Tag Archives: western civilization

Shame On You! What’s Your Consumption Factor?

It is interesting how wealthy liberals are continually blaming the American middle class for global warming, terrorism, and pretty much all of the world’s problems.

Simply put, it is all your fault.

Our Consumption Factor Imperils Us All

“People in the third world are aware of this difference in per capita consumption, although most of them couldn’t specify that it’s by a factor of 32. When they believe their chances of catching up to be hopeless, they sometimes get frustrated and angry, and some become terrorists, or tolerate or support terrorists…The only way out is to make consumption rates and living standards more equal around the world. We could have a stable outcome in which all countries converge on consumption rates considerably below the current highest levels.”

 

And if the guilt and emotional blackmail over the melting glaciers and shrinking polar bear genitalia wasn’t enough, now the fact that not all of the world shares our lifestyle (or conversely, we are not as poverty stricken as they are) is cause for serious self-examination and self-blame.  I don’t think I can bear it. After staggering under the “white man’s burden” for 2,000 years of colonization and exploitation of those of a darker hue, now I must shoulder the burden for causing Islamic terrorism and the devastating changes to our planet that will quickly lead to the extinction of the human race.

All because my children have clean water to drink and live in a heated home while their father drives a vehicle to work and buys his socks, toothpaste and corn flakes at a big box store. Even worse is the fact that their mother washes their clothes in a machine instead of scrubbing them clean on the rocks in the river and has the audacity to make them pop tarts once in awhile.

For that, we are to blame for the impoverishment of Kenyans, the envy of those less fortunate, the actions of fanatical suicide bombers, and the waste and consumption of the world’s resources by those seeking to attain the lifestyle of the average American.

Yet such hand wringing and finger pointing essays never mention the percentage of the world’s wealth, innovation, food, and scientific and medical advances that should be rightly credited to those greedy consumers of natural resources and unfair users of electricity and air conditioning. If it wasn’t for the technological and medical breakthroughs originating in the West, there would be far fewer than 30 million Kenyans. Consumption is directly related to productivity. Those who don’t produce, don’t consume.

The “solutions” offered to solve this grave problem of Western over-consumption is always little more than authoritarian socialism and forced reallocation of wealth. It may be disguised as higher fuel taxes, carbon taxes, and luxury or consumption taxes or be little more than manipulation of regulations to control or inhibit industry, refineries, manufacturing and drilling under the guise of environmentalism. But the overall goal to sharply reduce the lifestyle of the average American (and Westerner) has been laid out in clear and unapologetic terms by globalists and the liberal elite. It used to be that the goal was to raise the lifestyle and condition of the impoverished and disadvantaged. That seems to be no longer the case.

The wealthy West as spent countless billions in an attempt to improve the condition of other peoples, with very little gratitude to show for it. And now the focus has shifted away from helping those unfortunates have access to clean water, rudimentary medical care, or not be butchered or starved for political purposes, but towards attacking those in the West for daring to have a computer to blog with while corrupt governments continue to allow their citizens to dwell in dirty, crime ridden shantytowns.

So, with my eyes newly opened to the plight of those other dwellers of planet earth, I decided to take stock of what I now feel guilty for having or providing for myself, my spouse, and my three daughters. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

  • Electricity for lighting my home and powering appliances (my Christmas lights were definitely unnecessary).
  • Running water
  • Refrigerator and deep freeze for preserving food for later use.
  • Washer and dryer
  • DVD players
  • Stereo.
  • A couple of computers.
  • Multiple TV’s
  • Toaster
  • Dishwasher
  • Stove
  • Microwave
  • Hot water heater
  • Two cars. (My wife and I both have to get to work)
  • Store bought clothes made from synthetic fibers, undoubtedly manufactured by oppressed peoples in Sri Lanka, Mexico, or China.
  • And I won’t even begin to detail the unnecessary trips for a big gulp, a burger and fries, or those wasteful stops at the dollar store.

My wife and I have worked very hard to achieve a semblance of a middle class lifestyle and to provide a decent and comfortable standard of living, education, and medical attention for ourselves and our children. I refuse to feel guilty for managing to own a toaster or for watching a football game once in awhile. Yet that is what we are, in effect, told to feel.

There are far greater solutions for helping to alleviate the all too true sufferings of far too great a number of the world’s population. For starters, the formation of governments that are not unbelievably corrupt, inefficient, brutal, exploitative, and backwards would be a start. The reevaluation of foreign aid (by the evil West) including who it is distributed to and what it is used to purchase, should be completely overhauled. Innovation will go a long ways in bringing in everything from tourist dollars to foreign investment.

Responsible stewardship of funds, natural resources, and the elimination of corruption would do far more to improve the lot of the third world than any policies fueled by guilt or jealousy of the lifestyle and modern technological advances we have managed to achieve in the First World.

Only the village idiots truly believe that if an American didn’t buy a television it would help a Kenyan, or that by not purchasing some DVDs he would help ease the driving envy of the Chinese or defuse the potential jihadist. The agenda is now far less about helping the rest than just about tearing down the West.

The West is the Best, But May Die Like the Rest

cradle_of_western_civilization_lg

When a civilization fails to preserve itself from threats arising from within, which can be physical, material, or ideological in nature, it is at risk of collapse. This collapse is typically followed by anarchy, and ultimately tyranny; which can be of the mind or by the sword. When a civilization fails to defend itself from threats arising from without, it can be infiltrated or invaded. The civilization can be corrupted, subjugated, absorbed, or destroyed.

Civilizations rise when they are ideologically sound, and fall when they become ideologically corrupted. Cultural traditions provide the ideals that city-states, societies, colonies, states, and nations hold aloft as the guiding lights for greatness. Cultures define good and evil, right and wrong, and virtue and vice. Civilizations thrive on open information, free communication and social feedback mechanisms, like democratic elections and sound currency. Cut off human communication, and social systems collapse; they often revert to collective violence to futilely preserve the order.

Government coercion therefore reflects a failure of civilization. Debt and deficits are signs that a people are becoming detached from economic reality, and are immorally and unrealistically living at the expense of future generations. Rationalization of unsustainable lifestyles involve a corruption of language; and entail censorship in the final act when the exploited rise up against their exploiters.

Turning upside down who is being exploited by whom is thus a key strategy of socialism; it leads to civil war, or an intra-societal war, instead of an organized cooperative overthrow of the exploitative state. Scapegoating is a clear sign of a civilization in collapse: as Ayn Rand pointed out, the Nazis had the Jews, the Soviets had the kulaks, and Americans have the rich. When people are unable to accept personal responsibility for their own lives, they vote for a party that reflects this mental weakness.  The democratic party eggs this on and thrives on it. Socialism is in many ways the codification of an ethos of avoiding personal responsibility.

The ancient Greeks had a double-edged word for revolution and stagnation termed stasis. Stasis is that state when an existent polity has stopped believing in fundamental ideals necessary for societal cohesion and order; it is a state of fugue and entropy that disorients the citizenry by removing the institutional, cultural, and traditional framework that gives rise to a relatively predictable, stable, and orderly life. Stasis produces a mental state of aimlessness and desperation for strong leadership; it can give rise to tyranny, military adventurism, and hubris.

It is important to note that the rise of Western Civilization did not emerge from a utopian vision of mankind, but one which sees man as a political and vain animal that must be given the opportunity to compete with others for power and wealth, without holding out the possibility of political or economic domination. Thus the Madisonian idea, derived from the Baron de Montesquieu, of divided powers and checks and balances.

The philosophies of the Enlightenment hold out the promise of a better, more peaceful and prosperous world by acknowledging that men are capable of knowing their own self-interest and pursuing it, while allowing others the opportunity to do the same. If reasonable men can agree to these rules, then society can become collaborative, prosperous and enjoyable. If they reject them, then man is locked into a constant political war for resources.

These ideas and ideals can be categorized as “rational self-interest” and extended to imply not only political but also economic principles. Rational self-interest entails mutual cooperation and trade of the fruits of one’s freely chosen labor so that people in a just societal order can pursue happiness of their own accord and allow others to do likewise.

The proper and dignified life for man is one of personal challenge and triumph over obstacles, and the laissez-faire economic order provides all but the most helpless, clueless, and lazy the opportunity to eventually succeed. This is not to say that we cannot help one another, but help must be freely given, not coerced by exploitative politicians and their parasitical clients. Which brings us to another aspect of the Enlightenment, economic freedom built on the premise of private property.

Private property is indispensable to freedom, because without private property, one is vulnerable to the whims of the state or the collective. Without private property, one lacks the mental security and the sense of self-determination necessary to work in the confidence that the fruits of one’s labor will not be seized. Furthermore, one must be allowed to own and pursue wealth not only because it is key to freedom and prosperity, but also because it is conducive to peace.

When one has the freedom of opportunity to pursue wealth and ascend in social esteem and influence, then one has an alternative to the unabashed struggle for political power, which alternatively would imply economic control. History teaches that when a small group of elites have political and economic control, men are enslaved, persecuted, and oppressed in order for the elites to perpetuate their privileged status in society. Yet many fail to take such a hard-won historical lesson seriously. They fail to understand the historical struggle against tyranny that gave birth to the founding principles of life, liberty, and property.

Why do millions of Americans refuse to acknowledge or react to the dire threats to our nation? While many citizens are alarmed at the unchecked growth of government, there are still millions of apathetic, ill-informed, ignorant, parasitical, moderate, or progressive Americans who are unable or unwilling to see the dangers mounting from such growth. They cannot see that the increase of government power is directly related to the multiplication and exacerbation of our problems, which are economic, social, and national security-related.

This is because a nation becomes most vulnerable when the majority of people become removed from objective reality through the perversion of rational self-interest; this is how people’s ability to perceive threats is disabled.

The government uses a number of tactics to disarm people’s willingness or mental awareness to oppose the threat that comes from the growth of its power. It makes government power appear to these people as harmless, compassionate, or even desirable. It uses the false appearance of self-interest to “jujitsu” the system to collapse; it mainly does this by issuing paper money, which appears to be money, but it is not real money (Austrian School economist Ludwig von Mises defined money as a “store of wealth”).

Since there is a “deal of ruin” in a nation, as Adam Smith put it, entire generations of Americans can live at the expense of future generations. The industrial base is gutted as people transfer into education, civil service, or bureaucratic jobs, who serve a growing number of clients of the welfare state.

The ultimate result of the corruption of rational self-interest is the collapse of the American system of ordered liberty, and, due to the ignoble state of all of Europe, the demise of Western Civilization. Intellectual leadership will be key to restoring the institutions that can preserve and promote any sense of rational self-interest for each citizen; an incremental return to citizens living in accordance with objective reality and the human psyche is therefore paramount to success.