National treasure PJ O’Rourke nails it again. Excerpt:
What’s the matter with kids today? Nothing new. A large portion of the brats, the squirts, the fuzz-faced, the moon calves, the sap-green, and the wet behind the ears have always been “Punks for Progressives.”
As soon as children discover that the world isn’t nice, they want to make it nicer. And wouldn’t a world where everybody shares everything be nice? Aw … kids are so tender-hearted.
But kids are broke — so they want to make the world nicer with your money. And kids don’t have much control over things — so they want to make the world nicer through your effort. And kids are very busy being young — so it’s your time that has to be spent making the world nicer.
For them. The greedy little bastards. Kids were thinking these exact same sweet-young-thing thoughts back in the 1960s, during my salad days (tossed green sensimilla buds). Young people probably have been thinking these same thoughts since the concept of being a “young person” was invented.
That would have been in the 19th century — during America’s first “Progressive Era” — when mechanization liberated kids from onerous farm chores and child labor laws let them escape from child labor.
Example #3,495,393 of the “soft people make hard times” phase of societal development. As I’ve stated before in these virtual pages, I think we are transitioning to this phase from the “good times make soft people” phase; events of the last summer make me think we’re on the downhill slope of that transition.
O’Rourke’s real gem, though, is this:
They’ve got it coming. Young people are not only penniless and powerless, they’re also ignorant as hell. They think of wealth as something that’s limited, like the number of Hostess Ding Dongs on the 7-Eleven shelf. They think rich people got to the 7-Eleven first and gobbled all the Ding Dongs, leaving poor people to lick the plastic wrappers.
Young people don’t know that more Ding Dongs can be produced. They don’t know how or why more Ding Dong production is possible. And they certainly don’t know how to get the cream filling inside.
(Leaving aside the wild indignation of young people about the very existence of synthetic industrial and undoubtedly poisonous food such as Ding Dongs. They eat them anyway. Watch them shop at the 7-Eleven when they think nobody’s looking. But I digress.)
Young people believe that the way to obtain more wealth is to take it away from rich people.
You can’t do it. Well, you can do it. But you can only do it once.
You can take the Ding Dongs from the Hostess factory for free, but once you’ve eaten them you can’t go back to the Hostess factory and take more Ding Dongs for free. The Hostess factory is out of business.
It would be difficult to explain economics (and the stupidity of socialism) any more clearly than this.
The rise of socialist “thought” (I use scare quotes here as I doubt any of the young people O’Rourke described are doing much, if any, actual thinking) speaks to the softness of our society, the failure of our education system, and the rather baffling shift away from understanding the value of liberty.
So how do we get these kids to start, you know, thinking?