Senior National Correspondent
and George Will
First up is Ed
and George Will
First up is Ed
Do you think the libbers and their cronies will learn anything from this?
I was listening to Rush Limbaugh for a bit today and he replayed an interview with his father from back in 1991 on his dad's 100th birthday. His dad was also celebrating his 75th yr. of practicing law. His dad told some wonderful stories of his growing up on a farm, going to school in a one room schoolhouse and plowing the fields in his early teens with a team (two horses and two mules constituted a team).
Back then there was no government assistance, no unions, and he didn't stop plowing to take lunch or coffee breaks. He was ashamed if he didn't finish what he started plowing that day.
It was an awesome replay and 180 degrees off from todays entitlement crowd who are being taught in schools and convinced by Democrat politicians and the MSM that they can't get ahead by themselves because the system is rigged against them. They're told the only way they can get ahead is with government assistance and intervention and they believe it. They now think they have a constitutional right to everything they'll ever need, from cradle to grave:
Food, healthcare, transportation, cell phones, houses, on and on and on, it doesn't stop. Rush's dad thought that this was stuff people were supposed to try and do for themselves and it was pretty much that way in the country until the Democrats got control and started their social engineering. They promised all kinds of goodies in exchange for a vote and still do.
For at least a couple reasons, this campaign practice is far more insidious than having precinct men hand out cash to buy votes at the polling station.
First, they are aren't using the oppositions cash.
And second, there is no guarantee the the voter, so bribed, will actually vote for their candidate.
On the other hand, the "promise them the moon" campaign tactic of Democrat candidates uses the opposition's cash and guarantees that they will get the vote. In the days when his dad grew up, no one thought the country owed them a living. They were self-reliant and ashamed to take handouts. Now we've reached the tipping point where a majority of the people think they are entitled to the other guys money. This kind of "democracy" will kill our country, just like it killed Detroit.
DETROIT'S DEATH BY DEMOCRACY
DETROIT — In 1860, an uneasy Charles Darwin confided in a letter to a friend: "I had no intention to write atheistically" but "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars." What appalled him had fascinated entomologist William Kirby (1759-1850): The ichneumon insect inserts an egg in a caterpillar, and the larva hatched from the egg, he said, "gnaws the inside of the caterpillar, and though at last it has devoured almost every part of it except the skin and intestines, carefully all this time avoids injuring the vital organs, as if aware that its own existence depends on that of the insect on which it preys!"
Government employees' unions living parasitically on Detroit have been less aware than ichneumon larvae. About them, and their collaborators in the political class, the question is: What. Were. They. Thinking? Well, how did Bernie Madoff or the Enron executives convince themselves their houses of cards would never collapse?
Here, where cattle could graze in vast swaths of this depopulated city, democracy ratified a double delusion: Magic would rescue the city (consult the Bible, the bit about the multiplication of the loaves and fishes), or Washington would deem Detroit, as it recently did some banks and two of the three Detroit-based automobile companies, "too big to fail." But Detroit failed long ago. And not even Washington, whose recklessness is almostlimitless, is oblivious to the minefield of moral hazard it would stride into if it rescued this city and, then inevitably, others that are buckling beneath the weight of their cumulative follies. It is axiomatic: When there is no penalty for failure, failures proliferate.
This bedraggled city's decay poses no theological conundrum of the sort that troubled Darwin, but it does pose worrisome questions about the viability of democracy in jurisdictions where big government and its unionized employees collaborate in pillaging taxpayers. Self-government has failed in what once was America's fourth-largest city and now is smaller than Charlotte, N.C.
Detroit, which boomed during World War II when industrial America was "the arsenal of democracy," died of democracy. Today, among the exculpatory alibis invoked to deflect blame from the political class and the docile voters who empowered it, is the myth that Detroit is simply a victim of "de-industrialization." In 1950, however, Detroit and Chicago were comparable — except Detroit was probably wealthier, as measured by per capita income. Chicago, too, lost manufacturing jobs, to the American South, to south of the border, to South Korea and elsewhere. But Chicago discerned the future and diversified. It is grimly ironic that Chicago's iconic street is Michigan Avenue.
Detroit's population, which is 62 percent smaller than in 1950, has contracted less than the United Auto Workers membership, which was more than 1 million in 1950, and now is around 390,000. Auto industry executives, who often were invertebrate mediocrities, continually bought labor peace by mortgaging their companies' futures in surrenders to union demands. Then city officials gave their employees — who have 47 unions, including one for crossing guards — pay scales comparable to those of autoworkers. Thus did private-sector decadence drive public-sector dysfunction — government negotiating with government-employees' unions that are government organized as an interest group to lobby itself to do what it wants to do: Grow.
Steven Rattner, who administered the bailout of part of the Detroit-based portion of America's automobile industry, says "apart from voting in elections, the 700,000 remaining residents of the Motor City are no more responsible for Detroit's problems than were the victims of Hurricane Sandy for theirs." Congress, he says, should bail out Detroit because "America is just as much about aiding those less fortunate as it is about personal responsibility."
There you have today's liberalism: Human agency, hence responsibility, is denied. Apart from the pesky matter of "voting in elections" — apart from decades of voting to empower incompetents, scoundrels and criminals, and to mandate unionized rapacity — no one is responsible for anything. Popular sovereignty is a chimera because impersonal forces akin to hurricanes are sovereign.
The restoration of America's vitality depends on, among many other things, avoiding the bottomless sinkhole that would be created by the federal government rescuing one-party cities, and one-party states such as Illinois, from the consequences of unchecked power. Those consequences of such power — incompetence, magical thinking, cynicism, and sometimes criminality — are written in Detroit's ruins.
George Will's email address is email@example.com.