It’s not so much the money as the stupidity, which massively expands under such generous subvention. When it emerged that President Barack Obama had appointed a Communist as his “green jobs czar,” I carelessly assumed it was the usual youthful “idealism”: no doubt Van Jones, the Communist Obama appointee in question, had been a utopian college student caught up in the spirit of ’68 and gone along for the ride. A passing phase. Soon grow out of it. But, in fact, Mr. Jones became a Communist in the mid-nineties, after the fall of the Soviet Union. He embraced Communism after even the commies had given up on it. Like the song says, he was commie after commie had ceased to be cool. On Fox News, Glenn Beck made a fuss about it. But the “mainstream” media thought this was frankly rather boorish, and something only uptight right-wing squares would do. I mean, what’s the big deal? True, everywhere it’s been implemented, Communism causes human misery—not to mention an estimated 150 million deaths. But it doesn’t make you persona non grata in the salons of the West. Quite the opposite. The Washington Post hailed the grizzled folkie Pete Seeger as America’s “best-loved commie”—which, unlike “America’s best-loved Nazi,” is quite a competitive title. Even so, why would you stick a commie in the White House and put him in charge of anything to do with jobs, even “green jobs”?
Well, because “green jobs” is just another of those rich-enough-to-be-stupid scams. The Spanish government pays over $800,000 for every “green job” on a solar-panel assembly line. This money is taken from real workers with real jobs at real businesses whose growth is being squashed to divert funds to endeavours that have no rationale other than their government subsidies—and which would collapse as soon as the subsidies end. Yet Tim Flannery, the Aussie climate-alarmist who chaired the Copenhagen racket, says we need to redouble our efforts. “We’re trying to act as a species,” he says, “to regulate the atmosphere.”
Er, “regulate the atmosphere”? Why not? We’re rich enough to be stupid with the very heavens.
In his book The Tyranny of Guilt: An Essay on Western Masochism (La tyrannie de la pénitence), the French writer Pascal Bruckner concludes by quoting Louis Bourdaloue, the celebrated Jesuit priest at the court of Louis XIV, who preached on the four kinds of conscience: 1) the good and peaceful; 2) the good and troubled; 3) the bad and troubled; 4) the bad and peaceful. The first is to be found in Heaven, the second in Purgatory, the third in Hell, and the fourth—the bad but peaceful conscience—sounds awfully like the prevailing condition of the West at twilight. We are remorseful to a fault—indeed, to others’ faults.
It’s not just long-ago sins like imperialism and colonialism and Eurocentric white male patriarchy and other fancies barely within living memory. Our very lifestyle demands penitence: Americans have easily accessible oil reserves, but it would be wrong to touch them, so poor old BP have to do the “environmentally responsible” thing and be out in the middle of the Gulf a mile underwater. If you’re rich enough to be that stupid, what won’t you subsidize? The top al-Qaeda recruiter in Britain, Abu Qatada, had 150,000 pounds in his bank account courtesy of the taxpayer before the comically misnamed Department for Work and Pensions decided to cut back his benefits.
The green jobs, the gay parades, the jihadist welfare queens, the Greek public sector unions, all have to be paid for by a shrinking base of contributing workers whose children and grandchildren will lead poorer and meaner lives because of the fecklessness of government. The social compact of the postwar era cannot hold. Across the developed world, a beleaguered middle class is beginning to understand that it’s no longer that rich. At some point, it will look at the sheer waste of government spending, the other shoe will drop, and it will decide that it no longer wishes to be that stupid.
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