Sunday, March 22, 2009

Another episode of wingnut wonderland

Charles Murray and the Washington Post ask if America should be more like Europe and not surprisingly answer with a resounding no. But what's fun about the article is its total lack of intelligent reasoning. Trying to follow it is one loop-de-loop after another. But follow it we will.

How do you compare the U.S. to Europe. Well, first you have to define what Europe is like.

In Europe, government subsidizes religion, which Mr. Murray blames (without evidence) for the fact that so many churches are empty. Well maybe. He doesn't mention that most European countries have, unlike most of the United States, excellent education systems which probably better explains why their churches are empty. Education is the bane of religion. Always has been. Always will be.

Also, unlike bootstrap America, the wussy European governments help women with child rearing which results in fewer children. Generous child allowances, free day-care centers and long maternity leaves are responsible, he argues (without evidence), for declining fertility rates. But even if that is true, are low fertility rates such a bad thing. Does this planet really need an ever increasing population? If so, why? Murray doesn't get into this, but since we know that he is a notorious racist and he even admits it in this article, I think it's fair to question his concern over fertility rates for the melanin disadvantaged of Europe. As we'll see later on in the article, he thinks Americans, at least certain a certain type of them, should have fewer children.

Jobs? “They are countries where jobs are most carefully protected by government regulation and mandated benefits are most lavish.” Wow, normal people have well-paying jobs with great benefits. Just like our elected officials here and our corporate elite. That's not fair, obviously, but what's the problem? “A lot of people see work as a necessary evil and many of them say they don't love their jobs? Egads.

"Call it the Europe Syndrome. Last April I had occasion to speak in Zurich, where I made some of these same points. Afterward, a few of the 20-something members of the audience came up and said plainly that the phrase "a life well-lived" did not have meaning for them. They were having a great time with their current sex partner and new BMW and the vacation home in Majorca, and they saw no voids in their lives that needed filling.
It was fascinating to hear it said to my face, but not surprising. It conformed to both journalistic and scholarly accounts of a spreading European mentality that goes something like this: Human beings are a collection of chemicals that activate and, after a period of time, deactivate. The purpose of life is to while away the intervening time as pleasantly as possible.”
Sounds good to me. And “whiling away the time as pleasantly as possible doesn't necessarily exclude work and children. It excludes doing crappy jobs that make idiot sociopaths inordinately wealthy and unwanted children. Most people want to work, to take part in the creation of something they find valuable, and will do so if they have the time and good health. And I think most people enjoy having children. It's certainly added immeasurable value to my life and I simply don't see how the practice will just fade away if we make it less of a burden and more of a personal choice. And I'm talking about normal people. Work and children have always been less of a burden and more of a choice for the wealthy.

After that, Murry goes on to argue that science will soon prove that it is impossible for European-type society to exist at all and that anybody who thinks European-like society could exist is either a stupid liberal or possibly a member of one of the less intelligent races.

His first premise is that people are not equal, therefore they shouldn't be treated as such. His second principle is that humans can't change. Not within our own lifetime. Not as a species through the sweep of history. Therefore government should quit trying to do anything to help anyone improve their lives. “Jails not Schools” could be his motto.

Then Murray provides the obligatory attack on single mothers and comes to the startling, ultra-controversial politically incorrect conclusion that people who grow up in stable families and communities are more likely to have rewarding jobs and stay out of prisons than those who don't. Of course these brilliant insights absolutely slay the dreaded liberal, anti-family straw monster; but he makes no policy proposals to do anything about it. In fact, all of his previous arguments seem to say that nothing can be done. People are not equal and they can never change. Presumably, government only wastes taxpayer money by trying.

Funny, it seems to me there is a model of human society that adequately deals with Murray's concern for keeping people employed and out of prison. That would be, ummm, the European model.

Yep, Charles Murray and the Washington Post. Another episode of Wingnut Wonderland.