31 March 2008

Damn it feels good to be a gangsta

As many of you may have surmised by now, I live in the inner city, in an area which respectable people consider to be a ghetto. While it is not as bad as all that (the ghetto actually begins where the back of my apartment complex ends), it is close enough to be part of the same contiguous neighborhood as the blighted area. I do hear gunfire at night and all of it comes from behind us. Living here sandwiched as I am between two worlds, I believe I have a bit more perspective on the role of class in our society than the average person.

Much of my vitriol so far has been pointed toward the power classes as they carry the influence and pull the levers to potentially screw any and all of us over in this society. However, I do not by any stretch of the imagination acquit the underclass' role in our social crisis today. In many ways the underclass and the elites are two sides of the same coin; they both work hand in hand, and together, to squeeze the little guy in the middle.

You might think this illogical. "The poor are supposed to be the most oppressed and hated members of society!" you cry. That is certainly true of the broken souls at the very bottom - the hobos, the homeless, the mentally ill - for whom no one has any use. But with the rest of the so called lower class, the prevailing attitude is not "Give me a temporary hand up and I will use it to improve my life and the lives of my family," but "Canyouspotmefivedollarmanhuhhuh Ineedfivedollarman???" In short, they are looking not for a hand up, but a hand out. And guess who's more than willing to oblige? Yes, Hillary, I'm talking about you, but not in a good way.

When someone gives you something that is not specifically labeled as a gift, there is an unwritten and implicit assumption that at a future point that act of giving must be reciprocated on your part, either through directly paying back what you were given (as in a loan) or by returning the favor in kind. This gives the person a sort of power over you, until the item or act given can be repaid.

The powerful know this, and understand mightily that this the basis by which human liberty is extinguished.

In a free market, items are traded amongst market players constantly, as each individual human has different needs and wants. Each transaction is a direct trade - person A gets what he wants (say, a loaf of bread) from person B who is either remunerated directly (through cash) or through the intercession of person C who provides the goods with which to repay person B (a loan). If person B decides to borrow from person C, then person B is in debt (words do mean things) to person C. If person B defaults on his debt, person C can pursue remedies that are not too pleasant to person B - garnishment of income and/or assets, etc. But this is all only limited to tangible goods, and at no points are implicit rights such as the right to life violated. One could say that person B is pursuing his liberty by not repaying person C. However, that would be an abridgment of person C's liberty, as his possessions essentially have been stolen from him without compensation. Property rights are also rights, too, and are as important as all the other natural rights.

The same works in political markets, i.e. socialism, only far more perversely. The poor are considered 'needy' by virtually every thinking person today. (Of course poor folk in this country live like kings compared to poor folk in, say, Zimbabwe, land of 100,000% annual inflation and rampant starvation, but we'll save this politically inconvenient story for another blog post.) Someone (usually a True Bleeding Heart Believer Liberal Collectivist) cries out over this 'injustice.' The economically powerful (and not so powerful) sociopaths who form the backbone of fascism, whose desire to control their fellow man is quite limited by the free structure of capitalism, sense an opportunity, since they are above all things snakes.

Thus the welfare state was birthed - the desire of the True Believers and the moocher souls among us to 'help the poor' coupled with the elite's desire to "tax and tax, and spend and spend, and elect and elect", in the immortal words of Harry Hopkins.

The poor, many of whom have only a sparing desire to labor anyway (why do you think they are poor?), are greatly benefited materially by this action. The politicians are pleased as they have magically created a new, loyal, and constantly growing constituency out of nothing. The politicians find that the more benefits are increased and expanded to include more people, the larger their base of support grows. This of course gets no complaint from the new beneficiaries, save the taxpayers who have to pay for it all. Of course when the resource has been tapped a little ways, why not go the whole hog?

Soon enough, as more and more people accept the fruits of the system, the capture rate increases to the point where it encompasses the majority of the population (as it does today). And then the chances for liberty have been extinguished. When everyone has a stake in the continued existence of the vampire State, any and all crimes, destruction, erosion of liberties and rights committed by the State can be readily swept under the rug, with the help of a little convenient doublethink as circumstances demand. The elites get the support of the system's dependents with their votes and a free reign to do what they please, the bourgeoisie hangers-on to the ruling class get to share in the booty (if they play nice, of course), and the taxpayer who pays for it all - the working man, who have no claim or 'need' against society which to present - gets screwed.

Through it all, the underclass are the greatest supporters of the State. Sure, they constantly complain and whine, but that is only because they have come to expect a constantly growing basket of subsidies, so that the pot is never large enough. Otherwise they are unthinking, unfeeling dolts who only become politically aware when their welfare checks arrive late in the mail. They do not protest (much) the government's horrific law enforcement related policies (such as the so-called war on drugs) toward their numbers because they have no real political opinions. They have no political opinions because from a very real standpoint, they cannot. All their needs are provided for by Papa State. To question or oppose that which has power of life and death over you, which can deprive your method of sustenance in an instant, is impossible.

(This is the real reason why public employees under classified civil service protection are barred from contributing to political campaigns. To potentially demonstrate a separate mind from that of your direct benefactor is highly embarrassing to that entity.)

To question the legitimacy or policies of the State is tantamount to threatening the livelihood of the underclass and, by extension, their very existence. But it is a trade-off which the lower classes dutifully accept, in sheep-like fashion, being bereft of independent thought and manner. Notice how when the underclass do become politically involved, it is always in support of the political gang/faction which seeks to expand social benefits the greatest amount?

Conversely, they oppose elite enriching State activities such as warfare - not because they oppose war on moral grounds as the evil monstrosity it is, but because it might reduce the amount of available money which can be spent on their pension checks. In any case, many children of poor families go straight into the military after school. Why not? Hell, it's an easy government job (once boot camp is done with) with lots of benefits. Of course, you might have to engage in a little mass murder from time to time, but hey, you take the good with the bad, eh?

The welfare classes possess no work skills or discipline, having been absolved of the need to develop a sense of responsibility since all is taken care of, as if in a romantic paradise. Their sense of empathy toward other living human beings is extinguished, since by having no true concept of the value of tangible items (as in how much time and effort, through working, was required to be able to afford something), they cannot assign much value to intangible things which do not carry a price tag, such as life itself.

I once visited a state welfare office here as part of a work-related tour of local public facilities. The presentation given to us by its eager staff, and the manner of its presentation, was highly instructive. Apparently now it is easier to apply for, and receive, welfare benefits than it is to mail a package through the wonderfully efficient USPS, or renew a driver's license at that paragon of customer service, the DMV. They are always so happy to help you obtain your food stamps, your disability check, or your benefits for 'needy' families!

In short, the underclass are part of the whole system structured by the elites to bleed us dry. No one thinks of the true forgotten man - the man who has to pay for it all, through taxation and its ugly cousin inflation, whose life is made less pleasant and more bare by the depredations of a depraved elite who live large off the public purse, their white collar cousins who benefit via the power of government contract, and the morass of morons at the bottom who get something out of it, too - not much, but it buys their support and permits them to live their barren, empty lives the way they please - idle and dessicate.

Of course we all would like to live a permanent vacation and get a free ride. But there is no such thing as a free lunch. Ever.

Most people know this, and try to live their lives the best they can given the talents and opportunities available to them. Others just like to loaf around, let others do the heavy lifting for them, and then use naked power (the barrel of a gun) to extract the 'surplus' by force.

Deep down inside the hearts of men it is understood that a free lunch in life is ultimately impossible, but doublethink removes that inconvenient fact from the fascist mind for one more day. However, the piper always has to pay - maybe not today, but eventually the time to pay must come. That day is coming very soon. When it finally arrives, we are all fucked.