This morning — sorry it’s a late one, I ended up having to take an anti histamine to breathe enough to sleep, and it always leaves me feeling hungover — the news pushed on my screen was about “income inequality, a problem that concerns people around the world.”
I have a question for the audience: WHY?
Why does income inequality or indeed any inequality concern people around the world or around the block, or down the street?
Can you give me a reasonable reason? Or a reason that makes any sense?
When I ask this of any people who are not steeped in politics, their answer seems to be “because in South American countries there are the rich and the starving and nothing in between, and we’re becoming like that.”
We are? According to whom? Sure, the vaunted 1% has a lot more than the rest of us, but where are the starving multitudes who are in need of a crumb to eat, while billionaires circle the world in jets? Where are the ragged children starving in the streets, while we party?
Nowhere, that’s where. Sure, there’s need in America, but that need is more often than not the result of individual choices, of a need for drugs or alcohol, or simply an inability to plan. The dismantling of our mental health system, because people decided that being crazy was a result of “capitalism” (having swallowed Soviet Agit Prop whole) has more to do with the homeless crisis than any inequality or poverty. Hell, most of our poverty has to do with mental health issues and a government that makes it easy to featherbed while you unlearn all the habits of the industrial revolution.
Habits? Of the industrial revolution? Yeah. One of the most obvious refutations that inability to function in the modern world is genetic and racial is that time-keeping and the ability to work to the clock are strictly a function of how early or late a country had an industrial revolution.
Work, saving, a bourgeois structure of values is learned. Machines forced people to pay attention to time. Farming while back breaking was far less careful about being on time or doing things perfectly. And there was a time that Germans were considered slovenly and slapdash (don’t believe me? Read the original sources) and then the industrial revolution happened.
It hit Mediterranean countries far later and before it took full root, it was met by the anti-industrial counter revolution, which we are in the mid of.
And if you say that there is a vast underclass who will never be able to work again, because of automation, we can’t be friends anymore. That is an obvious and pushed excuse for bigger government plans and more people held in vote farm reservations, while being made unfit for all work.
At the same time that the left — who might actually believe this bullsh*t since they love to imagine themselves superior, and what’s more “superior” than being the “intellectuals” in a world that needs no other form of labor — has been running around with its head on fire screaming “the robots are taking our jobs” every retail store has a sign asking people to apply. A friend this week confirmed that the crisis I saw in the eighties, where we had trouble finding anyone (I worked retail for 2 years) to come and work and keep hours, and heck pick up their paycheck is now full blown. Finding people who will work and not do crazy things, and keep schedule is almost impossible. Automated checkouts and such are almost a self-defense against the fact you can’t find enough willing workers.
The biggest problem in people finding and keeping work is the inability to follow a schedule and obey orders. The industrial revolution is being undone, but as we know, the industrial revolution’s virtues can be taught. They were, before, to a bunch of malnourished peasants.
The other thing we know for an absolute fact is that if people marry, stay married, and work, no matter how menial the work, neither they nor their families will starve. None of them will live (long) in unheated houses, or lack a coat in winter. Sure, all of us hit rough patches at times — and both Dan and I have professions that lend themselves to what Kim du Toit called “chicken or feathers” i.e. huge highs and lows — but the only people who stay mired in a lack of essentials have reasons other than “inequality.”
In fact inequality is never a reason for any social pathology, other than rampant envy.
I’ve been dead broke, and Dan and I would drive our beater car over to a scenic neighborhood, and eat sandwiches while enjoying the beautiful houses, and gardens. I wasn’t envious of them. Sure, I liked those houses and wouldn’t mind having one, but I didn’t want to expel anyone from his great house (our neighborhood now, I noticed, looks much like that one without the lakes) because they hadn’t taken the house from me. I could enjoy the side benefits of their wealth without wanting them brought down and despoiled. (I am in shock none of them ever called the police, thinking we were casing the area. Eh.)
Just because someone has more than you it doesn’t follow they’re bad people, or that they owe you anything.
Sure this would apply in certain places in the medieval ages and in a lot of other agricultural, closed societies, where to have more, you had to extort it from your fellow villagers, because agriculture was subsistence, no more.
But in the real wide world, economics is not a closed pie. We are now immeasurably richer, all of us, than anyone in the middle ages. A young man growing up in a poor family is now dressed — in comfort, looks, etc — better than Solomon in all his glory. He likely has heat in winter, he has a refrigerator, he has access to antibiotics, things the great kings of Persia would kill for (okay, more air conditioning). He has access to fruits and vegetables out of season which as little ago as the Victorian age required an orangery and people to tend the plants.
What should he care if people have way more than him? Even if he doesn’t understand that with wealth comes work. (Something I realized when — without being in any way wealthy as it’s defined — we made double what we make now. You end up having to spend a lot of it to purchase back just… time. Time to be yourselves and enjoy doing nothing meant cleaners, accountants, and a lot of going out to eat.) If he has enough, what should matter to him that other people have more?
What should it matter to him even if America’s wealth-system were rigid? (It’s not. The 1% cycle in and out.)
Does he live well enough, and work at something? I can see people want more (and thank heavens. I do too. Wanting more is the engine of progress as we make/scrape/invent) but you don’t need more. And what other people have is ultimately none of your business, nor a reflection on their characters. (Yes, the parable of the rich man. You can interpret it in so many ways starting with “their world was not ours” and ending with “attachment to material things meant he had no time for spirituality” (see my observation above) but note that at no time does it say someone should be despoiled of his wealth against his will, or that someone else was ENTITLED to it.)
But the entire edifice of Marxism, from high to low, from the fury of the Russian revolution to the latest SJW bleating about pico-aggressions all of it comes from this idea that people should be equal, and if they’re not equal someone is stealing from someone else.
Native talent, native interest, ambition, willingness to work hard and give up other things starting with free time and ending with health, none of it counts for anything. To the left humans leave the womb as widgets, and the function of the state is to ensure no widget has more than another.
This is why “inequality” is a problem that worries THE LEFT around the world. At least so long as the inequality is NOT between party apparatchiks and right thinkers and everyone else who should be kept in miserable poverty for their own good, so they don’t exploit others.
I’ve said for a long time that the left has one huge advantage: the press that promulgates these narratives. But they have another: endless “institutes” and “organizations” that do studies on things like “inequality.”
Not only are the conclusions cooked, but the fact studies are done teaches those who don’t think about it that, in fact, there MUST be a problem. Otherwise why would “they” do a study.
We need to learn to counter that by pointing out a lot of these “studies” are done on nothing that is a problem, and the intent is to create a world where the left gets to reign supreme, pushing its idea of how things should be.
The government cannot make us equal, unless it makes us all equally poor and dead. Nor is there any reason why it should.
Humans are individuals.
I can see caring for the poor, and trying to help those less fortunate (we do, often to our detriment) because I want people to have what they need to live, and I want children to have what they need to thrive. That’s a personal decision, and I pay for it as for other personal decisions.
But wanting everyone to be made equal is NOT caring for the poor.
It is the scream of the envious child, who can’t stand that others have better toys, and is furious he/she doesn’t get to control all the toys and who gets to play.
It is the unlovely toddler scream of “But I want!” raised against the world, its fury filling millions of mass graves.
And it is enough. It is time to meet their whining, stomping of feet and screaming, their studies, propaganda and threats, their violence and revolutions with one firm word: No.
No, you cannot dictate that everyone be equal. No, you don’t have right to what others have. No you don’t get to tell me what to do.
No. Learn to live like an adult and stop threatening to hold your breath. No one cares anymore.
People are tired of your long, extended tantrum. That’s why you got Trump. You’ll get far worse than Trump if you don’t stop it. And those of us who also have to live here would prefer we don’t go down that path.
Go to your room, shut up, and learn how to do something productive, instead of destructive.
“The poor” don’t need you. “Women” don’t need you. “People of color” don’t need you.
No one needs your patronizing and offensive “advocacy.”
What we need is for you to get off your butt and learn to create and work and do.