Thursday, June 26, 2008

Despair For The Republic

On August 24, 1963, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev remarked in a speech in Yugoslavia, "I once said, 'We will bury you,' and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you", a reference to the Marxist saying, "The proletariat is the undertaker of capitalism"; a popular articulation of the inevitable progression of class struggle towards communism.

That’s from Wikipedia, a source for lazy college students and folks requiring reinforcement of their poorly reasoned opinions. Occasionally, they offer pearls. That chunk is one of them.

They didn’t bury us then. They collapsed. We overwhelmed them with technology, productivity, innovation and competitive capitalism. We grew a middle-class, a category that Marx hadn’t foreseen. The workers were simultaneously the owners and held a vested interest in success both for their company and for themselves. In the process, our workers eschewed the heavy hand of Communist party leadership and thrived on challenge. But, as they say, that was then.

Inexorably the dynamic has shifted. Slowly, drip by drip, the erosion of socialist concepts has under-mined the foundations of our society. Concepts that were once antithetical to hard-working Americans are now inculcated in the youth. The media, the politics, the impact of liberal academia, the saturation in welfare-state thinking has them indoctrinated thoroughly.

I see it every day as I read the postings of my government students in the online courses I’m teaching this semester. The unquestioning acceptance of corruption, evil-doing, entitlement, government dependence, and suspicion of America as the great evil in the world. It’s all there.

Want to check? Ask your teen-ager or college student some simple questions.

“What determines the minimum wage?” You’ll get references to cost of living, poverty levels, maintaining a family of four and federal law. What you won’t get is a clear statement that it should be determined by the value of the contribution of the labor. You won’t get “what a willing worker and a willing employer agree to.”

“What’s the first word that comes to mind when I say ‘politician’” You’ll get crook, liar, corrupt, and similar derogatory terms. But you won’t get public servant, representative, citizen, leader or any recognition of the literally thousands who give of themselves in an attempt to build a better community in all levels of government.

“What has caused gasoline prices to skyrocket?” You’ll get speculators, “Big Oil”, Bush-Cheney and their friends, greed, and more. How about rising demand from China and India and the developing world? Any recognition of the damage caused by well-meaning but ill-conceived legislative prohibitions on drilling or construction of new refineries or the boycotting of nuclear power generation? Maybe a consideration of regional instability among oil producing countries? And don’t even go into the unintended consequences of ethanol mandates. None of that is allowed.

“Who should pay for your health care?” Of course, the answer will be the government. Like well trained little automatons they intone the platitude of it being the right of every American to have adequate health care. How should it be paid for? The government should pay for it, just like they do Medicare and Medicaid. “Do you know how Medicare is funded?” No recognition that all workers contribute from their pay-checks to support those over sixty-five in this program. Apparently the belief is that the government simply will create health care by printing more money.

The deeply held conviction is that business is evil. That profit is not good. That government is the dispenser of all beneficence. In simpler words, the essence of Marxism.

Don’t even go near questions like who should be involved in defense of this country. Suffice to say it usually isn’t any of them. And if you really want to watch eyes roll up into their heads, see what they know about income tax. The nuances of the progressive rate structure and how it eats up success totally escape them. All they want is that economic stimulus check without recognition of the fact that it is simply the money from their left pocket being moved to their right.

Maybe the most shocking, at least for someone like me who has achieved a modicum of success and done so without inheritance or public assistance, is the unquestioning acceptance of the concept of equality of wealth as a government goal. Yes, the idea that people in America can be too successful and therefore government should take from them and dispense to those who are failing. Income equity is not a utopian ideal for me.

I’m one of those old dinosaurs who even awards C, D and F grades in class. My self-esteem benefits from it. The student’s self-esteem rises if they are rewarded for hard work but not otherwise. What a concept!

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