Thursday, July 17, 2008

Hoping For the Wrong Things

This little tidbit was published a bit over two months ago. The questions posed by George Will still resonate and the responses still haven’t surfaced.

Cutting Through the Emotional Appeal

Mr. Will manages to pinpoint the emotional appeal of the Obama pronouncements and very carefully skewer them with his questions. The tragedy of American politics today is that we have allowed our educational system to inculcate the concepts of socialism and government dependence through several generations. The principles that would have been immediately decried as bordering on Marxist in the ‘40s and ‘50s now go unchallenged by a slavering mass of the electorate which seeks only to see their grubby hands filled with someone else’s profits.

Can we really appreciate an Ivy-League educated woman who encourages the youth of our nation to become social workers rather than financially successful and independent builders of our economy? There’s nothing wrong with social workers, we need them. But we have a much greater need for investment and productivity in our industry. The bottom line is that when business is successful, the economy booms, jobs are created, government revenues are high and the total need for social workers to nurture the unfortunates of our society is reduced.

Is it possible that a candidate for President who is also Harvard educated and who purports to have taught Constitutional law would blithely assert that he would seek Supreme Court justices who would rule with empathy and feeling rather than according to the law? And, other than the astute Mr. Will we don’t find probing interviewers expressing wide-eyed disbelief at the absurdity of such a proposal. We’ve actually got a populace that thinks that would be a good thing.

Did Sen. Obama honestly suggest that we would be benefitted by pharmaceutical companies “giving up their profits?” What motivation would he substitute for research, investment, hard-work and marketing of effective remedies? Yet, the unwashed nod their heads in bumbling agreement at the concept that profit is evil.

There is a lot more in Mr. Will’s pithy piece, but it is written in formal English of the sort that so few American voters still bother to read. Why apply logic when you’ve got audacity of hope?


Brigid said...

So perfectly and beautifully put. I too ponder on such things, and often when I've re-read Atlas Shrugged, a book perhaps meant to be historical but becoming more prophetic as political parties push us towards the Nanny state where the work for the many, and capitalism is considered a crime.

The present state of our nation the political events, and ideals of today are so grotesquely irrational and so disturbingly true to the base points of the book, that it can't be anything else.

If any of you reading this long winded comment haven't read Atlas Shrugged it is a book written decades ago that shows what happens to the world when the men of the mind - the originators and the innovators in every line of rational endeavor - go on strike and vanish, to protest again an altruist-collectivist Society.

There are two key passages in the book that sum it up well. The first is a statement of John Galt:
There is one kind of man who have never been on strike in human history. Every other kind and class have stopped, when they so wished and have presented demands to the world claiming to be indispensable - except the men who have carried the world on their shoulders, have kept it alive, have endured torture as sole payment, but have never walked out on the human race. Well their turn has come. Let the world discover who they are, what they do, and what happens they they refuse to function. This is the strike of the men of the mind, Miss Tagger. This is the mind on strike."

The second passage, which explains the title of the novel is:
"Mr. Rearden, said Francisco, his voice solemnly calm, "if you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders, what you you tell him to do?"
"I. . . I don't know. what . could he do" What would you tell him?"
"To shrug".

My work has value. My mind has value. I won't do it for free, nor will I do it to pay the rent and gas and food of those who aren't welling to put forth their own effort to the best of their own ability. A hard working person, down on their luck, I will help in many ways. But do not ask me to support, through work or taxes or even my time, which has value of it's own, a class of people who only wish to take, because they feel they are owed it for breathing, for crossing the border illegally, or for being a specific race, creed or religion.

I paid over $32,000 last year in taxes, yet got no "tax rebate" this Spring to "stimulate the economy". I made too much. My share went to someone who did not even work last year, and paid no taxes, filing simply to get their handout.

I'm getting the urge to shrug.

Ed Rasimus said...

Billy Beck get me to return to Ayn Rand which I'd read in college (long ago, galaxy far away), and must have embraced, but didn't recall in detail.

Went back a few months ago and reread Atlas Shrugged as well as The Fountainhead. Atlas reads like today done as a period piece.

The '30s and '40s are the stage, but the intellectual vacancy that the government, elitists and grubbing unwashed masses display is pure 21st century.

The abiding fear is that Atlas is indeed shrugging today and the result will be the same bleak, darkening landscape that we read about in Rand's work.

Rage against the darkness, but regardless of the outcome never give in.