The Failings of Liberalism, Part V

by John Eberhard
08/11/04

This article completes my recent series on the failings of liberalism. This is not because by the end of this article I will have listed all the flaws in liberal thinking, but that I have other topics I want to cover. So I will come back to these issues later.

Summary of Parts I-IV

Part I – Redistribution of Wealth

Part I was about Marx’s concept of the redistribution of wealth. The whole idea of redistribution of wealth, on which welfare, progressive taxation, and to a lesser extent, affirmative action policies are all based, comes from Marx.

I brought up how the Capitalist society has an evolved set of rewards, motivations and incentives.

Someone in our society can be at a poverty level, and by hard work, can move out of that condition into a higher one. A recent government study showed that few people remain at the poverty level for more than a few years.

A person who improves himself by learning more skills or by becoming an entrepreneur, is doing so because he wants to be paid more and become more successful. And by being more valuable and more employable, the person is more at cause over his life and more in control of his own destiny.

But when you enter welfare into the picture, you actually tinker with and ruin this natural system.

Welfare and other income redistribution programs send a powerful, wrong message to people. It tells people that if they fail to play the game, if they don’t bother to get an education, to learn the skills needed in the business world, or work hard at a job, indeed, if they don’t bother to get a job, that’s OK. The government, funded by taxpayers that DO get an education, get a job, work hard, etc., will pay your way.

When you pay someone’s way – a person who has not played the game, not done anything to prepare themselves for the workforce, you are giving them a reward or incentive for behavior that is destructive. His behavior is destructive because he is not becoming a productive and contributing member of society – he’s becoming a parasite. And if you get too many of those, society can’t function at all.

Part II – Rewarding Those Without Merit

In Part II, I took up the liberal concept of rewarding those without merit. The principle and practice of "validating those without merit" takes many forms, including:

  • Rewarding those who don’t work
  • Rewarding women who have children out of wedlock
  • Rewarding union members who work less or more poorly by protecting them from disciplinary actions
  • Rewarding criminals by excessive concern for their rights
  • Rewarding students or prospective employees with fewer credentials or skills, by giving them placement due to their race (not all minorities, but specifically blacks and Hispanics)
  • Rewarding people who make less money by taxing them at a lower percentage, or below a certain income level, not taxing them at all
  • Rewarding people who come into this country illegally, by giving them free services
  • Rewarding those who can’t pay for basic services like health care, by paying for them (this is common in Europe and liberals want to have it in the US too).

People who are industrious, productive, ethical, responsible, skilled, and successful have more value to society. They build it up and make it better.

People who are unemployed, irresponsible, unproductive, criminal, low income, with few skills, do not help society. They are, in the main, a drag on society.

Theoretically we as a society should want to reward positive, constructive behavior, behavior that helps to build up society. If nothing else, rewarding people who help build society would seem to be a survival move – it would tend to ensure that we still have a society five, ten or twenty years from now. Societies do not build themselves or even continue by themselves. Creative, constructive individuals must make them go forward.

The idea of many conservative thinkers is that we should reward those that deserve it.

Part III – The Myth of the Poor

Karl Marx said that all history was the history of class warfare, and that employers everywhere were oppressing employees. Employees were therefore victims. The liberal mass media makes a big deal continually of the plight of the poor, and how we have to "do something" to help them.

If you analyze this, you will see that this idea that we have to "do something" to help the poor, and especially the idea that we have to use income redistribution, is based on three underlying principles:

a) That the poor cannot do anything themselves to improve their situation,
b) That their poverty state is permanent, and
c) That they are not in any way themselves responsible for being in poverty.

Think about it – if those things were not true, there would be no real social imperative to "do something" about poverty.

A July 1998 Census Bureau report entitled "Trap Door? Revolving Door? Or Both?" covers 1993-94 and shows that 15.7% of the population was poor in 1993 and 15.4% was poor in 1994. But the study also shows that only 5.3% of the population was poor for the entire 24 months of the survey.

Another Census Bureau report entitled "Poverty in the United States: 2002" measures the years from 1996 through 1999, and shows that only 5.7% of those studied remained poor for 36 months, and only 2.0% were in poverty every month of the entire 4-year period studied.

So instead of a situation where a large segment of the population is permanently poor, we get a truer picture of poverty being a condition that people move into and then out of. And those that are more or less permanently below the poverty line make up a tiny fraction.

The poor CAN do something about their condition, and ARE doing something about it – all the time.

Part IV – Crisis In Immigration

In the past few decades, there has been an explosion in the numbers of people coming into the US illegally. Estimates vary on the number of illegal immigrants currently residing in the United States, anywhere from 8 to 12 million.

Recent polls show that Americans overwhelmingly favor limits on immigration. According to a Wall Street Journal/NBC poll. 52% of Americans favor a five-year ban on all legal and illegal immigration. A Time/CNN poll showed that 80% of Americans want the federal government to track down illegal aliens. A CBS/New York Times poll in 1995 showed that less immigration was wanted by 66% of Republicans, by 60% of Democrats, and 64% of Independents.

The public is solidly against illegal immigration, yet some seem determined to offer powerful incentives that keep immigrants coming here illegally, in such high numbers that the 2,000 agents of the Immigration and Naturalization Service cannot possibly keep up.

When we entered welfare into the scene (a liberal invention), it completely changed the nature of immigration. Before welfare, America stood as a symbol for freedom and opportunity, and it was a freedom for the pursuit of happiness (not a guarantee of the outcomes). So this tended to attract people who wanted to work for their own version of the American Dream. But once welfare was entered into the scene, it added an incentive for another type of person to come here – the non-producer.

Numerous cities around the US have "sanctuary Laws", which prevent local police from enforcing Federal immigration laws or even notifying the INS after arresting an illegal immigrant.

The solution is simple, if elusive. There are three actions we need to take. First, increase the resources of the INS to the point where they can actually enforce the law. 2,000 INS agents versus 8 to 11 million illegal immigrants is not an effective solution – it’s a joke. Ignore the loud and hysterical ethnic lobby that will inevitably attack such actions.

Secondly, eliminate the local sanctuary laws. Enforce and support the 1996 "Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act," which allows local law enforcement to work together with the INS.

Third, eliminate the silver platter of welfare benefits for illegals, such as free public education, free medical care, driver’s licenses, college scholarships and reduced in-state tuition.

Summary

I know that many liberals today are motivated by a desire to help their fellow man. Liberalism is painted as the "compassionate" world-view, and many liberals are drawn to it by their desire to help.

The sad fact is, however, that liberalism has allowed itself to be hijacked by a destructive and broken philosophy – socialism. Most of socialism’s basic views, such as class warfare, redistribution of wealth, welfare, rewarding those without merit (and penalizing those with merit), and the myths of the poor, are THE basic views that motivate liberals and the US Democratic Party.

Some in the Democratic Party would like to hide this fact or gloss it over, but if you read Marx and really look at what the liberals are all about, much of it comes straight from Marx.

I believe that the far-left liberal portion of the Democratic Party, which dominates the party now (though it only makes up 20% of the population) will be dead in 10-20 years. This far-left faction’s only saving grace now is that they own all the mainstream news media, so that they can make it appear that their unpopular views are in the majority. They are not now in the majority and never have been.

The rise of conservative alternative media, including best-selling books, web sites, radio shows and cable TV, is sending shivers through the far-left and causing them to resort to desperate measures. Witness this year’s Presidential election, with the attacks on President Bush at a fevered pitch not seen since those leveled at Joe McCarthy (see Ann Coulter’s book "Treason," which will change your mind forever about McCarthy).

Whether or not these attacks will succeed in November is not certain. What is certain, is that the far-left liberal control of American politics is on the way out. Too much truth is seeping out.

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