Democrats most often divide Americans along cultural lines then employs class envy

Cultural deconstruction: turning a safety net into a hammock

By —— Bio and Archives--September 7, 2011

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The Democrat political strategy is to segment the American people into constituency classes that can be served separately.  Al Gore made a Freudian slip when he admitted while campaigning that “We can build a collective civic space large enough for all our separate identities, that we can be E Pluribus Unum—out of one, many.”

Democrats most often divide Americans along cultural lines (region, race, ethnicity, religion, and personal values), rather than along economic lines.  The party then employs class envy as an explicit strategy for righting perceived wrongs and offering a goal of future class equity.  This strategy tends to be very divisive, pitting one class vs. another in a zero sum game, never completely satisfying any constituent class. 

Political power is ensured by retaining this underclass as a permanent voting bloc that can be exploited for ongoing political support.  Unfortunately nurturing a permanent underclass for political purposes has had unintended cultural consequences, which may eventually undermine our entire society.

The United States has always been a compassionate nation, helping people at home and abroad. Over the last 75 years a number of social insurance programs were provided for protection against socially recognized conditions, including poverty, old age, disability, and unemployment.  All of these programs began life as temporary “safety nets” for those less fortunate.  Social Security was originally designed in 1935 as a New Deal retirement and survivor’s insurance program, funded by a payroll tax on current workers’ wages.  In 1954 disability insurance was added, and in 1972 supplemental security income insurance was added.  Welfare programs began in the 1930s and are implemented in over 13 government agencies in more than 70 separate federal programs, funded out of the General Fund.

The purpose of welfare is to assist individuals in need and ultimately to help welfare recipients out of poverty and make them self-sufficient.  Medicare was originally designed in 1965 as a Great Society health insurance program for all Americans age 65 and older and for the permanent physically disabled, funded by payroll taxes.  Medicaid is the means tested health program created in 1965 as part of the War on Poverty for people with low incomes and resources, jointly funded by the state and federal governments, and managed by the states.  These social insurance programs have expanded well beyond their original intents, and the unintended consequences has been to grow dependence on government support, instead of a return to self sufficiency.

After the Great Society legislation of the 1960s, for the first time a person who was not elderly or disabled could receive a living from the American government.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt said in 1935, “Continued dependence upon relief induces a spiritual and moral disintegration fundamentally destructive to the national fiber. To dole out relief in this way is to administer a narcotic, a subtle destroyer of the human spirit.”  Social Security and Medicare are rapidly approaching bankruptcy, spending more money each year than is collected.  The destructiveness of welfare goes beyond financial affordability and political dependency. 

The more welfare that families receive from government, the less fathers are necessary for their support, undermining the basic building block of society, the family unit.  Lacking the role model of a responsible father, children grow up to believe that dependency is a natural condition of life.  The children of welfare moms are nurtured in a mentality that perpetuates dependency from generation to generation.  The impact of food stamps, Section 8 housing subsidies, Medicaid, and other support programs has been to create a permanent welfare class who, in terms of skills and attitudes, are poorly equipped to return to work.  The U.S. has spent $16 trillion since LBJ launched his “War on Poverty” in 1964, but the percentage of people in “poverty” remains essentially the same.  Despite the fact that illegal aliens do not contribute to the program funding, many states cover them despite explicitly being excluded.  Our culture has eroded so much now that dependence on the government has become an acceptable lifestyle for the permanent underclass, which has transformed our temporary economic “safety net” into a comfortable “hammock” for long term living.

By design Democrats have deconstructed our American culture into a loose confederation of disparate class cultures on the verge of open class warfare.  Democrats have nurtured an underclass politically dependent with a well developed sense of entitlement, which has taught generations that society owes them a living; that government is responsible for raising their children; working is not necessary; and everyone is entitled to the fruits of other people’s labor.  This policy shows a reckless disregard for the consequences of dependency, which will be terrible. 

Welfare-state paternalism has bred and nurtured immoral, undesirable people because government entitlements create one of two attitudes towards society: either ingratitude or resentment.  If they receive what they’re entitled to, there is nothing to be grateful for because you’re entitled to it.  If they haven’t received an entitlement, then they’re resentful because you haven’t received what you feel you are entitled to.  Evidence of this resentment can be seen in the black “flash mobs” attacking randomly in a number of U.S. cities and the U.K. hoodlum riots attacking random businesses.  We should expect to see more of this violence at the Day of Rage starting on September 17th, since it was originally planned for non-violent protests in three cities, but has already expanded to a week of civil disobedience in at least ten cities.

Nothing less than a culture re-construction is needed to recover from the degradation of our western society.  We must resurrect the culture of personal responsibility.  We must re-teach the cause and effect relationship between hard work and achievement.  Relearning the art of parental discipline, and re-establishing the primacy of the moral code upon which western civilization was built are monumental but necessary tasks.  I hope we are not too late because it will take generations to undo the harm done to our culture.  Ultimately the concept of entitlement must be dismantled from the welfare state.

The Democrats have embraced class warfare as their primary political tactic.  The unintended (or perhaps intended) consequence has been the creation of a permanent underclass totally dependent on the government for their well-being.  Political power is maintained by retaining this dependence in exchange for political support.  Unless you are an unrepentant Marxist praying for a class uprising, this permanent underclass is condemned to a government subsistence existence and an inability to participate in the American Dream.

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David Coughlin -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Dave Coughlin recently retired from IBM after 31 years. He is now a political pundit who manages his web site “Return to Common Sense” and is an active member of the White Plains Tea Party. He was educated at West Point (Bachelor of Science, 1971) and the University of Alabama in Huntsville (Masters, Administrative Science, 1976). He currently resides with his wife in Hawthorne, NY.

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