December 01, 2009
Bah Humbug 2009
This morning at breakfast my sister asked my father what he would like for Christmas. My father began running down a long list of items he needed to keep his favorite hobby going, then a list of items he needed to do small handiman-type jobs around the house, then onto more expensive tools that would be nice to have but which he had no particular use for at this time. Today is also my father's birthday. He is 71 years old.
Somewhere along the line I lost sight of the magic of the holiday season. I don't ask for gifts anymore, haven't for at least a score of years. Since I am in America and will be here for the holiday season, I bought the members of my family Visa pre-paid debit cards with an amount large enough to buy themselves each a pretty nice present, or a dinner at a pretty good restaurant, or anything they felt they needed. If someone gives me a similar present I will thank them politely but it won't really give me the same thrill it gives others.
I guess the problem is I don't really need anything anymore. Once our new house is finished and I move in I'll be busy writing, doing landscaping, and so on. I'm looking forward to having a couple years on my own while my wife finishes up her business in Tokyo and our two boys get started on their adult lives. I suppose if someone gives me a Christmas present of items for the new house I'll be pleasantly surprised, but I don't feel any need to ask for anything. Given time I'm certain everything will work out just fine, even if the current world economy completely collapses. Anything I cannot buy I can find a way to make. Anything I can neither buy nor make, I can find a substitute for.
You see, I have spent twenty-five years in the middle of Tokyo. Being surrounded by crowds twenty-four hours a days, seven days a week, three hundred sixty-five days a year has soured my opinion of humanity. Watching tens of millions of people scrambling around looking for ways to destroy one another in order to rise to the top of the heap has left me unable to see any "magic" in humanity, let alone in the holidays they celebrate.
And now the Democratic Congress with the backing of a Democratic president is seeking to implement in America the same kind of self-destructive, totally delusional policies that have left a dozen major industrial powers around the world completely bankrupt. Where is the "compassion" in a government-run economy that destroys the motivation of its people? One of the reasons the Japanese people have become so cutthroat in their daily social lives is a deep-seated sense of entitlement that five decades of "social reform" have created in them. I do not want the United States to continue down this road and mimic their "success".
At the end of World War II, liberal-minded social reformers flooded into Japan, each of them utterly convinced that they now had the opportunity to engineer a perfect society. They instituted massive land and wealth redistribution programs, put in place the most comprehensive social welfare programs the world has ever seen, and implemented a mandatory national health insurance program which took wealth from everyone and gave them minimal healthcare in return.
The first thing that happened was massive hyperinflation. All through the fifties and sixties thte Japanese currency lost value, sometimes as much as 300% in one day. All those social welfare programs put so much money into so many hands that the currency could buy nothing. Social unrest ran rampant. Violence became more commonplace than it had been even during the worst periods of Japanese feudalism in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. They outlawed swords, guns, knives, any form of handheld weapon they could imagine, and still the violence spiraled out of control. Finally, they shifted enormous amounts of their national budget into a national police force so large and so extensive that in some neighborhoods there are police boxes every couple of blocks with two to four officers working around the clock.
This is what happens when you create a liberal utopia. Sooner or later you must institute a police state to control the violence. Where does this violence come from? It's simple really. When you provide food, clothing, housing, and healthcare, people have nothing left to work for. Instead, they start looking for ways to express their sense of isolation, their longing for constant love and attention, their need for social recognition. Once the basic needs are met, everyone needs to be regarded as a king. When they do not receive the homage they feel they are entitled to, they get angry.
In Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, once people fulfill biological needs they immediately begin seeking social needs. Social needs are no less desperate, no less painful, than biological needs. The only thing that can suppress any need at any level of the pyramid is either a conscious choice on behalf of the individual to learn to compensate for that need or the existence of an even greater need.
Liberal progressivism is human-centric, secular in nature, and completely focused on social justification of exploitative behavior by a more "enlightened" elite. The core idea of liberal progressivism is that the individual does not know what they need. The only people qualified to provide their needs are the social and economic elite of the political and social order. In the mind of a liberal progressive, the social elite (including but not limited to: actors, professional athletes, lawyers, social workers, bureaucrats and politicians) are "better" than the rest of society and therefore, these "leaders" are responsible for deciding how the rest of us should live. To their mind, their success in their chosen field, especially if that success came through destroying the competition, proves their "fitness" to lead, therefore, the rest of us "deserve" to be exploited.
It is important to note that concepts such as "left", "right", "conservative" and even "liberal", are meaningless. Liberal progressive elitists can claim to be any of these, or even all of them. The one factor that sets apart the liberal progressive is a sincere belief in their own natural superiority. They are elitist to the core. So deeply elitist, in fact, that they honestly believe themselves the humble servants of the rest of us even as they strip us of worldly possessions and force us into positions of subservience to them. If you feel you deserve to be treated better than someone else then you are a liberal progressive. No exceptions. If you feel entitled to ask for anything and everything under the sun in the name of a holiday, a social issue, a personal need, or a personal desire, then you have taken upon yourself an assumption of superiority to the person who you expect to provide that need.
You are entitled to nothing. I am entitled to nothing. No individual anywhere is entitled to anything. If a farmer works all summer to produce fifty thousand bushels of corn, the only person entitled to that corn is the farmer. It does not matter how hungry you are, how hungry the person you are championing is, or how desperate the family you represent is. The farmer planted the corn, tended the corn, took care of the land, harvested the crop, and laid the groundwork for next year. The only person entitled to a share of the farmer's crop is the farmer.
If you want to share in the farmer's crop then what you must do is work for the farmer. Help them plant. Help them harvest. Help them prepare the ground for next year. Help them maintain their buildings and equipment. Cook for them. Clean their barn. Whatever work the farmer tells you to do you must do, because the crop does not belong to you, it belongs to the farmer.
According to the liberal progressive, everyone is entitled to a share of the crop because the farmer must be a compassionate, understanding human being who is willing to share with people around him. If he is not, the people around him are entitled to use whatever violence is necessary to remove the farmer's crop and feed everyone else.
So when someone talks to me about "Christmas spirit" and the only thing they can do is talk about what someone wants or needs, then I say, "bah, humbug!"
If no one around you provides your needs then you alone are responsible for seeing them met. Somewhere along the line Christmas became a season of taking and not a season of giving. As long as people are so selfish, so self-centered, and so immune to the needs of others that the only thing they feel on Christmas morning is disappointment because they don't like the color of the sweater, the brand of the tennis shoes, the power of the computer, or whatever, then I will continue to say, "bah, humbug!"
Christmas is not about the goose in Tiny Tim's pot. Christmas is about the transformation of Ebenezer Scrooge from a selfish old man into a generous employer. As long as liberal progressives feel they are responsible for forcing Ebenezer to give up a goose, they will never understand the real meaning of Christmas, or any other holiday.
It's not about the goose. It's about the transformation of the individual. It's about you learning to put the needs of others before your own.