Modern social welfare programs and states are failing like a coddled, sheltered Millennial entering Marine Corps boot camp. Like RGIII’s knee in this past weekend’s playoff game. Like liberal Congressman balancing a budget. Like Czar and ‘Puter’s willpower on All You Can Drink Bar Rag Wringings Night at the Leaping Peacock. Like …, well, you get the picture.
|“You should be as ashamed of your actions
as I am of this TracFone I just picked up
Our current social welfare programs bankrupt both their participants (morally) as well as society at large (fiscally). Our welfare programs morally bankrupt their “clients” by, among other things, rewarding women with higher benefits in return for bearing children out of wedlock, despite the fact that families headed by unmarried individuals account for 71% of poverty in the United States. Social welfare financially bankrupts our nation, as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security now use every dollar of non-borrowed revenue the federal government takes in every year, and then some.
We can debate for hours the value of government run welfare programs. ‘Puter, for one, would love to explain the concept of moral hazard to liberal do-gooders who cling to the demonstrably false notion that our welfare system is humane and helpful to its members. In the end, liberals and conservatives will never agree on the extent of the welfare state, though ‘Puter would agree that some form of social welfare is necessary to maintain societal cohesion.
Rather than get into the policy weeds, ‘Puter asks you consider the following question. Why did social welfare systems work fairly well from the 1930s through the late 1960s, both in the United States and in Western Europe?
We can certainly attribute some of Western Europe’s success in the United States’ shouldering the vast majority of Europe’s defense, in essence, providing a multi-trillion dollar subsidy to Western Europe’s nations. With this de facto subsidy, these Western European nations could plow money into their chosen social welfare systems.
But ‘Puter thinks there’s something very basic that’s changed, something so basic that its reintroduction would in all likelihood not only slow, but reverse welfare spending over time. Best of all, it’s free.
So what’s ‘Puter’s solution? In a word, shame.
When many of these programs were conceived in the 1930s and early 1960s, America and the rest of the world were still functioning under widely agree societal norms, such as “if you knock up your girlfriend, you’d better darned well marry her” and “it is wrong to take handouts if you are capable of providing for yourself.”
Here’s a couple of anecdotes to illustrate ‘Puter’s point.
People’s Glorious and Praiseworthy Anecdote #1:
Many women didn’t have sex outside of marriage (or at least without the promise of marriage) because they knew that to get pregnant outside of marriage meant they and their children would be damned to a lifetime of being outcasts. Society even coined a lovely word for children born out of wedlock: bastards.
‘Puter’s father still hates the word “bastard.” In fact, when ‘Puter was a teenager, his father (correctly) smacked him for using the word. It never occurred to ‘Puter until then that his father might be acutely sensitive to that word, as his father was born out of wedlock and put up for adoption, as so many babies were immediately after World War II. In ‘Puter’s generation, the word “bastard” had lost its original meaning: the shameful product of an illicit and immoral coupling of unmarried people. But ‘Puter’s father still associates the word with shame.
People’s Glorious and Praiseworthy Anecdote #2:
Great Britain established its national health service after World War II. At that time, much of London was ruined and Britain has suffered the loss of far too many men of one generation for the second time in forty years. But Britain had also slogged through the war by banding together as a nation, doing without for the war effort and giving of what one had for the nation’s survival. ‘Puter hypothesizes that Britain’s inexpicable ability to queue up in an orderly fashion and patiently wait for hours on end resulted from the nation’s wartime experience, but that’s for another day.
Last autumn, ‘Puter spoke with a British national who had recently celebrated her eightieth birthday. ‘Puter made an offhand comment denigrating ObamaCare and the National Health Service, and his compatriot sternly interrupted him, providing an impassioned defense of socialized medicine. During this defense, ‘Puter learned that this woman’s husband refused treatment twice for a heart operation in order that people behind him in line (both of whom he knew) could have their problems corrected first. It took him six months longer to receive his operation than it should have, as her husband believed it shameful to accept treatment before others whose needs were greater.
This remarkable woman also recounted stories of her father, a veteran of the Boer War (really!), who came home after his service, not quite right and never quite fully employable. He seems to have been a rough man who saw things no man should see and dealt with it by avoidance, with assistance from the bottle. He was by all accounts good and decent, just irreparably harmed, as ‘Puter assumes many veterans of that era were. Though this gentleman was offered handouts, whether from government or charitable organizations, he refused to take them unless he could provide work in return. You see, it would be shameful for a man believed to be capable of working to take money for nothing in return. He managed to stay married, support his family and raise eight children, all the while taking nothing without providing something in return.
So what’s ‘Puter’s point? Simply this. If society reinstituted shame, declaring certain activities and behaviors to be unacceptable, our nation would change, and likely for the better.
Men and women should be ashamed to bear children out of wedlock. Study after study proves that a two parent household is the best environment to raise a child, resulting in functioning and productive adults. But because it is no longer shameful to be a planter and not a harvester, so to speak, America has created generation after generation of unemployable and ineducable children, who go on to repeat the mistakes of their parents. It should be shameful to put your carnal desires ahead of the good of the child that every act of sexual intercourse can create. You are a small and venal person, worthy of scorn.
People should be ashamed of taking handouts and sitting back on their ample rear ends, relying on the productive others for their sustenance, providing nothing but high crime rates, bad neighborhoods and destructive cultural norms in return. Congress just extended unemployment benefits again, meaning that in New York, ‘Puter can still get over one year of benefits for doing nothing. Government workers think nothing of fraudulently claiming disability benefits to juice their pension payouts and achieve and earlier retirement, then running off to play golf at Bethpage Black.
‘Puter’s not calling for branding “fallen women” with a scarlet “A.” Certainly, he’s not calling to reintroduce the concept of bastardy and its ugly history.
What ‘Puter asks for America to return to making value judgments, and value judgments based on basic American values. There’s nothing wrong with calling out destructive behavior and refusing to lend it support, moral or financial.
There should be social stigma for refusing to provide for yourself and forcing unwilling others to do so for you. There should be social stigma for your poor judgment in getting knocked up repeatedly by a series of ne’er do wells with no intention of sticking around, then making others pay for your unwillingness to keep your knees together or use the free birth control that we now hand out like candy. There should be social stigma for refusing to provide for children you’ve “fathered,” regardless of circumstance. You should feel shame for these actions, and society should do its best to make you feel ashamed of your actions.
As Gordon Gekko put it, sort of:
The point is, ladies and gentleman, that shame, for lack of a better word, is good. Shame is right, shame works. Shame clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Shame, in all of its forms; shame for creating life you cannot care for, shame for taking money you have not earned, shame for selfishness, laziness has marked the upward surge of mankind. And shame, you mark my words, will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA. Thank you very much.
Shame works.’Puter couldn’t have said it better himself.