This report by an American living in Sweden (seen first on Ace of Spades) well supports my thesis that socialism can work for a time, if the population is small, homogenous and hard-working. If people are naturally industrious and minded to look out for each other, then the free-rider problem isn’t so severe. But the problem is, socialism works to undermine the very characteristics that make it work in the first place- it attracts malingerers, discourages thrift and responsibility, and causes its own collapse. Immigrants come in to take advantage of the free welfare, or if immigration is somehow restricted, their own children grow up not learning the value of hard work. Ultimately group loyalty becomes completely undermined, more and more people free-ride, and eventually math wins, as it always does.
This is a great article, by James Franco, on the value he got from working at McDonald’s as a young person.
It is a very sad thing to me that young people do not get jobs as often as they used to. Some of that I suspect is because regulation makes it increasingly difficult to hire people, and the lowest-skilled people will always bear the brunt of that (pay attention, you who think raising the minimum wage is a good idea). Some of it, I suspect, is the narcissism of our society, especially among the youth, many of whom I think would find it degrading to do any such thing as burger-flipping. I also suspect that there is a similar dynamic as that which happened in the American South during slavery, where menial work was associated with an underclass and therefore something that no self-respecting white man would do. In Colorado, in the cities, I noticed a few years back that virtually all of the fast food jobs were held by Mexicans, many of whom seemed like native Spanish speakers to me. If it was true in Colorado I expect it is even more true in other places. So a great many entry-level jobs- fast food, janitorial, landscaping, etc- would be associated with Mexican immigrants and something no respectable middle-class white kid would do.
It’s sad, because a great deal can be learned from these kinds of jobs. I worked at Taco Bell and Furr’s Cafeteria for the first few years of my working life. I made minimum wage. I suspect I was barely worth that. I was lazy and unfocused. And I got criticized for it. Every young person, as soon as possible, needs to go work for someone who doesn’t care very much about their feelings; especially young men. It is highly motivating. I learned some of the most important life skills at those jobs- how to be on time for things, how to meet expectations, how to work with a team, how to take orders from a boss. And I learned the joy of a job well done and a paycheck I’d worked hard for. Some of those lessons took years to sink in. But the seeds were sown there. Those simple lessons are 90% of your success at any career you pursue.
A man has been stealing from his employer for many years. He has done so successfully and undetected. He is so successful that his family enjoys a better lifestyle than they otherwise would- they eat better food and go to a better school and have nice cars and vacations. The man could never afford these things on his normal salary.
One day the man is caught in his embezzling. The boss says he’s going to fire the man. The man’s response is that yes, he’s guilty, but it is not compassionate for the boss to fire him or even to prevent him from continuing to embezzle since if he does, his children will suffer. They will no longer be able to go to a good school or have nice food to eat. The children will suffer, and they haven’t done anything wrong. Therefore, the only compassionate thing to do is to continue to allow the man to embezzle from his employer, or to give him a raise so that he doesn’t need to embezzle any more.
This is the argument which is made in favor of Obama’s amnesty for young illegal immigrants. They came here as children, they didn’t choose to do so, and therefore they can’t be punished. The only compassionate thing to do is to give them legal status.
But if we deport these children and minors (up to age 30!), we aren’t punishing them. We aren’t taking anything from them that they had a right to in the first place. When they go back to Mexico, they will have the benefit of a good education in America; they will have fluency in English (probably) that will be a great asset to them. They have not been harmed. They’re not even being asked to pay back the cost of the benefits they and their families have stolen from the American taxpayer for all these years. The idea that it is not compassionate to stop someone from stealing from us is just another example of the content-free, emotional thinking that has given us a disintegrating society, a contempt for law and a 16 trillion dollar debt in our country.