Monday, May 31, 2010

Mark Steyn paraphrases Garth Brooks

"I'm much too young to feel this damn old." -- Garth Brooks

"We're [much] too broke to be this stupid." -- Mark Steyn

What a fantastic article by Steyn. He just crushes it.

How did the Western world reach this point? Well, as my correspondent put it, we assumed that we were rich enough that we could afford to be stupid. In any advanced society, there will be a certain number of dysfunctional citizens either unable or unwilling to do what is necessary to support themselves and their dependents. What to do about such people? Ignore the problem? Attempt to fix it? The former nags at the liberal guilt complex, while the latter is way too much like hard work ...

So the easiest “solution” to the problem is to throw public money at it. ...

That works for a while. ... When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the modern British welfare state in 1942, his goal was the “abolition of want.” Sir William and his colleagues on both sides of the Atlantic succeeded beyond their wildest dreams: to be “poor” in the 21st-century West is not to be hungry and emaciated but to be obese, with your kids suffering from childhood diabetes.

When Michelle Obama turned up to serve food at a soup kitchen, its poverty-stricken clientele snapped pictures of her with their cellphones. In one-sixth of British households, not a single family member works. They are not so much without employment as without need of it.

Now, I work with (or on behalf of, usually) men who, from a Western perspective, are destitute. They're homeless, they've suffered all kinds of abuse for year, and they lack the skills to escape their poverty through most kinds of jobs.

And yet I realize that a huge reason why they remain in their poverty is due to their poor choices: what they do with their money and how they act. They're about as off the grid as someone can get in modern America, but if they behaved differently their situations wouldn't be as dire as they are.

Whose fault is that, and who should be responsible for remedying it?