Statism and Snobbery
By Joel F. Wade - December 07, 2011

Satisfaction and happiness in life is significantly dependent upon an individual's ability to make things happen effectively in his or her life. Having activities that you can focus on, act on and engage in competently and effectively is part of what makes life worth living. The ability to choose activities that matter to you, that make life worth living and that you are truly capable of performing well is fundamental to a happy life.

This is true for everyone, not just those above a certain IQ, or those who have graduated from college at an elite university.

Now let me state a basic truth of human nature: We tend to like to be with people like ourselves. We who politically and philosophically value individual liberty tend to enjoy the company of like minded folks. People who politically and philosophically value an intrusive administrative state also like to be together with like minded folks.

People who like a simpler life like to be with others with similar inclinations; and people who enjoy more complicated intellectual challenges tend to like to be with other folks who think like they do.

There is also a tendency to want to have more people with whom you can relate – which is part of the desire to "convert" people from their different way of thinking to your own.

So we now have an elite in politics, media and academia who not only share a common ideology but who have also mostly attended college, many of the more outspoken having attended elite universities such as Harvard, Stanford, Yale, etc.

They want us to be like them. They think that their way of living, their values, their level of intellect, their interests are really good; and they want us all to join them there.

The trouble is, for most of us, where they live is not where we belong, where we would be comfortable or interested in living. They don't get it that there are a lot of people who don't want to be like them.

The big problem is that today, that simple fact of life has become an issue of morality. If you do not graduate from college, if you do not work in a profession and if you do not share the statist values that predominate in the population of those who have chosen such a life course, there is now a moral judgment that goes with that choice.

This is part of the condescension and derision from the media and the pundits directed at people who would dismantle any portion of the gargantuan administrative state that America has become. Anyone who would propose decreasing the power of the state to improve humanity must not understand the more enlightened vision of the statists; and so they must be stupid, or ignorant, or they must not care about humanity.

This is also why there is much less respect culturally today for blue collar workers among the nation's elite. Sure, there's lip service paid by Democratic politicians, but this is not respect; it is patronizing sympathy for the "plight" of the downtrodden. Blue collar workers are used as examples, not of good, honorable, free people making their way with dignity and discipline but of poor, suffering, helpless folks who need the help of the powerful, smart and magnanimous dispensers of government relief.

This is insulting, to say the least.

A free society is based necessarily on individual citizens who are willing and able to take responsibility for their own lives. This is not a burden; it is the real life requirement for anybody to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Only a certain percentage of people are going to realistically graduate from a university and engage in a profession, and so the expectation that this is the norm or the baseline of functional living (90% of high school seniors think that they should and will graduate from college, while only about 28% actually have a BA degree – see Charles Murray, Real Education) is a slap in the face to the majority of people who are perfectly capable of doing other things extremely well.

The things that most of us do that make life worth living – raising a family, creating or providing something of value, doing work that brings an income on which we can live, making tough decisions about where we spend our money, helping a neighbor in trouble, making a marriage work – these are the very things that the statists in our governments – federal, state and local – are trying to relieve us of.

During his presidential campaign Obama talked about removing some of the tax deductions for giving to charity and balancing the money that would thereby be lost to those charities by having the Federal government make some sort of proportionate contributions. This might somehow equal things out in dollars but it drains the experience of direct, effective and voluntary helping that is a fundamental source of goodwill and joy between people at all levels of society. It drains the meaning and value from charity, for both the giver and the receiver.

Income redistribution is no longer about giving the destitute a safety net that keeps them from starvation; it is now about spreading the wealth around to solidly middle class, and even upper middle class folks, through free health care, retirement and government jobs – not to mention huge bailouts of multimillion dollar companies and their extremely wealthy leadership – all operated by an administrative state run by those who share a belief in such a system.

When that kind of money is being thrown around, what happens to the incentive for a roofer to work more hours to afford tuition for his kids, or to build his business so that he can hire more workers? What happens to the mom who wants to stay at home with her young kids when the government tells her to get her kids into nursery school to be "socialized"?

What happens to the pride of the married couple who have saved and invested in their retirement plan over decades, creating a comfortable nest egg that took discipline and dedication to accumulate, when Congress starts talking about confiscating their 401ks in order to provide for the common retirement of all the people?

The greatest theft taking place in our country today is not the theft of taxation, or of the coming inflation – hideous as those are. The greatest theft is the trivializing, by the statist cultural elite, of the basic values of personal achievement, self-responsibility, self-discipline, thrift, commitment to family and friends and pride in doing whatever one does as well as he or she is able according to his or her true abilities – and earning and keeping the rewards of his or her actions.

The degree to which our government has been draining the life blood from our daily lives – the ability to freely, actively and effectively create meaningful value for ourselves and others – is the unspoken levy that the progressive movement has exacted from the American people for the past century.

The statist cultural elite in America has painted us all with a broad brush in their image, and attempted to paint over, in the same stroke, the magnificent detail of our unique individual abilities.

Greater freedom can wash that illusion away, allowing a car mechanic to prosper by running his business well, or a furniture upholsterer to create such a valuable service to his customers that he's far better known and much better respected in his community than any politician whose name appears promiscuously on buildings and freeways.

Greater freedom can allow a woman gifted in hair braiding to work from her home and make a good living, or an oil worker to know that the value of vital energy that he helps to create and produce is appreciated and respected, and will not be sacrificed to some politician's green delusions.

It is freedom that allows each of us to find the right fit for ourselves, not some idealist's image of mass perfection. It's time to return to the freedom that allows you to be who you are, to own your own life, to find work and meaningful activities that make life worth living to you. It's time for the statists to find something else to do besides trying to decide, for you, what that is.

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