of Two Outcomes
It may be that
the biggest single problem confronting the liberty-minded is the
existence of a large (and growing) American proletariat. There have
always been poor people, of course. But the proletariat is
distinct from people who are merely lower down on the economic totem
pole or down on their luck.
I am just now
finishing up a book about the Dust Bowl in the 1930s by Timothy
Worst Hard Time. In it, you read of people who endured real
poverty as in, starvation poverty, living in a sod-walled,
dirt-floored dugout in Oklahoma. No electricity
much less TeeVee (let alone a flat-screen TeeVee with Netflix
streaming set up in front of a Rent-a-Center sofa in an air-conditioned
Section 8 apartment with a refrigerator full of EBT-acquired food
). And of how reluctant how ashamed these people
(most of them) were to even ask for government assistance.
And when they did ask, in their utter desperation, all they wanted
was enough help to keep them from literally dying and to
help them get back to work.
muh dat mentality so cancerously pervasive today was all-but-nonexistent
then. People who could work but didnt and lived off
those who did were viewed as pariahs, as maggots.
Even the most penniless sodbuster had moral standards rarely found
today among the affluent middle classes. 1930s Americans had been
raised to believe in a days work for a days pay
and viewed with suspicion and contempt people who didnt work
and yet still demanded a days pay.
take root here then for that reason.
1932, was still heady with the fumes of the late 18th century and
its deeply entrenched notions of individual responsibility (the
corollary of individual rights), thrift, delayed gratification
and self-reliance. Most people wanted to live by the sweat of their
brows, not by the sweat of the brows of others. And the corollary
of that was a similarly entrenched belief system which held
that what you owned was yours by dint of your
hard work. The wealth envy and resentment so commonplace now was
much less in evidence as recently as 80 years ago a mere
generation or two in the rearview mirror.
(that is, communism taking its time) is all around us. We are immersed
now have a proletariat. Millions who want what you
have because you have it and they dont. And
who will use any means available to take it from you.
cannot be reasoned with. They feel, they want
and they hate. Your quaint notions about property rights
being the essential foundation of human rights are like the Latin
scrolls of Cicero trampled underfoot by the hordes of the Germanic
as Rome slipped forever into that long good night.
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columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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