some ways it reminds me of helicopter parenting writ large.

So many Leftist arguments boil down to the fact that they want to be your parents. They want to divvy up everything fairly. They want to monitor what you say on the Internet. They want to know how much of this or that you have, and regulate where you are permitted to go, and the method by which you travel. Of late, I have seen a number of liberal acquaintances mentioning that masks should become a permanent feature of society, because flus and other sicknesses can kill old folks, too, and how greedy and selfish is it to not wear a mask (even if you are vaccinated) and put others at risk of catching a cold?

Wear your mask, little Jimmy, and put on your helmet when you ride your bike!

I am old enough to remember when it was the Right who wanted to censor things – Harry Potter was Satanic or something. Now, Harry Potter’s author is transphobic, so out with that, I suppose. Your Leftist “parents” have determined that it is not good for you.

So many liberal causes have, at their root, a desire to control everyone else. Climate change implies that we must be told how much energy we are permitted to use, what we may drive, where we can go, and what we can purchase. Gun control implies that we cannot be trusted to defend ourselves. Knife regulation in the UK is particularly hilarious to me. Put that butter knife down, Jimmy, only grownups can have those! And by grownups, we mean agents of the government, of course. Extensions of political will. We might trust a soldier with an M-16 in battle, but when he leaves the military, he clearly cannot be trusted with an AR-15 in private life. Mommy government decrees it.

This video shows the child-like manner laid bare.

When you look at Social Justice language and style, it has a profoundly childlike spin to it. You have Safe Spaces, and everybody’s feelings are paramount. If you are having difficulty with college, there are spaces full of teddy bears and positive reinforcement to help you manage. There are Trigger Warnings to be had – like everything rated PG and above needs to come with a disclaimer. We must have warning labels on everything. It is not enough, even, to say that smoking may cause cancer. We must put giant bold language on every pack: SMOKING KILLS! Sugary drinks should be regulated, but remember, fat is beautiful (body positivity!), and everyone is special.

It’s as if life in a Left-leaning society is an adult-centered parody of Kindergarten. If you’re rich, the question is always “did you bring enough for everyone?” If not, of course, your wealth is illegitimate and immoral. One mass shooter, probably on a cornucopia of meds or just plain crazy, goes in and shoots up a place, and suddenly nobody can have guns, because there are a couple of insane loons. Get your universal healthcare, too, because Mommy Government will fix all the boo-boos. Censorship is important, because Mommy Government says nobody can say anything mean on the Internet!

It’s as if we aren’t adults, and aren’t allowed to decide if we want to smoke – knowing the risks. It’s as if we are incapable of separating words from actions, or brushing off a mean comment like a functional adult. We’re clearly all children who can’t go to college without stuffed animal infused Safe Spaces to keep you safe from all the icky mean things in the world. You can’t be trusted to drive a car, own a firearm, earn your own money, or choose your own doctor. And all the children must strive to save the Earth from the evil automobiles and air conditioners that are destroying it. Perhaps the Left will offer some construction paper and plastic scissors (the metal ones are too dangerous, of course) so we can all make little Kindergarten posters about saving the poor creatures of… wherever.

In the Liberal mind, nobody is an adult. Everyone is a perpetual child, and must be treated as such. If one argument doesn’t work on you, they will try another. And another. And another. If gun control doesn’t do it, then censorship, maybe. Or Climate Change. Or righting the historical wrongs committed against people long dead, by people long dead. Maybe it’s universal healthcare, or maybe it’s ending homelessness. If one cause doesn’t guilt you into becoming a Ward of the State, some other one will. It’s like throwing spaghetti against the wall until one sticks.

And if you disagree despite all this, go into timeout, little Jimmy. You’re clearly a meany poopyhead white supremacist.

Leftist moral supremacy is a Kindergarten kind of taunt, too. It’s “I’m better than you, neener-neener!” If you prefer private retirement plans to government ones, you clearly want to push granny off a cliff, therefore the Liberal (who does not want to push granny off a cliff – unless she’s a Republican) is morally superior! Wheel out the bat signal of ultimate virtue! Little Jimmy is not a Democrat! Na-na-na-na-na-naaaaaa.

I wonder what percentage of Leftists had severe Daddy issues growing up? Either way, I suppose there’s a reason we call it the Nanny State.

And Hell, maybe there are people out there who need a perpetual Mommy Government to do everything for them. But for the love of all that is holy, can they not drag the rest of us back down to Kindergarten with them? Some of us actually like being functional adults.

Socialism is Elitism

Let’s begin with a quote from which the rest of this post will naturally follow:

Oddly enough, it is the intellectual snobbery and elitism of many of the literati that politically correct egalitarianism appeals to; their partiality to literary Marxism is based not on its economic theory but on its hostility to business and the middle class. The character of this anti-bourgeois sentiment therefore has more in common with its origin in aristocratic disdain for the lower orders than with egalitarianism.

– John M. Ellis

Most of my readers are likely personally familiar with this attitude. Debate a Leftist on social media and prepare yourself for a barrage of insults. You are ignorant, uneducated, immoral, hateful, and many other horrible, terrible things. The implication, of course, is that they are not these things. They are superior to you, better than you, more moral, more intelligent, etc…

Some time ago on Twitter, a self-declared Socialist explained to me that my car, a 2015 Mustang, was so plebeian. It was, he declared, entirely common. Anybody could afford the payments, he said (that I disdain auto loans and bought mine in cash never entered his mental calculations). I found this utterly fascinating, for Socialists usually claim to be acting for the common man. How could the word “common” thus be insulting?

Ocasio-Cortez became something of a meme after some enterprising reddit user humorously tabulated the cost of the various high fashion items she was wearing, while representing herself as a woman of the working class:

Because, as we know, the common man (or woman) wears a $3500 outfit. This tied in rather neatly with the Twitter Socialist decrying my automobile as too common. A proper Socialist would undoubtedly only drive a Ferrari or something. Ocasio-Cortez defended this by claiming the clothing was lent to her from the fashion industry. That doesn’t make it any better. Rich champagne Socialists are jumping on her bandwagon and dressing her as one of them? More elitists to tell you that the common man sucks.

The essence of modern Socialism is thus a carefully calculated message: “I’m better than you, neener-neener.” Everything they say is tainted with this. Pull up an article on any Left-leaning outlet and see it for yourself. Michael Crichton coined the term the Gell-Mann Effect to explain how people could be so blind to media stupidity. Perhaps we can coin a new term to refer to the Left’s smug superiority complex.

We could call it the Ocasio-Cortez Effect.

Socialism appeals to the very poor and the very wealthy. The very poor, of course, are  jumping on the train because elitist Socialists are promising them a mountain of free shit. We can understand, and to some extent even forgive, their support of the far Left. The wealthy Socialists have a different conception of things, something Thomas Sowell explained quite clearly:

The almost universal disdain toward the middle class — the bourgeoisie — by those with cosmic visions can be more readily understood in light of the role of such visions as personal gratification and personal license. The middle classes have been classically people of rules, traditions, and self-discipline, to a far greater extent than the underclass below them or the wealthy and aristocratic classes above them. While the underclass pay the price of not having the self-discipline of the bourgeoisie — in many ways, ranging from poverty to imprisonment — the truly wealthy and powerful can often disregard the rules, including laws, without paying the consequences. Those with cosmic visions that seek escape from social constraints regarded as arbitrary, rather than inherent, tend to romanticize the unruliness of the underclass and the sense of being above the rules found among the elite.

– Thomas Sowell

Only someone far removed from the reality of the world could truly believe something like Socialism could work on an intellectual level. Marxist thinking is a disease that is precisely tailored to infect the mind of the intellectual elitist – after all, Marx himself was one such. Rationalizing absurdity is the province of an arrogant mind disconnected from the consequences (as Taleb would say, someone without skin in the game), not necessarily a stupid one. It takes someone far removed from the consequences of his actions to believe objective reality could be made subservient to subjective whims.

Socialists are a collective mirror of Xerxes trying to whip the sea into obedience. That’s the sort of thing only a smug, self-entitled, angry, and dare I say childish individual could possibly come up with. But stupid? No, not stupid. No doubt Xerxes had some twisted, self-satisfied rationalization for why the gods would obey him, should he do those things.

Or maybe he was just a petulant child. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a smug elitist and a child throwing a temper tantrum. When you see Antifas lighting garbage cans on fire and breaking windows while screaming “FUCK TRUUUUUUMP”, know that you’re seeing a lesser version of Xerxes having the sea whipped.

Look at the Socialists out there today, with their Starbucks coffee, Apple iPhones, and mountains of debt. They say they are better than you. They say they are smarter, more moral, more fashionable, etc… They would never be caught dead with a common product, naturally. Nor would they be caught dead with the common working man. Coal miners? Fuck those guys! Plumbers? Electricians? Line workers? So plebeian!

I bet they drive Mustangs. And they probably don’t even wear Gucci! So passe.

Is it any wonder working and middle class folks came out in support of Trump in such a big way? Decades worth of Leftists were shitting on the common working class man, and finally they had enough. Once the Left at least pretended to like these people, to fight for them. Now they only fight for foreigners. Send truckloads of illegals, refugees, and whoever else they can possibly ship over the border and give them as much free shit as possible. Provided, of course, that they vote for Socialists. Socialists with Prada bags, presumably.

That’s always the bargain. If Mexicans voted like Cubans, Obama would have built walls that put Babylon and the Great Wall of China to shame. They’d have been thicker and taller than the Theodosian walls of Constantinople.

Do what your betters say. Obey. It’s an affliction that even makes itself known on the nominal right. Tom Nichols is a big fan of obeying the experts because they are better than you. And by experts, he is really referring to technocrats. Most technocrats, of course, lean Socialist.

I will close with one quote the anointed experts, self-avowed champagne Socialists, and Ferrari drivers should take note of:

Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.

– Thomas Jefferson

The Founders knew perfectly well the dangers of Socialism… long before it was even called by that name. Government by anointed elitists who know better than you is as ancient as the historical record.

Probably more, actually.

Government Dependency Breeds Stupidity

Many of my readers may be aware of the fact that, though I live in Florida, I’m pretty well-traveled. My father was in the military, and as a military brat I’ve lived in many different parts of the country, and been to almost all the lower 48 states at some point or another. We spent a couple years in Oregon when I was a teenager, and even back then the law prohibiting citizens from pumping their own gas was in effect. It was one of the stranger features of Oregon.

Now the partial repeal of this law, which only applies to rural areas, has some Oregon residents in a panic. Why, people may just have to get out and pump their own gas! The terror! The horror! I have to wonder if Democrats will get up on podium and tell us that people will die! This is another feature of that parallel (or is it orthagonal?) universe libs live in. Poe’s law may apply to the comments below, but it’s very hard to tell these days.

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Either way, this is a very interesting case to dissect. Pumping gas is hardly rocket science, and yet somehow Oregon felt compelled to pass this law, and its partial repeal is engendering resistance. It boggles the mind. How can a people become so dependent as to be unable to pump gas? Never mind the fact that this merely allows for self-service gas stations, it doesn’t mandate them.

Every place I’ve lived has had at least a few bizarre, retarded laws like this one, though. My own Florida has a strange law where liquor cannot be sold between 3AM and 7AM, which is extended in Tampa to 3AM to 11AM on Sundays. On top of that, there used to be a law whereby you could buy a 32Oz and 128oz beer growler, but not a 40oz or 64oz. I am told there is a small town in Texas which has, for reasons I cannot fathom, banned the presence of inflatable gorillas. The specificity of such laws is amusing. You have to imagine there is some kind of story full of human idiocy, corruption, and bureaucratic overreach as to how they came about in the first place.

But Oregon’s law on pumping gas strikes me as one of the most egregious and bizarre of them all. That it has defenders is mystifying to me. I try to think of it in terms of Chesterton’s Fence, but all the reasons I can think of for its existence are ludicrous. Was it another simple make-work scam by the government? Was it a demand for safety that went haywire (the other states get along just fine without such a law). It’s hard to get a clear answer. Probably both, and then some. Either way, the people who erected this particular fence were out of their damned gourds.

It also demonstrates the difficulty of repealing idiotic laws once they’ve taken root. “It will take away jobs,” is the reason the above article cites for where the resistance really comes from, but that is an idiotic assertion. It is the sort of answer that takes into account only first-order effects, avoiding consideration for the fact that these jobs are artificial in nature, sucking productivity from someplace else. It’s a variation of the broken window fallacy. People have “jobs” but aren’t really doing or contributing anything. And they suck down money that could be going somewhere else, someplace actually productive. But now there is a class of people who directly benefit from the law regardless of its lack of utility, and pulling them away from the benefit is like pulling teeth.

It has a similar effect on the citizenry at large. Unaccustomed to pumping gas, you have Oregonians who don’t even know how to do it, and are literally afraid to do it. In some of my earlier writings, I made fun of a guy I saw on the side of the road getting his tire changed by a woman. He’s nothing next to people who say they can’t even pump their own gas. Government dependency is an ugly thing. If the trajectory toward increasing micromanagement of human affairs continues, I wonder if we’ll see a day when wiping your ass requires a special, qualified ass-wiper to do the job. You know, so as to ensure there are no filthy butt cracks in the country, and to provide make-work jobs to some (probably not well-liked) demographic.

Either way, Leftists have lately told us that the recent tax cuts were going to kill people by the thousands, if not millions, and that the Net Neutrality repeal would bring about the digital apocalypse. I guess we’ll see what 2018 brings. Maybe millions of Oregonians will die trying to pump their own gas, right? I mean, who knows?

Rationalizing Extinction

Here’s a doozy of a post: Kids? Just Say No.

I’ve been seeing an awful lot of this kind of sophistry lately. It’s moralism run amok. It differs from Social Justice only in degree. The SJW prioritizes certain classes and groups above others, based on an arbitrary Progressive Stack. This cretin suggests that life itself must be extinguished, in other words that nobody is salvageable. It won’t be long before something akin to this becomes orthodox Social Justice belief.

Everything they do, from the casual treatment of abortion to the constant wearing down of men, to the incessant racial polarization, and finally to the worship of Death Cults like militant Islam and Communism… it all leads inexorably to this destination.

I lack the ability to prove it (I cannot get into their heads, and I don’t think I’d want to even if it were possible), but I’ve long suspected that the underlying mechanism is disappointment in life. These people were promised utopias, heaven on Earth, a place without suffering, loss, and unfairness. If such a place exists, it is not here on Earth. Most of us eventually come to realize this, and make peace with it, and live our lives as best we can despite it. But these people never entirely let go of the expectation, and it festers into extreme disappointment and rage at the unfairness of it all.

And like all misery, it desires our company. Observe:

But even if life isn’t pure suffering, coming into existence can still be sufficiently harmful to render procreation wrong. Life is simply much worse than most people think, and there are powerful drives to affirm life even when life is terrible. People might be living lives that were actually not worth starting without recognising that this is the case.

This is full of rhetorical nonsense like “life is simply much worse than people think.” What people? Worse than what benchmark? To the contrary, human life has, in general, improved in very quantifiable ways over time. As I type this, I sit in a comfortably temperature-controlled building, with a full stomach, able to access pretty much any piece of human knowledge in seconds. Part of the desire to have children is the notion that they will have it better than us. That we leave to them a world better than we found it.

The central argument of this piece is that life is full of suffering (true), and that as a result, bringing new life into the world is fundamentally immoral. This is an argument for human extinction, something the author realizes:

The question is not whether humans will become extinct, but rather when they will. If the anti-natalist arguments are correct, it would be better, all things being equal, if this happened sooner rather than later for, the sooner it happens, the more suffering and misfortune will be avoided.

This contains many implicit assumptions: first of all that there is not a higher purpose for human beings. If one, for instance, were to believe in God, then it is possible this life is a test, and that another exists should we pass the test. Even if one is an atheist, it is possible to consider that human knowledge and evolution will eventually lead to immortality, or something like it; that even the supposed heat-death of the universe might be reversed (there is a great story by Isaac Asimov about this very thing). Regardless, the author is solipsistic in the extreme. He does not ponder a meaning or purpose outside the bounds of his own puny life. And since his life is imperfect, he presumes it a moral wrong that any other should “suffer” it. With a solipsistic worldview, it is easy to slip into madness like this, because other people don’t even necessarily seem entirely real. It’d be like a Communist reading reports on the number of people who died at the gulag last week, they are just numbers, not even real people.

How many dead bodies have been stacked up in the quest for perfection? It is and always has been a fallacy.

The thing to understand above all this, however, is that morality is a tool. People like the author of this bullshit moralize until they are blue in the face. They dig too deep. They are too far away from the purpose of morality. If humans did not exist (for the sake of argument, I’m presuming there are no other sentient species), there would be no morality; no right or wrong. These are concepts that exist solely in the minds of individual humans. What good would the universe be, then? He argues not for the peak morality, but for the elimination of all morality.

This is the danger of applying concepts of morality at a meta level. It is what SJWs do, only to even greater degree. The SJW tries to balance out the conflicting moral stances of history; slavery to Jim Crow; Genocide to Imperialism; Conquest and Jihad; Poverty and wealth. This is beyond us. Playing with morality at a meta level leads to surprisingly irrational conclusions like kill all the humans, kill all men, or fuck white people. They differ only in degree of meta-moralizing.

Think about it. Someday SJWs are bound to realize that male feminists are just as “rapey”, if not more so, than the shitlords. Sooner or later, they must learn that Islam is much harder on gays and transgender folks than Christians are. Or that groups of people far more racist than white Americans exist. SJWs will have to cannibalize themselves sooner or later. Black Lives Matter must inevitably conflict with White Girl Feminism. Chinese Communism must eventually conflict with Euro-Globalism. And so on…

Sooner or later SJWs will join our self-described “anti-natalist” in condemning the entire human species as worthless.

It all stems from a category error. Morality must first and foremost be applied to individual interactions. Bottom up, so to speak. Applying it from the top down leads to a self-destructive rationalization spiral ending with the position this man has espoused: the complete extinction of humanity. It’s something adherents of death cults like militant Islam are perfectly aware of, too, given their quasi-apocalyptic rhetoric.

Poverty: Temporary or Permanent?

Poverty is an issue Leftists badger the Right about incessantly. Poor people provide a convenient excuse for government control over your wallet. They need food, shelter, transportation, healthcare, and so on, and why shouldn’t these things be guaranteed by a friendly government? Why rely on the charity of individuals to do this, when it is possible that private charity will miss some people, that some of the poor will slip through the cracks and suffer? Only government can make this a mandate. Let us raise taxes, they say, or reduce funding for the warmongering military, to help our poor people! As one Leftist detractor explained, let’s do it for national pride, compassion, and empathy!

The buzzwords sound great, of course. But they are empty platitudes. You cannot eat compassion, nor will empathy put a roof over your head or supply you with good, inexpensive healthcare. And as we give government our money to do these things for us (or, rather, as it is taken from us), be advised that the bureaucrats and politicians will take their slice of the action. They are the middlemen, and naturally a middleman wants his share of the spoils.

Government inefficiencies aside, many of those who are supported by government anti-poverty programs are, essentially, lifers. They are mired in permanent poverty, never to escape. What percentage, exactly? Well, it’s difficult to tell. But those receiving government benefits in the 37-48 month category (the longest period I could find concrete stats for) stands at around 43% of those on government assistance.

In browsing around these statistics this morning, I came across a Huffington Post article that was using essentially the same data (they differed by a couple percentage points here and there, but were clearly using a similar source). Their conclusion was that a majority of people used welfare benefits of varying types for only short periods of time. This was technically true (after all, 43% is a minority). But nonetheless, we are not far from that magic 50% marker.

In any event, for our purposes 43% of welfare recipients will do. These are people who are essentially in a state of permanent poverty. There are probably some who are too proud to take government benefits for long, too, or who do not qualify for one reason or another. So the actual number of those in permanent poverty is probably somewhat higher than that number would indicate.

Thing is most of us, myself included, have probably experienced some form of temporary poverty. For me, this came during the dot-com bust in 2001, when getting work as a web developer was essentially impossible. This happened to a lot of my friends in the industry, too. Those were tough times for folks in my line of work. I took a job as a Costco stocker for a time. Some friends took various odd jobs, or moved back in with family.

When talking to friends, family, and some of my readers here at The Declination, I can safely say that most of us have experienced temporary poverty. When I was born, my father was broke and just barely struggling to keep the lights on and food on the table. But that, too, was temporary. My wife’s family came from Cuba with nothing but the clothes on their backs, all that Castro permitted them to take with them. But their poverty was temporary, also. My wife’s grandfather quickly landed a job (all physical labor, but that was enough) and he managed to claw his way out of poverty. Her father managed to prosper, working his way up from a minimum wage pharmacy worker job to part-owner in a lucrative pharmacy business.

What is the difference between those who fall into poverty, for whatever reason, and those who stay there?

There is a mindset I’ve seen with people who are stuck in permanent poverty. A family friend, who for sake of anonymity I will call Harry, exemplifies the permanent poverty situation quite well. Harry was a general contractor, and had a set of skills that ought to have made him permanently well off. But when he’d land a good contract, and score some hefty profit, he would quickly burn through money. Harry’s house would be filled with toys, from a new lifted F-150, to boats, RVs, motorcycles, whatever. And then, a year or two later, after going through several lean months, the possessions would disappear one at a time, sold or repossessed by the bank.

Feeling sorry for Harry, my father helped him score a job worth a substantial amount of money. Half was to be paid upfront, the remainder upon completion of the job. But Harry spent the advance too quickly, burning through it at the bars and the strip clubs, and found he did not have enough money leftover to buy all the supplies needed to finish the work. The broken contract cost him his contractor’s license, and he found himself out of work. Things continued to go downhill after that, and he spent several months in jail on some unrelated charge.

Harry has since been released, and is back working in construction, but now as a regular laborer. His lucrative career as a general contractor is gone forever. And even still, after all this, he quickly spends his money on booze, women, and toys, and finds himself in financial pickles. So far as I know, Harry has never taken a dime of welfare money, but he is still stuck in permanent poverty. And all the help my father and I could give him was for naught.

The thing is, you could give Harry a million dollars, and it would soon vanish. Just as you could give some folks on welfare piles of money, and in the long run it would do them no good. The money would not improve their lot, but if taken out of your paycheck, it could worsen your lot. That isn’t to say money can’t help a poor man at all. Those who are in temporary poverty may very well be helped by a timely infusion of cash, or some food, shelter, or otherwise.

Differentiating between the temporarily impoverished and the permanently impoverished is a mission we’ve largely outsourced to the government, and I consider that a mistake. The government is ill-equipped to do this. Some of the temporarily impoverished may be turned away, and many of the permanently impoverished may supplied with money and/or benefits that are, essentially, wasted. Take this story, confirmed by Snopes, of a man using his girlfriend’s EBT card to buy steak and lobster. He then resold the food for cash, 50% of the value of the original food. He was caught and arrested for fraud; for reselling the food and using someone else’s benefits. But this sort of thing goes on all the time. And sometimes the EBT benefits are sold more directly. And let us not forget the FEMA cards after Katrina, often being used for strip clubs and booze, not unlike what Harry did with his profits. Some got caught. I suspect many more got away with it.

The point is, some of these folks have a mindset that mires them in permanent poverty. Even given the food, they will sell the food at a discount and use it for something else. Given the welfare cash to pay bills, they will spend the money on something else. Give them millions, and they will soon be broke again. Such aid only truly improves the lot of the temporarily impoverished. And even then, I’ve never taken such benefits, even when temporarily impoverished, and neither have most folks I know. Most of the time, we can get out of temporary poverty with some bootstrapping and some assistance from family and friends.

How do you change the mindset of the permanently impoverished? I don’t know. What I do know is that if the purpose of government welfare spending is to lift them out of this state, it’s not going to work. It may help the temporarily impoverished, though I’d argue we could do that more efficiently via private means. But the permanently poor are going to stay that way, short of changing their mindset. I’ve spoken at length on the possibility that pain is a good teacher; that maybe making people too comfortable in poverty (the regularity and guarantee of government assistance) may work against learning the habits and mindset necessary to escape poverty. But Harry’s example is also instructive, he’s had every incentive in the world to change his behavior, and he never did. Some people may be beyond our help. It’s an unpleasant thing to contemplate, but it may nonetheless be true.

The question is, if some people are beyond our help, if lifting them out of poverty is beyond our means, what is our responsibility to them? Do we owe the government an ever-increasing slice of our earnings to fail to help them? Where does our obligation end? To those in power, of course, middlemen taking their slice of the action, the answer is that the obligation never ends, and is an essentially unlimited mandate.

Using Morality as Cover for Tyranny

Our resident Lefty troll has spent the better part of the last few days lecturing my readers on their moral inferiority. He offers no solutions, no costs, no benefits, and is quite vague on matters of policy. Rather, he hopes to play the Alinsky handbook out and see where it takes him. But in the process, he has exposed a facet of Weaponized Empathy that bears elaboration.

A few months ago, a friend of mine suffered some serious legal trouble. He was innocent of the charges levied against him, and his lawyer was confident of victory in court. Indeed, the charges were immediately lowered, and just last night I heard that his lawyer had secured evidence that ought to clear him. But, as is often the case, the punishment is the process. My friend’s legal fees were mounting. He does pretty well for himself, but while the court case was pending, his employer placed him on leave. So he was eating into savings very quickly. Things were looking grim.

A few of us got together and did some crowdfunding for him on social media. We secured enough money to pay his legal fees through small, private donations. It was enough to allow his savings to cover his day-to-day costs, and keep him afloat in what would otherwise be a very trying time. And we did so with small donations. $25 here, $50 there. It all adds up. So at no great cost to ourselves, we willingly helped him, and it worked.

Legal fees being about as ridiculous of an albatross as healthcare, one wonders why this approach isn’t championed by the morally-enlightened paragons of the political Left. With the rise of the Internet, and the power of mass media, it seems there is a great missed opportunity. When a leftist browbeats you with some sob story, and uses it as evidence as to why we need some government program, why we need higher taxes, ask him about this.

Take a look at this story: A disabled Dallas woman faces eviction after getting slammed with late fees higher than her rent.

The tone of the article would have you believe that the landlord is a heartless, cruel company (or person). Why, for a mere $173, they charged this woman late fees, and now she can’t catch up! More subtly, the article is asking the question of why this woman should even have to pay rent at all. Clearly, the government should pay all of her housing expenses (it only pays most of them now). There is even a picture of the woman in her wheelchair next to her son, trying to waive down a bus to take them to the courthouse. Think about that, a reporter who knows this woman’s story is right there taking the picture, seeing this woman suffer, and can’t even be bothered to give her a ride. But the staff photographer has plenty of time for some quick Weaponized Empathy photo ops.

Yet if $173 is a mere trivial nothing, and the late fees so unimportant that the landlord should be expected to waive them away because of media outrage, where is the gofundme for this woman? And why have the journalists who exposed this terrible case not donated a few dollars themselves? You could circulate that crowdfunding link around the office of The Dallas Morning News and pay this woman’s bills for an entire year with what these people spend individually on a cup of overpriced Starbucks coffee every morning.

Some time ago, I read an article (which I can’t find at the moment – if my readers know, please reply in the comments) where some old woman wound up dying because she could not afford her electric bill. The electricity wound up getting shut off, and she froze to death in the winter. Naturally, everyone was angry at the utility company for shutting off her power. Why, the whole community was outraged at the greed of such a terrible company.

Yet where were these outraged people when she was still alive? Could they not cobble together a few dollars each to pay her bill, to see her through the rough times? No, chances are they didn’t even notice she existed. And if they did, they paid her no mind. She wasn’t their problem. She was somebody else’s problem. And when she died, they were shamed, because they let it happen. The utility company, who likely had no idea what was going on (only that they weren’t being paid), became the scapegoat for their shame, for their lack of caring for their fellow man.

The solution for such people is to outsource the responsibility of caring to someone else, namely the government. Out of sight, out of mind. They never have to mix it up with folks living at the edge. They don’t even have to bother with the time it takes to go to a gofundme link and donate a few dollars. Let the government handle it all, they say. And they account themselves our moral superiors because of this.

To them, charity is some distant, impersonal thing. Some money is taken out of their paycheck every month. Where it goes, nobody knows. But the leftist has done his duty, you see. He doesn’t have to think about his fellow man anymore. Indeed, he could write a story about a poor woman in his own community who needs a mere $173, and use his podium to lecture the public that someone else ought to cough up that money.

When government charity fails, when it breaks the human spirit, when it destroys entire communities, leftists can always point to the mean old Republicans and blame us for the suffering. All because they can’t cope with the shame that, when you get right down to it, they did nothing. All they did was watch the IRS come and take some portion of their paycheck. They did the easiest thing in the world: they threw some money at a problem and hoped that it would go away and trouble them no more.

Out of sight, out of mind.

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