Growing up in the 1960’s and Seventies, you get the Blue Social model at it’s height and strongest. Yet something went badly wrong. Here in the US, in Europe and in in Japan.
Mr. Greenfield is right about most of this except for one thing. The US got to the end game first, not second and then lost it’s mind. Think young Bernie Sanders. I don’t know how old Mr. Greenfield is but I remember the lunacy of the 1970’s. The big problem was that modernism has a cost. While everybody was rushing as fast as they could to see how much good they do for people, they forgot the people they were taking from. This is hardly a new thing. It’s SO easy to do good with other people’s money. If maybe more people paid attention to Charles Sumner.
The big thing about the Blue model is that the people who believe in it probably don’t actually have to experience it. They relate to studies like this one where it’s filled with surveys filled with answers from people who want to make the survey sound good. What so many of the those studies don’t understand is that when taking those surveys, there is a built in bias because people want to make the survey a success. So they give the answers they think will make the survey look good. Which ends in results like this.
The real answer to whether people actually believe in the future is how many kids they are having. Which is not what is happening. Globally, in just about every nation, birthrates are down. It’s become so serious a problem that in Denmark, supposedly the happiest place on earth short of Disneyland, according to the study above, the birthrate is 1.75 and they are making ads trying to get families to make babies.
The problem is that the welfare state doesn’t deliver what people really want. People don’t want free stuff handed to them, they want their own stuff they have earned. I think that deep down, people understand that free stuff comes from somebody else. They understand the value of working for something and the feeling of victory when they achieve it. They seem to understand subconsciously that the welfare state may not have a future and stop having kids. Of course there’s the additional burden of having to carry the welfare state on their backs, something the pointy headed intellectuals don’t seem to understand.
Why is the welfare state under attack when happiness economics shows it is the system most conducive to human wellbeing?
Bread and circuses for the proles? It’s a strange article, from my viewpoint, but I understand that Denmark is a tribe of Danskers, all related. Quite alien to America or current American values. Perhaps child-like. I am certain that it was not written satirically. Where does this guy think that things and money come from?
Most hard workers I have known find dignity in work and do not find any work degrading or “commodifying.” In fact, it is “getting free stuff” which is degrading and humilating. And what about the ambitious, the self-employed, the farmers, the self-sacrificing, the doers and makers and builders? Where do they fit in? How do you “give” a farmer or a doctor or a plumber or a writer a family leave or a six-week vacation?
I hope Americans do not aspire to bovine contentment, but instead to challenge, difficulty, and self-reliance. The only people happy to live on the dole, as I see it, are sociopaths and moochers taking advantage of their neighbors. OK, some deeply mentally-disturbed or profoundly brain-impaired people without families to care for them.
The people that came up with the welfare state were by and large wealthy European aristocrats who never had the experience of having to work for a living. It’s no surprise that they have no problems taking stuff from others and giving it away, that’s what their families had been dong for generations. The intellectual class that came along later followed the ideas because they hadn’t had the experience of working for a living either other than working to get into the Ivy Covered Snob Factories, an activity that starts early in life, is funded by indulgent and ambitious parents and forces you to exist in a bubble. Not a life that gives you a solid grounding in reality.
It’s easy to come up with better ways to give to “D” when you are a taker yourself. Especially when the “Ds” give you their votes for the favor. You can see the ever greater numbers of elaborate plans and ideas to make society better. It’s always more housing, more free stuff, more spending. People are starving, don’t you know. Just listening to the radio you hear the constant stream of government propaganda and ads for this and that government programs. What you never hear is about how it will all be paid for, because that’s “C’s” responsibility.
But the “Cs” out there, the people that make stuff, grow stuff and make the economy move see the robbery. And they don’t see their part in the future. There is a general malaise throughout the culture. People are not cattle. They will change their behavior in response to conditions they cannot change. They can’t save money and start families. women have to work to maintain the standard of living that they are used to. They are forced to live week to week and prospects for improvement don’t seem to exist. So by and large people don’t have kids.
Which in essence is the entire culture going Galt. Which is what’s happening to the Blue model all over the planet. If you really look at how things are going, it’s not hard to understand why. In the end you can’t give away happiness. Happiness is something that everybody pursues with their own efforts. Misery, on the other hand is all too easy to create. A little oppression here, a little tax farming there, and some income redistribution and shortly thereafter, you get just unending misery, tons of it. Talk to somebody from the former Soviet Union. The people that came up with the Blue Model don’t understand that they are just creating misery and the rest of us are just stuck with it.
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