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Taking vs. making

Thought Mesh has a post that captures the lefty/statist mindset like an entomologist with a nice long needle.

I made the mistake (again!) of listening to the local NPR station. One of their features is a segment where a law professor opines on society and the law. She’s not always a complete loon. Today she was only semi-loony in a paean to an associate of hers who was a crusader for the poor. What he did, according to her, was encourage the “oppressed” to become involved in politics. The view was that this was not only a good thing in itself, but enabled those involved to “take charge of their own lives”. But politics is primarily about taking charge of other people’s lives. It is precisely those in charge of themselves that have no need of politics. The commentator then listed the marvelous things that this involvement in politics had yielded – primarily recreational projects built at taxpayer expense. So it boiled down in the end to forming gangs and using the power of that gang to extract money from other people. I was hoping for “started businesses”, “got jobs”, “became educated” kind of things. But apparently that’s not the way the poor and oppressed should improve their lot, by improving themselves and their families. Instead they should get together to get their slice of pork. Not quite the uplifting saga of the American Dream one might hope for.

Of course, the fact that this particular lefty statist found a taxpayer-subsidized outlet on National Public Radio is just the icing on the cake.

9 comments to Taking vs. making

  • S. Weasel

    Did you see this? According to a recent study by the Heritage Foundation, of the technically poor in the U.S.:

    46% own their home…
    70% own a car…
    30% own two or more cars…
    76% have air conditioning…
    65% own a washing machine…
    97% have a color tv…
    78% have a DVD player or VCR

    “I just think that measuring quality of life in the United States — or for that matter anywhere — by material possessions is morally bankrupt,” said Bob Erlenbusch with the Los Angeles Coalition to End Hunger

    Yeah, and speaking of hunger, we’re the fattest nation on earth, ever — with our poorest fatter on average than the rest. What exactly does poverty mean in this context? It’s not posessions, it’s not hunger? Then what?

    If poverty just means the bottom 10%, regardless of quality of living, then surely even an activist can see that trying to eliminate poverty is nuts. There will always be a bottom 10%.

  • And those ten percent will always be victims, and those of us who have moved up off the bottom thru the combination of our own effort and the passage of time will always be irrelevant to the discussion.

  • llamas

    I always liked P. J. O’Rourke’s description of the poor in America – that they enjoyed a standard of living that would have made the Sun King blink in amazement.

    It’s all relative, I guess.



  • R. C. Dean

    If poverty just means the bottom 10%, regardless of quality of living, then surely even an activist can see that trying to eliminate poverty is nuts. There will always be a bottom 10%.

    Thus assuring job security in perpetuity for “activists.” Not as dumb as they look, are they?

  • Wasn’t it D’nesh D’Souza who said that an Indian friend of his said that he wanted:

    “to be an American because America is the only country in the world where even the poor people are fat”

    Or something to this effect.

    BTW: I think that NPR is not longer on the government teat but rather is (at least largely) funded through private charities, donations, and subscriptions that local radio outlets pay to broadcast its programming. I could have that wrong . . .

    BTWBTW: Love the redesign of the site! How much does the Frogman charge?

  • S. Weasel

    Oh, they’ve still got their snouts in the trough, Garth:

    members (23.5%); state governments (18.3%); CPB and federal grants/ contracts (16.4%); businesses (16.1%); state colleges and universities (6.5%); and foundations (5.5%)

    This really is the best of all worlds for lefties — they get to pick your pocket, and still come online and try to make you feel guilty for not sending them money voluntarily.

  • S. Weasel,

    Yes, I agree that PBS continues to receive a sizeable contribution from the government, but the post was about NPR which according to their site (I just checked) they claim to get only 1-2% from govt grants (obtained competitively)… though indirect govt support through the tax breaks they get as a not-for-profit as well as finding from Universities (who receive all kinds of public support) obviously continues to be important to them….

  • Josh

    NPR also gets a break in not having to pay the license fee for their broadcast frequencies, which makes operating a whole lot cheaper.

    They’re also not big fans of competition, having lobbied vociferously to kill the low-power FM proposal on scientifically dubisous grounds.

  • S. Weasel

    Ah, you’re right, Garth. I looked up PBS rather than NPR.