Monday, June 24, 2013

Nice parable about the insidious nature of welfare statism

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There was a chemistry professor in a large University that had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab, the professor noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back and stretching as if his back hurt.The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back.

He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his country's government and install a new communist regime. In the midst of his story, he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked: "Do you know how to catch wild pigs?"

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line.

The young man said that it was no joke. "You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the bush and putting wheat on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come every day to eat the free wheat. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming.  When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the wheat again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side.  The pigs, which are used to the free wheat, start to come through the gate to eat that free wheat again.  You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free wheat. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the bush for themselves, so they accept their captivity."

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening in Australia . The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free wheat out in the form of programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tax exemptions, unmarried mothers support, carers income support, payments to illegal immigrants, welfare, medicine, drugs, etc, while we continually lose our freedoms, just a little at a time.

One should always remember two truths:  There is no such thing as a free lunch, and you can never hire someone to provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself.

If you see that all of this wonderful government "help" is a problem confronting the future of democracy in Australia , you might want to send this on to your friends.

If you think the free ride is essential to your way of life, then you will probably delete this email.

BUT, God help us all when the gate slams shut!

Source: Unknown. This was emailed to me and a search for the author demonstrated that its widely distributed. Please aid authors by providing citations to your material. I know that it take a certain level of skill to understand, but it takes something else to be original, so I'd prefer to cite if possible.

My concern with this parable is that its not clear enough for some people. Here was a response by someone to this email.
"Good email. I think that the pure weight of numbers is going to make us become more socialistic (China ,India, Indonesia..3-4 billion).I think it will be in more diluted form of socialism...One that can get things done more quickly......a government that has a Northern Australia ..not so much bureaucracy!"
There is good and bad in this reply. It is true that the extortion-based imposition of representative democracy is bad for society. That is why socialists love representative democracy, calling themselves 'social democrats' or 'democratic socialists'. If you were thinking these people were 'softer socialists' or 'diluted' friendly versions, then you simply don't appreciate the tyranny involved. When a group of people, whether democrats or gang bangers resort to the use of force, or even the threat of force, then its extortion, and it does not have to be violent. This is the basis of our political system. If they are 'dilute' or 'soft', its because they don't have the confidence to more brazenly impose their will. Rest assured there will come a day when people like me are not going to speak out in fear. We will instead be more concerned about protecting our life rather than simply our wealth, friendships or career, as we are inevitably going to isolate ourselves for retaining convictions. I actually don't think emerging markets are a threat to the West as much as the West is a threat to itself. Asia is very prosperous and they are far less tragic in some respects than the West. They have a far  more tragic legacy; but they are quickly shaking that legacy off, and embracing the opportunities presented. The issue is whether exposure to Western culture is going to exposure them to better thinking, and sadly the answer is sadly 'No'.
The good news is that many people are bypassing education and learning on their own initiative, simply because they know their state education is bad, and Western education is unaffordable. This deinstitutionalisation of education is a good thing because it means people are being motivated by their interests, goals, and curiosity. It means they are more likely to be exposed to different views; particularly if they are debating people on social media. In the state universities however, they will be told what the facts are according to the state.
This feedback comes from a 'conservative' voter. He superficially values the 'expediency' of government. Yes, governments can impressively marshal resources and make decisions, but look at the results. In the first instance, they have stolen the money, and given that they have acted with haste in order to create the superficial impression that they are responsive to the taxpayers needs, and to show they are 'people of action', they inevitably drive through poor policy that, not simply wastes the money, but causes more problems than were originally there. There are too many examples. I think you could probably look at 90% of government policies or executive decisions and conclude it would have been better if nothing were done, whether its:
1. Taking Australian aboriginal children from their homes and fostering them out to white families. There was no research into the impact; it was a 'practical decision', that seemed so 'self-evidently' right in the midst of an intellectual vacuum.
2. Subsidies for solar panels in Australia that resulted in shoddy installations, price escalation trumping the subsidy. This was the case with heat pumps as well. A heat pump ($3000) is a glorified 'reverse' refrigerator ($1000), so offering a subsidy is just exporting money whilst the subsidy is claimed by installers who perform shoddy service with poorly trained staff because they struck a gold mine with government systematic extortion.

In this case the respondent is impressed with efforts by the Australian government to boost development in North Australia. Why? Clearly because they like the 'self-evident' look of progress. What is missing is the understanding of the context. The context is that resources are going into 'Northern Australia' at the expense of more productive investment elsewhere. Of course, 'you cannot have your cake and eat it too', and more can you compare the impacts of the two 'spending alternatives', and nor would you even notice the difference. One is inclined to see these issues in isolation unless you conceptually appreciate that:
1. There are a limited amount of financial resources
2. The fact that a development proceeds, i.e. plants and infrastructure is built, that the fares for the train ride are cheap; this simply does not make it a 'good investment'. Those projects have to sustain themselves by offering a return to build other projects, otherwise we simply suffer a sustained recession for years until the long-suffering taxpayer's financial resources rebuild.

Now, in the case of Northern Australia, the various governments have committed to building railways, fibre optic connections, new port infrastructure, even though there is an oversupply of resources worldwide. The paradox is that there are small resource companies starved on capital and being taken over by multi-nationals for the 'sin' of being marginalised by government tax concessions on superannuation and small investors who think for themselves. The UK government belatedly recognises its folly, but rather than fixing the problem, it decides to offer small investors tax concessions. This is how the world works under statism. It does not even require state intervention; it just requires state statutes which manipulate conduct, which ultimately result in the 'dumbing down' of people, the suspension of thinking, and ultimately the outsourcing of what it means to be human.
So I say there is nothing more dangerous than a 'government with a plan' because it was in all likelihood conceived in an attempt to appeal to the unthinking mob, the government will carry no responsibility since they are not a counterparty, and they legally bear no responsibility anyway, unless there is a vote in placing more burden upon you as a taxpayer. You sure as hell don't feel responsible, as you might not have known; you might not have even been around in the 1950s when aboriginal children were 'stolen' (i.e. The Stolen Generation).
The least offensive aspect of government is the unproductive bureaucrats you can count, its the mess that you don't, and its your mental suspension that you don't even perceive because you can't comprehend what it means to be a conceptual critical thinker, unless you were one. This knowledge is not something that you need to read in a book; you can create yourself, just as the guy living on welfare can create himself. All he needs is the compulsion of being responsible for his own life. Humans need to see responsibility as being the engine of initiative, and a government's actions as 'theft' for stealing that initiative. Perhaps its about time that a welfare recipient sued government ministers for 'stealing their initiative', their value proposition which underpins their humanity, their capacity and desire to think. Given them back that responsibility, and you give them the pride of place. Not your place, and not relative to you, but the pride in being the best person they can be in the context of their circumstances, and the pride of not depending on others to sustain that life. Not relying on others in the first instance, or any sense of guilt they might begrudgingly offer, but respectfully renouncing any sense of entitlement or claim to the lives of others. I think people might be surprised by the generosity of people who have 'earnt their disposition', whether it is good or bad. Whether people's response is fair or tragic, ultimately its fairness is a question of values. Life-affirming or life-negating, there are simply too many people who don't understand human nature, you would have us living off some government and neglecting to see what those 'underwriters' of government depend upon for their survival. Neglecting to see the sanction that governments depend upon to extort the wealth they attain by force.

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