A Subtle Destroyer of the Human Spirit

Wow. FDR shows how complicated is the human mind.

Image result for FDR

I lived in Oakland in the early 1970’s. I loved the working class feel there. Across the bay was Sissy-town. In Oakland a late model car was usually passing through to the suburbs and almost every car had a Raiders sticker in the back window. I didn’t have a car unless I was subbing for Tony delivering the Sunday Tribune in his Rambler American. I’d start deliveries at three in the morning and it gave me a different view of the city than when people were awake.

Oakland had well kept cottages dwarfed by abandoned warehouses, neighborhood bars with passed out patrons, stucco apartment buildings with padlocked doors. It was a time of transition. The dock workers and factory workers tended their white picket fences and gardens like they were their own, because they were. But a block away from my place was Oakland Tech High School where Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party, went to school. To him, ownership of property meant you were exploitative of the masses.

The productive middle class family was having its children stolen for the good of “the people.” Gratefulness for a meaningful life was being replaced by resentment and hate. Instead of appreciating employment that enabled the middle class to have creature comforts that were the envy of the rest of the world, employers were viewed as something akin to slave owners.

These changes were not limited to working families. The socialistic view of the world has permeated our entire culture in such a way that it is not even recognized as the thievery that it is. In fact it is widely accepted that we have an obligation to contribute to the common good without expecting direct compensation.

Employers and politicians constantly remind us about the lack of skilled workers. Okay, so you have a worker. He has no skills. Whose responsibility is it to add the skills to that worker? Public junior colleges and trade schools are trotted out as examples of ways to provide skilled workers for these companies with no regard at all for who pays for them. Without a right to refusal to pay we cannot blame capitalism for failure because it doesn’t exist.

Funding these programs through taxation has a much more destructive side than the fact that they are theft, a violation of the Ten Commandments. They set a dangerous precedent that our property is not entirely ours. This precedent is behind the proliferation of such things as soaring murder rates in cities, rising energy costs due to government subsidies of inefficient energy sources like wind, and terrorist attacks as blowback from interventionist foreign policy. How’s that for a broad rage of unintended consequences? But they can all be traced back to the fact that the funds were confiscated from people who would never have spent it that way if given the choice.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am no fan of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. And I have no idea why he proceeded with the policies that contradict what he said in his State of the Union address of 1935. But these are wise words that have been proven correct by 80 years of experience:

“The lessons of history, confirmed by evidence immediately before me, show conclusively that continued dependence on 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. It is inimical to the dictates of sound policy. It is a violation of the traditions of America.”


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