Oct 28, 2008

The Frivolity of Evil

I was passed an article to read this morning by a fellow kiwi home-edder. "The Frivolity of Evil", by Theodore Dalrymple. It's a discussion of the repercussions of the fusion of the welfare state and a culture that says that the highest good is never to feel bad about yourself.

The full article is here.

Now, personally I have grave reservations about abolishing the welfare state. I think the parties on the Right end of the political spectrum have a lot to gain by having a desperate and hungry workforce - when employers have 100 people desperate for the 1 job you've advertised then the employer gets to set any conditions they choose. High unemployment and no welfare sets the stage for exploitation, child prostitution and indentured labour (more honestly known as slavery). On the other hand, welfare sets the stage for selfishness, apathy, eternal adolescence, dependancy and depression.

Right now our society sees the evils of Welfare because that is the system we live with. Some years ago the Political Studies department here had about half a dozen academics - all but one had been born and raised in the West. These 5 were all vehement Socialists/Marxists/Communists etc. The one academic who had been raised behind the Iron Curtain was a fervent Capitalist/Democratist.

We see the evils of the system we are in.

But anyhow, I found the following quote from the article to be very thought-provoking...

...sooner or later the summation of small evils leads to the triumph of evil itself.

...There has been an unholy alliance between those on the Left, who believe that man is endowed with rights but no duties, and libertarians on the Right, who believe that consumer choice is the answer to all social questions, an idea eagerly adopted by the Left in precisely those areas where it does not apply. Thus people have a right to bring forth children any way they like, and the children, of course, have the right not to be deprived of anything, at least anything material. How men and women associate and have children is merely a matter of consumer choice, of no more moral consequence than the choice between dark and milk chocolate, and the state must not discriminate among different forms of association and child rearing, even if such non-discrimination has the same effect as British and French neutrality during the Spanish Civil War.

The consequences to the children and to society do not enter into the matter: for in any case it is the function of the state to ameliorate by redistributive taxation the material effects of individual irresponsibility, and to ameliorate the emotional, educational, and spiritual effects by an army of social workers, psychologists, educators, counselors, and the like, who have themselves come to form a powerful vested interest of dependence on the government.

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