Thursday, May 26, 2005

gimmie, gimmie, gimmie...

In my formative years, the California punk band called Black Flag was one of my favorites. I really liked one of their early tunes entitled: gimmie, gimmie, gimmie. The chorus, such as it is, was “gimmie, gimmie, gimmie…I need some more—gimmie, gimmie, gimmie…don’t ask what for…1234… As a naïve kid that was raised by southern conservative Christian parents, I thought that those lyrics were facetious. I thought: “surely nobody expects to receive anything just by demanding it”. Well, I was wrong on both counts. Keith Johnny Morris, Black Flag’s original lead singer, who went on to form the Circle Jerks, another band I enjoyed, was/is quite a lefty. He was an outspoken critic of Reagan and Thatcher in the 80’s.

I mention all that because of a new poll that Dada linked to via Sirotablog. The poll results suggest that a majority of Americans do in fact desire government "gimmies", which is unfortunately nothing new. Dada wrote this:
I've been saying for a while now that the electorate is there for the Democrats' taking, if only they would work toward being the party of a credible economic populism ('credible' as in, more than just populist rhetoric every four years--I'm looking at you, Al Gore). So much hand-wringing over how the Democrats lost rural voters has ignored the most obvious answer: rural, working class voters do not believe that the Democrats are looking out for their economic interests. And with good reason, too.
By “economic interests”, I presume that Dada means various government programs that take from Peter to support Paul. I simply cannot understand how populists justify such theft. Do they think that government ‘creates’ the revenue that it so liberally doles out? Or, does their hatred and jealously for the ‘rich’ (the definition of whose net wealth is constantly shrinking) lead them to construct a “moral code” that is anything but moral? It’s a bit of a stretch to claim that one citizen is morally responsible for another, which is altogether different from consensual assistance freely given…whether time, treasure, talent or any combination of the three.

The sad reality is that people on the left and the right have their hands out to be filled by the public treasury. This is by definition ‘tyranny of the majority’. When the layers of emotion are peeled back, populism clearly touts the use of government to plunder and pillage. At its core, it boils down to: from each according to his ability, to each according to his need. This may be too much to ask, but can’t the voting public take personal responsibility and reject the opportunism of Washington’s parasites? I’ll be holding my breath…