In Jim Cook's Archive


Writing about the decay of the American character (and culture), Charles J. Sykes tells us, “Something extraordinary is happening in American society. Crisscrossed by invisible trip wires of emotional, racial, sexual and psychological grievance, American life is increasingly characterized by the plaintive insistence, I am a victim…the mantra of the victims is the same: I am not responsible, it’s not my fault.”

The left has promoted massive subsidies and runaway social programs that encourage this mindset. People believe they deserve something for nothing. They believe they are victims. They rationalize a free ride. They are told the playing field isn’t level, that merit is a scam, that values are subjective, that doing nothing is no better or worse than building and creating.

An employer sees it all: the fraudulent unemployment claims, the refusal to work, the unwillingness to do extra; the bogus lawsuits. Spurred by large legal awards, more and more people look for ways to sue, and depict themselves as victims.

Left-wing social policies sicken our behavior and corrupt our culture. People bend principles and sacrifice integrity to get as much as they can from the government. Giveaway programs encourage every imaginable sort of cheating and dishonesty. Wheeling and dealing in food stamps is a way of life. Lying and fraud are commonplace. Whenever you’re dependent on the money, the end justifies the means.

Many people enrolled in one government program or another work part time for cash at either a legitimate job or illegal activity. By taking payments in cash, they don’t show any income and can maintain their benefits. The numbers of people working the system this way are legion.

Money dispersed without any requirement to earn it seems to set off a defensive reaction wherein the recipients claim a right to the money, almost like a state pensioner or a person who has purchased an annuity. It creates an attitude problem. A friend tells of sitting in a doctor’s office when an unemployed man became insulted because he was asked if he worked. He angrily emphasized that he would never work.

A certain segment of the population will always succumb to the lure of a free ride. When a bad back became a way to secure long-term workmen’s compensation benefits, the number of bad backs per capita went through the roof. Payments to those who can’t find work will snare many who can find work. Subsidies carry incentives that encourage more of the rewarded behavior. Payments for unemployment spread unemployment. Payments to alleviate poverty spread poverty.

Free health care provides another example. Hospital emergency rooms are clogged with people with minor or imagined afflictions. Free insurance bids up the costs of health care by increasing demand. It discourages good health and promotes ill health. In 1936, Ludwig von Mises wrote in his book, SOCIALISM, “If the will to be well and efficient is weakened, illness and inability to work is caused…In short, (social health insurance) is an institution which tends to encourage disease, not to say accidents and to intensify considerably the physical and psychic results of accidents and illnesses. As a social institution it makes a people sick bodily and mentally or at least helps to multiply, lengthen and intensify disease.” Free money promoted by the left is a curse on our culture.

Napoleon Hill said it best, “When a majority of the people of any nation give up their inherited prerogative right to make their own way through struggle, history shows clearly that the entire nation is in a tailspin of decay that inevitably must end in extinction.”

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