Thursday, June 26, 2014

Dalrymple On Dependency

Anthony Daniels long wrote under the nom de plume of Theodore Dalrymple, probably because he was an employee of the British government as a psychiatrist.  A very tragic discussion of the welfare state by Daniels is in the May/June 2014 Imprimis, published by Hillsdale College.  It is well worth reading in full, because it describes where we are headed.  A couple of choice segments:
I remember a population that was terrified of falling into dependence on the state, because such dependence, apart from being unpleasant in itself, signified personal failure and humiliation. But there has been an astonishing gestalt switch in my lifetime. Independence has now come to mean independence of the people to whom one is related and dependence on the state. Mothers would say to me that they were pleased to be independent, by which they meant independent of the fathers of their children -- usually more than one -- who in general were violent swine. Of course, the mothers knew them to be violent swine before they had children by them, but the question of whether a man would be a suitable father is no longer a question because there are no fathers: The state would provide.
 While Daniels is talking about what has happened in Britain, we are seeing the same situation with the rapidly rising disability rates in the U.S.:
One of the curious features of England in the recent past is that it has consistently maintained very high levels of state-subsidized idleness while importing almost equivalent numbers of foreigners to do unskilled work....
The governments of Britain, of both political parties, managed to lessen the official rate of unemployment by the simple expedient of shifting people from the ranks of the unemployed to the ranks of the sick.  This happened on such a huge scale that, by 2006--a year of economic boom, remember--the British welfare state had achieved the remarkable feat of producing more invalids than the First World War.  But it is known that the majority of those invalids had no real disease.

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