|Eco-Sacrifice is Closer Than You Think||In Old Europe The Real Problem is Fear|
by Christopher Chantrill
April 10, 2006 at 12:17 am
HOW ABOUT THIS British family from hell? Their 14 year old daughter Leighanne recently got arrested for drinking and driving--and it was her second offense. How did the precocious Leighanne respond to her sentencing, as reported by the Daily Mail on April 1, 2006? She threw a water carafe at the magistrate and pushed her learned counsel. Outside the courtroom the truculent youngster threw eggs at reporters.
In the Spectator the following week we learned additional details. Her parents, Nora and Maurice, were both drawing disability pensions. Nora and Maurice are on benefits on account of his cancer and angina and her lung trouble and high blood pressure.
In Britain, according to James Bartholomew in The Welfare State Were In, there are about 2.7 million people on invalidity benefit. That is three times the number of unemployed, about nine percent of the workforce. There is a pretty obvious reason why there should be so many people disabled. Its the money. The weekly benefit for invalidity can be about $315. With both the Blacks incapacitated, that could amount to $2,650 per month. Given that in Britain health care is on the NHS you can see why the Blacks might choose money-for-nothing rather than the indignity of work.
Its a pity that such a delicious story was ginned up by the British as an April Fool.
We should only wish that Charles Murrays latest idea was as harmless. He proposes in his new book In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State to give $10,000 per year to everyone in America over 21, provided that we each use a part of it to secure health insurance. This money-for-nothing would replace all present government pension programs, from Social Security to Medicare to Welfare to Disability Insurance.
Murray seems to think that his money-for-nothing would revive social spirit and neighborliness in the American people. More likely it would encourage truculent families from hell imagined with such verisimilitude by the British April Foolers, for Murrays plan would do nothing to restore the social ties that the welfare state has sundered. It is merely a mechanical shifting of resources. It does nothing to encourage the little platoons.
To be attached to the subdivision, to love the little platoon we belong to in society, Burke famously asserted at the end of the eighteenth century, is the first principle (the germ as it were) of public affections. The ordinary people of Britain and the United States took him at his word, and by the end of the nineteenth century had built an astonishing army of little platoons despite, or perhaps because of, the vast transformation of the industrial revolution. They inaugurated new religious sects and built churches, they built a vast network of fraternal and mutual-aid associations, and out on the frontier of America they wrote their own laws, eventually engrossed into the United States Code in the Homestead Act of 1862 and federal mining law. They even achieved 90 percent literacy before compulsory government education.
But then the Progressives and Fabians came along and transformed the political culture of the Anglosphere. They promoted vast schemes of government regulation and social benefits to correct the poverty and want they saw around them. What ordinary people had provided for in their little platoons could now be obtained as money-for-nothing from government programs.
The result has been the family from hell and the plague of truculence, the epidemic of people freed from the culture of obligation in the little platoon. The truculent are everywhere: rioting French students, unionized government teachers, angry left netroots, and tenured Harvard professors. They are all convinced of their entitlement.
How does Murrays plan change that? His plan still offers money-for-nothing, if mercifully freed from the dead hand of liberal government bureaucracy.
The plague of truculence and families from hell will not be ended by a magic $10,000 vaccine. It will be reversed by reviving the little platoons that bind people to each other in face-to-face obligation.
We should pay attention to the example of the Progressives. They were middle-class people born to a competence, their lives freed from the spur of necessity. They found that they needed something more than mere material abundance to bring meaning to their lives. They found it in work, working for a movement to transform America.
If you want your life to matter then you must matter to other lives. You will find that you matter when you enlist in a little platoon and enter the web of mutual obligation, of giving and receiving. You will not find it with money-for-nothing.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie
that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust
Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up
rather than learns... Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois
We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.
E. G. West, Education and the State
When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of agesthey seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990
When we received Christ, Phil added, all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh
A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is merely relative, is asking you not to believe him. So dont.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy
As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable...
[1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006
At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing
But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family.
Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit
Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says we should....
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity
Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism