Guest Post: The Domination of Government And The Decline Of Self-Reliance And Community

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Hugh Smith from Of Two Minds

The Domination of Government and the Decline of Self-Reliance and Community


Is there a causal connection between the rise of the dominant Savior State and the decline of self-reliance and community? How could it not be a causal factor?

The now-classic book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community (2001, by Robert Putnam) documented the steep decline of community and "social capital" in the U.S.:

Television, two-career families, suburban sprawl, generational changes in values--these and other changes in American society have meant that fewer and fewer of us find that the League of Women Voters, or the United Way, or the Shriners, or the monthly bridge club, or even a Sunday picnic with friends fits the way we have come to live. Our growing social-capital deficit threatens educational performance, safe neighborhoods, equitable tax collection, democratic responsiveness, everyday honesty, and even our health and happiness.

While the causal connections between the decline of community and TV, the Internet, two-earner households, suburban sprawl and long commutes, etc., are visible in a common-sense fashion, they miss the primary unspoken causal factor: the growing domination of the Central "Savior" State in every aspect of the economy and society.

From an anthropological or natural-selection point of view--i.e. one informed by sociobiology-- community and marriage alike are at root highly advantageous survival techniques: a group has far more resources than a similar number of isolated individuals, and offspring are more likely to survive and prosper if two parents are devoting resources to their upbringing rather than only one adult is carrying that burden.

In nations dominated by Savior States, there is less reason to invest in community or self-reliance, because the government handles everything.

There is no need to pick up litter in your neighborhood, because it's somebody's job in local government to pick up trash. (When was the last time you saw anyone pick up trash or litter in your neighborhood, town or city?)

There is no need to tutor your own child if they are performing poorly in school--that's the school's job. (This is what teachers hear all the time--"that's your job." Oh really? It's my job to get your kid to do homework instead of surfing the Web or watching TV? How many parents even know what their child is studying, beyond the title of the class?)

If Grandma is lonely then the government should provide a van and staffing to take her to the government-paid senior center.

While many people profess to "get it" that they won't be receiving any Social Security pension when they retire, exactly how has this realization informed their daily finances? Are they making the radical self-reliance adjustments needed to respond to the devolution of the Savior State?

How about Medicare? What are people doing in their day-to-day life to prepare for a future in which the Savior State can't "fix" whatever is wrong with their health? (My Mom has reported that some of her elderly acquaintances have baldly stated that they don't need to adjust their unhealthy lifestyle because "Medicare will give me a new (failing bit).")

We are constantly reassured that "there is plenty of money" for all the Savior State's vast (and ever-expanding) obligations, yet simple grade-school math calls all these happy assumptions into question. Even if we taxed the top 1% at a rate of 70%, that wouldn't be enough to fund the $100 trillion+ future obligations of Medicare, which rises inexorably by 6% a year even as the underlying economy grows at best at a rate of 2%.

Right now, as the 65 million-strong baby Boom generation has barely begun to retire, the nation is running a monumental deficit of $1.6 trillion (more if off-balance sheet borrowing is included), fully 12% of the nation's entire GDP. As I have documented here, Social Security is running deficits in 2011 that weren't supposed to occur until 2018.

There is no limit on the demands of citizens for "more more more" from the Savior State. There "should be" affordable housing for all, heightened security everywhere to keep us safe at all times (how about 200 million security cameras, as a start), and so on. Each Savior State project is needed, necessary, must-have to those receiving the funding.

In such a mindset and politics of experience, then the advantages provided by self-reliance and community wither. The world is complex, and it's the government's job to figure it all out, so we do't need to be informed or to vote. Or, the government is now so big, it doesn't make a difference how we vote.

And why exactly is it now so big, so dominant, so intrusive and so addicted to borrowing to fund its spending? Could it be that people want more "services" but they reject paying for them via higher taxes? This is precisely what polls have found.

In psychology, a dysfunctional, crippling relationship is called "co-dependent." The "taker" dependent on the "giver" is reduced to sullen resentment and abject terror should the "giver" withdraw support; on the other side, the "giver" is sullenly resentful of the burdens imposed by a demanding "taker" who never seems to get healthier or more independent.

Perhaps the dynamic between an ever-more dominant Savior State and a resentful, complicit, dependent-on-bread-and-circuses citizenry is best described as dysfunctionally co-dependent.

Promise people everything--education, housing, safety, retirement, healthcare, job placement, entertainment, the arts, you name it, regardless of their output and engagement--and what need do they have for "old" systems of "social capital" support such as community, marriage, church and other free associations that require commitment, reciprocity and tolerance for others?

Clearly, there are functions such as national defense and protecting the citizenry from predation that government is designed to fulfill. But the evolution from a government tasked with limiting predation and exploitation to a Savior State for all is not as "win-win" as it is commonly depicted by enthusiasts buoyed by their rock-solid faith in the government's printing presses to "pay for everything for everybody forever."

The costs are not just financial. The government has paid for the lane, it's our "right," so now we bowl alone.

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NOTW777's picture

conservatives and the tea party have been preaching self responsibility/discipline for some time.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Yeah, that must be why Nixon (a conservative president) took us off the gold standard and every conservative president since has increased the deficit during their term.

Still believing in that two-party lie?  Your politicians speak for the central banking cartel and not you.

PMs demand accountability, because NO government representative, party shill, or harvard trained fuckwad economist can create them out of thin air.  Markets and economies that refuse to deal with the fraud they create will die as capital (in many forms) and talent will see the fraud and find another market to participate in.  History shows this over and over. 

I love how those "conservatives" love to have wars that they can not afford, yeah, that's discipline for you.  Care to bet me an ounce of gold that that "conservative"-controlled house of representatives will still vote to raise the debt ceiling?

BobPaulson's picture

Deconstructing the dualistic and simplistic model is a good place to start. Both sides thing the other is the childish "dark side" of the Force. For some it feels like an atavistic impulse that must be an inherent truth of the human condition. Sure, Marx said some smart things but the bipolar model reads like a fairy tale.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Yes.  I guess the real question becomes, what happens when all the world markets become corrupt and capital and talent has no where to really "go" per se?  I'll hold my physical gold and silver just the same and still play the markets when obvious trades present themselves.  

One does wonder when do humans recognize the finite nature of their existence and devise an appropriate economic model?  Do they ever?  Just the same, I'll stay self-sufficient and make sure my neighbors do likewise.  I have this funny feeling that, regardless of the fiat currency in play, economies are going to become increasingly more "local".

ex VRWC's picture

I can only say, in a nutshell, your comment is far too indicative of the attitude around here.

You say the world markets are corrupt, then you say you play them when obvious trades present themselves.  Does that make you corrupt?

You cay that humans need to devise an appropriate economic model, and you say your strategy is to hold PMs.  Is that a component of an 'appropriate economic model?'

I am not picking on you in particular, I just find it striking how we can all talk about how corrupt and doomed it all is while strategizing how we play it for maximum advantage for ourselves.  

What constitutes a 'principled stand' in these times?  I don't think 'hold PMs and trade' is really it.

LawsofPhysics's picture

"Does that make you corrupt?"

To do nothing, is to allow the corruption to continue.  I look for and support equities that bring real value to the economy.  I do my own homework and I still need to pay bills.  If everyone did the same thing, bad business models would eventually fail.  Get busy living or get busy dying dude. If you see a problem, get off your ass, do your homework and at least try to make a difference instead of just blogging about it.

MachoMan's picture

It's ok to say that the nanny state (and its FED enablers) make us all corrupt...  albeit to differing degrees.

ex VRWC's picture

Wow assuming much aren't we.  I find 'ways to make a difference' as you say while operating 3 separate businesses that employ people or get money to them in some way or another.  I fail to see how trading the market will help bad business models (such as the FIRE economy) to fail.  If you search my posts you will find I have little time to blog, and I have things I am doing to 'try and make a difference'.

For me, I don't trade the market in any way. I have completely checked out of the casino.  Just because the game is there does not mean I have to play it.  I also do not participate in the debt based economy.  I am forced to pay taxes so I do that.

My comment was not directed at anyone in particular, just in general, we will not look at how our own actions fuel the system we decry so much.

Missiondweller's picture

Don't hate the player, hate the game.

BobPaulson's picture

I'm not the Dalai Lama here or anything but maybe don't hate anything? I can't say I practise that, by the way.

mtomato2's picture

Fool.

He never said anything about politics, much less party politics.  He said "Conservative," a word that actually MEANS something, like liberal and progressive.  "Conservative" the ideology has been thoroughly hijacked by "Republicans" the party.  As has the Tea Party Movement itself.  Conservative, almost by definition, MEANS self-reliance.  Party politics, almost by definition, means the polar opposite.

Conservatives would NEVER vote to raise the debt ceiling.  Republicans almost certainly will.

LawsofPhysics's picture

He did in fact say "the tea party".  What other facts do you like to ignore?

mtomato2's picture

What in hell are you talking about?  Who is "he?"

LawsofPhysics's picture

The comment I replied too (and presumably you replied to my comment), just reading English dude.

malek's picture

While I agree, you should refrain from using the word "liberal", a term that has become distorted so much it is now meaningless without a modifier (like "liberal in its original meaning two hundred years ago" or "liberal as in freedom of choice, not freedom from responsibility nor guarantee of results").

BobPaulson's picture

Also keep in mind the word "liberal" has almost the exact opposite meaning in Europe as it does in the States.

NOTW777's picture

you sound like an angry obama voter

LawsofPhysics's picture

Go back a bit.  Via hard work and good choices I am a very fortunate, but somewhat disappointed, Ross Perot voter.

weinerdog43's picture

And you sound like a dipstick.

mtomato2's picture

...and YOU sound like a wiener.  Dog.

NOTW777's picture

do you count libya as a war started by conservatives?

who wants to raise the debt ceiling more - geithner and obama or conservatives

downwiththebanks's picture

Anyone who supports bailouts for banker-gangsters and the annihilation of the world's Black and Brown people supports taking on more debt from banker-gangsters who charge the people interest to bail them out.

What an amazing racket they're being allowed to carry out!

LawsofPhysics's picture

They are all the same evil, what is your point?

Missiondweller's picture

"Still believing in that two-party lie?"

 

No, that's why the Tea Party started genius.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Oh yeah, the jumped right out there and established themselves as a bunch of geniuses now didn't they?  Why do they caucus with the republicans then?  In short, they have done a piss-poor job of breaking ties to the republicans.  I guess they like that republican tit.

downwiththebanks's picture

They do so rather than confront the fact that their economic system has failed to provide a satisfactory life or income for the vast majority of the people it enslaves.

Rather than blame the slaver, GOPers would rather blame the slaves.

tired1's picture

I've been trying to figure out the 'end game'. China's Treasury holdings can be dumped by some concocted scenario, same with Japan and the rest. What about the Fed's holdings? How do they expect to get away with this? Sooner or later most of even the most stupid of Americans are going to figure out that debt payments are going to this parasitic entity, and then what? Or am I being too optimistic?

Meatier Shower's picture

I believe it was Einstein who once said that there are only two things that are infinite. The universe, and human stupidity.

MachoMan's picture

He also said he wasn't sure about the latter...

tired1's picture

Question: What's the most powerful force in the universe?

Einstein: Compound interest!

Tense INDIAN's picture

Have u guys listened to this SPEECH from 1994:::

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZdinrakQVQ

WALLST8MY8BALL's picture

Getting off the couch is just another Job American's dont want to do.

TheTmfreak's picture

Its not really even a couch anymore its a computer chair. Although I guess now with laptops the couch has made a comeback.

Clampit's picture

I'd love to get up off this computer chair, but as it turns out the only way to make any real money in our central planned republic is through "knowledge work." Allen wrenches, oscilloscopes, TIG's, etc. are all the spoils of a $60-70K salary.

Gamblor's picture

This piece is good, however, it's hard to take it too seriously when it mentions nothing about the national question and immigration.

When you import 25M low-IQ, manual labor providing Central Americans into your economy, not only do you keep poor people poor by expanding the labor pool, you contribute to Putnam's "Bowling Alone" philosophy.  People don't trust those different from them as easily.

As the population mean IQ drops because of these additions, more government is needed to support the bad choices that inevitably come along with these immigrants.  This is a funny, if sad primer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSROlfR7WTo

So, yeah.  The government is unwieldly and inefficient.  I got it.  But what creates the need for more government?  What is the justification? 

 

LFMayor's picture

Spot on.  More seeds to grow in the vote gardens.  Watered with tax dollars taken from the productive.  They sprout into droves of voters, who ensure the encumbant with the watering can gets the job of gardener every time. 

Inner city Blacks had hit a ceiling, they weren't ever going to be enough percentage wise of the population to ensure perpetual job security for the political parasites.  Solution: influx a new crop of hyper breeders who view any step up from their shithole countries of origin as a plus.  That's an added feature, they're satisfied with less for a generation or two, making them a better value to the upper level parasite class by extending the game 20 years or so before the productive are bled dry by demographics.

topcallingtroll's picture

Sadly this is true.

These poor immigrants come here for economic purposes and have no understanding of traditional american values. As a generalization they believe in, and vote for, big government solutions, in spite of their experience with failed, despotic, corrupt, overbearing governments in their countries of origin.

tip e. canoe's picture

"These poor immigrants come here for economic purposes and have no understanding of traditional american values."

i've met more than my fair share of 'poor immigrants' in my life, and much more often than not, they understand & embody "traditional american values" (as long as you consider these values to be hard work, honesty & ingenuity) far better than any native-born Amerikan i've ever met.

you might be right that they still by & far believe in big government solutions, but this is simply because they still believe in the Myth of American Dream.   silly them.

Holodomor2012's picture

Since we are contributing anecdotes, I've met my fair share as well.  Far too many are untrustworthy.  If you turn your back on them they will steal your tools or the property of your clients.  Yes they work hard - the first generation.  Their children just end up violent, anti-American (white), lazy criminals.

tip e. canoe's picture

"If you turn your back on them they will steal your tools or the property of your clients."

and i've met my fair share of white good ol' 4th generation + southern boys who have done the same thing.   when caught, they always try to weasel their way out of it using that charmin' syrupy sweettalk of theirs.

does that mean i should make a generalization that all white southern boys are untrustworthy and full of palaver?

Holodomor2012's picture

Yeah, you can generalize if you want.  I like generalization.  Although I think you're exaggerating the ratio of white to non-white criminals.  Did you know that blacks are 7 times more likely to rape than whites?  Also you might be interested that the FBI categorizes Mexicans as White in order to rig crime statistics that would otherwise be shocking.

I'm not making assumptions as to why that is, although the old canard "it's the poverty" has shown itself to be false.  We need to look elsewhere.  I suggest we start by looking at the evil whitey meme that is reinforced by the Jew media.  There is a good chance that this might be inflaming criminal behavior and a sense of entitlement. 

tip e. canoe's picture

not exaggerating mate, just relating my experience which is no more or less valid than anyone else's.   don't doubt the feds manipulate any and all stats to suit their purposes, though i wonder why you choose to believe the 7x's figure if you agree?  also wonder if that's just Mexicans or is it dudes from Guatemala, Costa Rica & Honduras as well?

"I like generalization."   so does the Nation of Islam, so you're in good company.

Holodomor2012's picture

You're NOI?  I have to say, LF is one of the rare truth speakers of our time.  God bless.

tip e. canoe's picture

naw, but i do like to read the Final Call from time to time just for shits & giggles.   there's actually some good articles in there on occasion.   definitely more of a bang for the buck than the Times or the Post.

Gamblor's picture

Holodomor2012,

You'll be happy to know that your empirical knowledge is backed up by the several studies that have shown regression from the first generation of immigrants to the second and follow-on generations.  First generation works hard and the rest backslide.  This is not necessarily true for higher-IQ immigrants, but they get on the back end with "chain migration".  The US Government is open for business, and it grows with every dependent citizen.  Welcome one and welcome all for your free healthcare, educational prioritization and cheap mortgages (pre-2007, of course).

Open borders advocates think that our current crop of illegals are comparable to the Irish, Italians, Poles and Germans in the early part of the 20th century.  There is some truth to that (IQ-wise).  But the US implemented a 50 year immigration moratorium to allow those ethnics to "melt together".  This led to the creation of a "white" people as intermarriage rates rapidly increased and led to what some of have called the "golden years of America" - the 1950s and early 60s.  Intermarriage rates these days are quite low (under 10%) as more groups self-select not only their spouses, but where they live and who they associate with.  It's human nature!  When they vote, they don't vote for what's best for the nation - they vote for someone from their group.  Why shouldn't they?  I'd rather get screwed by someone I know than someone I don't.  Oh what a tangled wed we weave...

 

downwiththebanks's picture

If this regression is true (and it sounds like fake science)  what does that imply about the White decedents of the original genociders?

Does it make them less efficient, useful, and productive overall, or just less able to carry out genocide with efficiency?

Gamblor's picture

Always a bad move arguing with a troll, but here's some of that fake science:

http://www.cis.org/ImmigrantParadox

 

downwiththebanks's picture

Exactly what I thought:  total junk science, based on poor methodology like test scores and crime rates, which we know are RIGGED worse than the CPI.

I think it's previous title was "Journal of Blame the Slave for Slavery".

And before that it was the house organ for the Know Nothing Party!

Byronio's picture

Gamblor Wed, 05/18/2011 - 13:07 #1287753

I read a report by STEVEN CAMAROTA of CIS a few years back and he showed that Mexican-Americans use more welfare, more government services than they pay in taxes, a LOT more. These were 3rd generation.

LawsofPhysics's picture

Good points, the immigrants that came here during WWII learned English and didn't demand schools that spoke their native tongue.  To be fair, if you don't like the current system, work to change it but don't rob me and my children in the process.