Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is loss of guilt a stepping stone to self-destruction?

I read still another article today on riots in Greece in response to austerity implemented by the Greek government, including comments by rioters agreeing with the same type of reactions in Spain to the same sort of government actions.

The question that arose was..."what rights and privileges does any human being have simply as a part of existence" followed by "How does any government entity of any type of ideology claim any more power to provide than does the individual?"

Early on in our lives, we all come to realize...sometime belatedly, I grant...that there is no such thing as a "free" lunch.  We recognize the need to work, not just as a fulfillment of our need to do something soul-satisfying, but as a means of survival.  Modern mad likes to ignore this second fact, and does a remarkably good job of it, but at our very center we all realize that eat, to live, to exist we need to earn it somehow.

Now...enter government.  The reasons are many and not for this discussion, but governments want to provide us with "stuff."  And they do: apparently "free" stuff, like tax relief even as the government continues to do thing for us that require funding and increased unemployment benefits for NOT working which haven't been paid for either.  I could go on and on.

Receiving something which you haven't worked for is a gift, and is nice.  ONCE! Or maybe on your birthday or at certain holidays.  But if it happens continually; if it becomes the source of your existence, you start to feel guilty and you resent that feeling of guilt...even as you continue to take the easy road and accept the benefits.

Some people haven't a choice: they are disabled in some way, or circumstances prevent them from taking a different road.  Those are understandable and not to be criticized.  I don't.  But do not doubt that those people develop a certain resentment of both their situation and the reliance on that un-earned support (with the exception of disabled veterans who have earned every single benefit...and more...that they receive).  And even those feel a certain ambivalence about it.

Life is difficult.  And guilt adds to the level of difficulty.  The constant receipt of unearned benefits, and the developed reliance on them, becomes unmanageable over time.  Two things will happen: either there will be violence from the build up of anger an resentment...or there will be a mental re-definition of the benefits into...not unearned, but....a deserved right to live at a level commensurate, not with our work effort or product but, with our desires.

Problem solved!

No more guilt and now no embarrassment in either receiving or demanding more "free" stuff.

That, of course, leads to the question asked above...if the individual cannot provide for him or herself, how can the government...which only operates with a portion of the funds earned by that same individual, provide what hasn't been earned?

Well of course the answer is that a portion of the money taken from those that and earn is taken and given to those that do not. far.  But...what happens when those that take outnumber those that earn?

Our...and most...government(s) is directed by those elected by majority vote.  If the majority are "takers" and not "earners", then those elected will be those that promise more and more "stuff."

Logic suggests that eventually the government will take more and more of the earnings of those that work until there is no more to take.  Not only that, it is entirely logical to predict that at some time those earners will decide that they need to live elsewhere, and that many who would otherwise be inclined to be earners would decide that the benefits are non-existent and that they were better off choosing to be "takers."

Ultimately, the system runs out of money and collapses.  But...note that since the takers have fostered a self-serving amnesia as to the fact that their "benefits" have been and are not now earned, there is a violent, indignent reaction to suddenly being presented with a cessation of those benefits until and unless the bill is paid.

The world can be an ugly and cruel place...but ultimately justice prevails.

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