Friday, July 17, 2015

The strange cocoon effect of modern society


The Book of Job warns us, "Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward" (Job 5:7). I'm sure many of us of a certain age were raised to understand, accept and act on that reality.  We didn't expect life to be at our beck and call.  We understood that there'd be bad times as well as good;  that some people got more of the former than the latter;  and that sometimes there was nothing you could do about them except endure.  Life wasn't fair.  It was just . . . life.  It happened.  If you didn't deal with it, it would deal with you - and sooner or later, it would win.

Contrast this with today's "special snowflakes".  They grow up in a cocoon, sheltering them from life.  They're constantly told that "they're special", when in fact they're nothing of the sort.  They expect everything to be done for them, with minimal or no exertion on their part.  They really seem to believe that they "deserve" the best, even when they've done nothing to earn it.  They expect to get everything out of life, even when they put almost nothing into life.

A few examples:


If our entire society ran along those lines, it would collapse.  Ordinary business and commerce would be impossible, because there would be nobody trustworthy or credit-worthy with whom one could do business.  Those of us who try to live within our means, and who work hard to be trustworthy partners in business and in our relationships, are basically carrying these drones on our hard-working backs.  That's a sickening thought.

This applies also to emergency situations and times of crisis.  I mentioned in my 'lessons learned' post after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 how the 'welfare classes' had basically regarded it as a right to take whatever they needed from anyone.

Feedback from my contacts in the Louisiana State Police (LSP) and other agencies is very worrying. They keep harping on the fact that the "underclass" that's doing all the looting is almost exclusively Black and inner-city in composition. The remarks they're reporting include such statements as "I'm entitled to this stuff!", "This is payback time for all Whitey's done to us", and "This is reparations for slavery!". Also, they're blaming the present confused disaster-relief situation on racism. "Fo sho, if Whitey wuz sittin' here in tha Dome waitin' for help, no way would he be waitin' like we is!" No, I'm not making up these comments... they are as reported by my law enforcement buddies.

This worries me very much. If we have such a divide in consciousness among our city residents, then when we hit a SHTF situation, we're likely to be accused of racism, paternalism, oppression, and all sorts of other crimes just because we want to preserve law and order. If we, as individuals and families, provide for our own needs in emergency, and won't share with others (whether they're of another race or not) because we don't have enough to go round, we're likely to be accused of racism rather than pragmatism, and taking things from us can (and probably will) be justified as "Whitey getting his just desserts". I'm absolutely not a racist, but the racial implications of the present situation are of great concern to me. The likes of Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the "reparations for slavery" brigade appear to have so polarized inner-city opinion that these folks are (IMHO) no longer capable of rational thought concerning such issues as looting, disaster relief, etc.

. . .

In each case, the person/family concerned had made preparations for disaster, with supplies, shelter, etc. in good order and ready to go. Several had generators ready and waiting. However, their neighbors who had not prepared all came running after the disaster, wanting food, water and shelter from them. When the prepared families refused, on the grounds that they had very little, and that only enough for themselves, there were many incidents of aggression, attempted assault, and theft of their supplies. Some had to use weapons to deter attack, and in some cases, shots were fired. I understand that in two incidents, attackers and/or would-be thieves were shot. It's also reported that in all of these cases, the prepared families now face threats of retribution from their neighbors, who regarded their refusal to share as an act of selfishness and/or aggression, and are now threatening retaliation. It's reportedly so bad that most of the prepared families are considering moving to other neighborhoods, so as to start afresh, with different neighbors.

Similar incidents are reported by families who got out in time, prepared to spend several days on their own. When they stopped to eat a picnic meal at a rest stop, or an isolated spot along the highway, they report being approached rather aggressively by others wanting food, or fuel, or other essentials. Sometimes they had to be rather aggressive in their turn to deter these insistent requests. Two families report attempts being made to steal their belongings (in one case, their vehicle) while overnighting in camp stops on their way out of the area.

There's more at the link.  Such problems were very widespread.  Far too many people relied on the state for the ordinary, everyday needs of life even before the hurricanes arrived.  When that was disrupted, they turned to (and on) anyone and everyone else to simply take what they needed.  They'd made no attempt whatsoever to provide for themselves in an emergency.  Indeed, they reacted indignantly to any suggestion that they should have "gotten out of Dodge" before the hurricane arrived, or taken steps to protect themselves.  That was someone else's problem.  They had to be handed everything on a platter.  That was their right.  (I saw this reaction myself, many times.)

The same attitudes have a lot to do with the economic crises currently affecting Greece, China and elsewhere.  People are willing to chase the chimera of wealth - and, if necessary, cheat, lie and steal to get it - but complain bitterly when the consequences come back to bite them.  Consider Greece, for example.

A 2014 analysis by the European Commission found that annual uncollected consumption taxes in Greece totaled €10 billion. Another study estimated that self-employed Greek workers failed to report €28 billion of taxable income in 2009 alone. But these deceptions are relatively uninspired compared to certain schemes. On the island of the Zakynthos, for instance, almost 500 people with perfectly good vision received a blindness benefit from the Greek health ministry for years. When Angelos visits to investigate, his cabdriver complains about the rampant corruption on the island, then cheats him on the fare.

Pretending to be blind is only one of many strategies. At one point 8,500 Greek pensioners claimed to be over 100 years old. In fact, the government was paying retirement checks to dead people whose family members were cashing them. Then there was scandal of the swimming pools, an episode which received international attention around the time of the first Greek bailout. As part of the austerity measures, the Greek government began trying to do in reality what previously happened only in theory: collect taxes from its wealthy citizens. An aerial search by the Greek government revealed almost 17,000 pools in rich neighborhoods that were never declared on tax forms. Sales of camouflage tarps to cover the pools spiked. Many doctors and lawyers, meanwhile, were still reporting incomes as implausibly low as €12,000 a year.

Uh-huh.  As for China, many of the consumer products scandals that have emerged over recent years have been the result of people trying to make a dishonest buck as fast as possible - and damn the consequences.  (The infamous tainted pet food scandal is only one of many cases involving both human and animal food.)

The Bible again:  "Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it" (Proverbs 22:6).  I think a great many of the examples I've cited above stem from the fact that we, as a society, have not 'started our children off on the way they should go'.  We've mollycoddled them, shielded them, protected them.  Their lives have had no negative consequences because they've not been allowed to make mistakes - or, when they have, we've assured them that the results were not their fault, and were not 'fair'.  They've been raised to believe they're entitled to everything - so when they don't get it as of right, they see little or no ethical problem in simply taking it, even if it belongs to someone else.  (That explains a lot of the 'tax-and-spend' mentality, doesn't it?  Unfortunately, that attitude has become more and more widespread on both sides of the political aisle.  It used to be a liberal/progressive problem.  Now it's universal.)

I've had the same reaction from some people to my efforts to make my own living, rather than remain reliant on a disability pension.  Some have openly mocked my efforts to learn to write in a way that others find interesting, and to sell enough books to provide for myself and my family.  My parents, on the other hand, raised me to believe that a man looks after himself to the greatest possible extent.  Only when he's truly down and out does he rely on others to provide for him - and that's something that should never continue for longer than absolutely necessary.  It seems that attitude is considered 'old-fashioned' today . . . more's the pity.

I suppose this has been a rambling sort of a blog post, but it's been very much on my mind lately.  When I look at our current economic situation, and realize that we're probably staring another Great Depression in the face, I can't help but wonder how today's 'special snowflakes' will cope.  Will they survive, as our grandparents and great-grandparents did in the 1930's, and rebuild?  Or will they burst into tears and hide in a corner, leaving others to fix the problem?  And, when those of us who've learned about life the hard way are gone . . . will there be enough competent adults left to fix it?

Rudyard Kipling put it well in 1919.

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: "If you don't work you die."

Word.

Peter

12 comments:

STxAR said...

I was encouraged to take food stamps when I was in college. And we weren't hungry by any stretch, but man we had litle money for anything, even rent. Married, 2 children, working 3 part time jobs, full time student, wife didn't work. "You'll pay this back in spades", they said.

We did it, for 1 month. .gov gave me four times what we normally spent on food for a month. But the shame of having to use those was awful.

And another curious thing happened: Little gifts of money dried up. Whenever we had needs, they were met before we went on the dole. I mean we were faithful in our church attendance, and continued to pray for our needs, but the little trickles that God sent dried up. I firmly believe it was because I went to Uncle Sam instead of God Almighty. We never did that again. I threw away what was left of the stamps and never looked back. I repented of my unbelief, but the letters with a few dollars at odd times in the mailbox were mostly gone.

I learned a lot that summer. Life lessons. I have never wanted for work, and I believe that is how God has decided to supply my needs. At least up until this point in my life. I don't want to limit His work in any way!!!

Rev. Paul said...

Your topic is a frequent source of conversation at my house. We have some small supplies set aside, but nothing like enough. While working on that, we also keep in mind that the more abundant our stores, the more likely to attract attention from the, ahem, gatherers. Adding to that is the attendant problem of inflation: a bucket of Wise food that cost $90 five years ago is $130 now.

Anonymous said...

The people who encourage others to be dependent irritate me beyond reason. "They" don't want other people's children to go more than ten feet from an adult. "They" don't want other people to improve their situation by finding ways to work. "They" discourage self sufficiency. "They" belittle practical skills and individual effort. "They" say the world is too dangerous to survive without the government's "help."

Every day I am grateful that I was raised to parents who let me roam, get scratched up, and learn about the world the hard way. And for skills and knowledge that I can use if/when the proverbial hits the impeller. (And that thus far I've managed to avoid most of the attention of the people who want me to be dependent.)

littleRed1

Graybeard said...

I could probably do a post as long as yours in reply to it - which I can't do here. Just a few things.

There's an undercurrent which comes from these "special snowflakes" - I've seen it in comments on my blog, on Western Rifle Shooters - that the problem with society is their parents or grandparents. We're the ones the screwed up the society and ran up the debt, and they're coming after us if society goes tango uniform.

Nobody notices the people who live below their means and try to save so that they're not a burden to others. As older folks, you and I are just "them" - as in "get 'em!"

We're facing a society that never learned "The Gods of the Copybook Headings", but I'm afraid that lesson is coming good and hard.


Old NFO said...

Well said, and we had the 'Greece' discussion at work yesterday... Sigh

Uncle Lar said...

The race panderers seem bound and determined to destroy the concepts of exceptionalism, self sufficiency, and success through hard work from the American scene. All those when practiced give one independence from the government and that is simply unacceptable to those who seek total control.
The fact that such policies will bring about the downfall of our Republic are ignored as something that may happen someday while the increase in power and control is immediate. It seems to me that the ruling philosophy of most of our politicians is to get theirs now before everything falls apart. They know it's coming, but the temptation to feather their own nests now would seem to be too strong to resist.

shugyosha said...

"Parable of the Sower", the one by O. E. Butler.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

Why would anybody expect the citizens of a corrupt government and society to be less corrupt than the leaders are?

Does anybody expect that Greece, or the United States, will pay back their debt in real terms, or any terms?

LCB said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LCB said...

I was driving home from work and noticed a pavilion in the parking lot of a Shell station. I thought maybe they were trying to get people to sign up for credit cards, which seemed silly in that "part" of town. But no, they were giving away the free cell phones the gooberment (which means us) is paying for. And did they ever have a line...

For a second, the thought crossed my mind, "you're stupid for working!"...and I immediately felt ashamed. Pride in taking care of your own is a lost moral in a large part of this country, but I'm relieved I still have mine.

Ken said...

The takers leave me bitter and angry. I make $10.50 an hour. Not much by any stretch, but I make do. No children, can't afford them. Work 50 to 60 hours a week. And who am I surrounded by at work? A bunch of black takers. Now they're good workers, I'll give them that. But all of them are on the dole, with most being single women with multiple children. EBT cards, Section 8, and literal tax avoidance schemes are discussed loudly at work. One particular couple, a mom and dad my age with three children, are not married solely so they can suck my paycheck dry. I sat down and figured out the difference one day after one of them left their paycheck stub in my car. The difference in taxes + $600 a month Section + EBT + the tax "refund" that they get and I do not = THEY take home roughly $12000 more than me per year. After taxes, I'm only bringing home roughly $20,000 a year. That's money in my pocket. They, even though we earn the same per hour and work the same hours, get over thirty grand.

I am FURIOUS! Add in the entitled attitude that I owe somehow owe these people for slavery merely because I'm white, and so help me God, I want to choke them. They're having kids on my dime. Time being what it is, time is quickly running out for me to have my own children.

What to do? This isn't going to end well. Starting to believe that I don't have much to lose.

Ken said...

Addendum to the above: in my shop of around 25 people, half are black and half are white. ALL of the blacks are on the dole and ALL of the whites are tax payers.

As can be expected, there's a mostly quiet but growing hatred of the whites at our black masters. And, low and behold, the blacks already hate us for "slavery".

I consider it a microcosm of the nation at large. This isn't going to last for much longer.

I wish it wasn't this way. In my heart of hearts, I really do wish that lie of equality were really true. I've since, however, come to the conclusion that this problem is intractable and will result in bloodshed sooner or later. The sad thing is, I'm "friends" with many of those black takers. I put the word friends in scare quotes because true friends wouldn't steal from me. But yet, I've been to their houses, have been present at their little kids' birthday parties and the like. What else can I do? I don't know anymore.

I wish God would give me an answer I can recognize.