Social Programs breed cruelty
September 6, 2003 1:34 AM   Subscribe

" Socialism teaches you to avoid taking care of other people. The state will – why should you?  If people in France and elsewhere in Europe take less care of their aging parents, it is because they are taught from childhood to allow others – i.e., the state – to take care of everybody... The bigger the government, the worse the people."
posted by gregb1007 (47 comments total)
Et un brulot, un! Not even worth the match to torch it.
posted by NewBornHippy at 1:49 AM on September 6, 2003

People who make arguments like this are like the guests who bring the cheapest possible dish to a pot luck supper and laud the generosity of those who weren't so clever.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:51 AM on September 6, 2003

This is garbage, mindless Europe bashing.

>Eleven thousand unnecessary deaths occurred in France largely because socialism inevitably breeds hedonism, selfishness, and callousness.

Oh please, its been known for quite sometime that Europe is not as air conditioner saturated as the US, thus older people are at risk of dying in the heat.

Also, how much better are private and expensive rest homes for the elderly? How caring are the kids who let mom and dad go into those places? The extended family with grandpa living the extra bedroom while stay-at-home mom watches the kids and grandpa has been dead for quite a while in the western world.

>First, the socialist mind loathes work

Yeah, I'm sure Prager would love to roll back the 40 hour work week Americans fought and died to create. If Prager loves work, why is he a pro-religious writer, shouldnt he be out in the hot sun with the construction people?

>And as we all know from watching our children, people with a lot of time on their hands have character problems.

Maybe for the people Prager knows. The people I know cherish their free time, use it for creative endevors, spend time with their kids, etc.

>Fourth, as a result of this socialist mindset, people in socialist countries give little charity

Gee, Prager, maybe be there's less of a need for charitable organizations when evil socialists and they're lazy kids are already getting healthcare and university access subsidized?

This is just a straw-man thinly veiled attack on secularism and the ideal that government should be working for us, not us working for it. Prager is a pro-religious nutjob using 11,000 deaths to scream "GO USA." Pathetic.
posted by skallas at 1:57 AM on September 6, 2003

what a troll.

As for "Europe has given the world Marxism, communism, fascism, Nazism, racism, and socialism, all rotten ideas that have caused immeasurable human suffering.", well look what we can find elsewhere on this site
posted by ruelle at 2:07 AM on September 6, 2003

ruelle, nice find.

" is a media watchdog and conservative news site" No, really?

Considering I just saw the photo of the little girl killed in the last attack I find this one to be pretty sickening.

These guys make newsmax look level-headed.
posted by skallas at 2:10 AM on September 6, 2003

Wait a minute... Europe gave the world racism? Maybe so, but I thought we perfected that.

And yeah... an article posted on an admitted conservative news site that's actually from a writer who writes for WorldNetDaily. That's all I need to know regarding credibility.

I mean, Europe also gave the world democracy, too, but that seems to be pretty conveniently looked over... blah blah blah... Okay, that's all the energy I see fit to waste on this.
posted by nath at 2:16 AM on September 6, 2003

ruelle says Europe has given the world Marxism, communism, fascism, Nazism, racism, and socialism, all rotten ideas that have caused immeasurable human suffering.", well look what we can find elsewhere on this site

Who was the country that condoned slavery of the black race over several centuries? That made lynch mobs famous? It wasn't Europe. Evert country has a list of evils, but the US is no better.
posted by tljenson at 2:27 AM on September 6, 2003

"ruelle says"

I think ruelle was quoting, actually..

And that's about as much thought as this thread deserves.. Candidate for deletion?
posted by cell at 2:31 AM on September 6, 2003

Could a grouping of words be any more intellectually vapid?

If not satire, why the fuck was this posted?
posted by crasspastor at 2:35 AM on September 6, 2003

"If not satire, why the fuck was this posted?"

Falmebait? /rhetoric
posted by Blue Stone at 2:52 AM on September 6, 2003

Just a load of BS.

I've seen these claims before and I'm once again amazed by the total lack of empathy regarding this unfortunate tragedy.

Previously discussed here.
posted by hoskala at 3:02 AM on September 6, 2003

As far as I can recall, the current government of France is not socialist. The author of this article then, is either attributing the heatwave deaths to the residual influence of past administrations or to some latent popular socialist mindset... which is poorly and weakly thought-out nonsense. Also, I can't figure out why gregb1007, having felt compelled to share this with us, linked to a rehash of the article, rather than the original.
posted by misteraitch at 3:04 AM on September 6, 2003

Flamebait? /rhetoric

And that's what just sickens me. Why?
posted by crasspastor at 3:08 AM on September 6, 2003

Yeah, socialism causes old people to die. Idiot. Not having social healthcare causes people to die.
posted by Keyser Soze at 3:42 AM on September 6, 2003

Heat is socialist?
posted by ugly_n_sticky at 3:47 AM on September 6, 2003

gregb1007 (a name to remember) has just scored 1000 troll points to lead all trolls in the September race to irrelevancy. All future posts now on the ignore list.

I vote that this post be deleted or Metafilter should just abandon all hope to ever having an intelligent discussion about any issue, ever.
posted by sic at 4:31 AM on September 6, 2003

The posted article was written by Dennis Prager, whose articles can be found here.

It just stings because he's exactly right.
posted by hama7 at 4:44 AM on September 6, 2003

and what does capitalism teach you? the market will take care of people, why should you? the more wealth thats generated, the smaller the disparity of wealth? charities and corporate donations will pick up the slack? please.

is capitalism bad? who cares! is socialism bad? who cares! it's 2003 for christ's sake, let go the socialism/communism thing already. I think the problem is that some conservatives reckon that since they are 100% about capitalism, then liberals must be 100% about socialism. or, as I would wager, they know better but still need the talking point to scare people that don't really know anything about politics other than AUGH SOCIALISTS! and AUGH COMMUNISTS! and that liberals always equal taxes and feminists, right sean?

I may be one naked man in the vast political melting pot, but I'd reckon that nobody worth mentioning honestly wants to see a socialist state in america. capitalism is america, but there needs to be a safety net of sorts in place because the system doesn't work for everyone. working hard and being honest will not make you successful, or even necessarily about poverty level.

butt anyways, if I hear one more paranoid right winger bitchin' about socialism, I probably won't do anything about it since you really can't, but y'all should stop anyways ok?
posted by mcsweetie at 4:56 AM on September 6, 2003

It just stings because he's exactly right.
posted by hama7 at 12:44 PM GMT on September 6

Ah, the trolls begin to gather...

It must be mating season.
posted by sic at 5:14 AM on September 6, 2003

I started to read this, thinking maybe some single voice outside of the odd libertarian and paleo-conservative would make sense to me. I would have liked to have seen at least one stat to prove any of the assertions, one tiny bit of evidence.

"In a period of two weeks during August, more than 11,000 elderly French men and women died of heat stroke. It is important to note this is not nearly the scandal in France that it would be in America."

11,000 deaths really is terrible. The event, on a whole, is similiar to the 1995 heat wave in Chicago. 739 mostly elderly, mostly poor people died in a week. It was not a scandal. No one lost their job. In France, the top health official resigned. Mayor Daley asked the media to not blow it of porportion. The Mayor's Commision on Extreme Weather stated, "Government alone can not do it all," in effect blaming victims of a heat wave for not helping themselves.

This is the intro that is dead wrong -- a heat wave in France caused a scandal, a heat wave in the US did not. The very foundation of this little essay is a cracked brick.

In the US, more Americans died from heat waves in the last 15 years than all other natural disasters combined. Where is the constant bleating and rending of flesh over these deaths? A simple answer: there is none. So clearly deaths from heat waves are not a bigger scandal in the US than in France.

As for the bit about the work ethic. He is probably referencing this commentary, not article, that is actually worth reading. Prager apparently read it, but did not glean a single style point from it. His loss.

The commentary rests on somewhat shaky ground, as it purports to vindicate a theory that has long been criticized as little more than social determinism. The commentary does not give a theory for America's greater affluenence, only productivity, contrary to the statement in the essay, "this explains the far greater productivity and affluence of America." Productivity and output do not equal wealth.

Anyway, there are better theories regarding the differences between American and European workers than relying on a 100 year old dead German's comparisions of Protestantism and Catholicism. Here's a simpler one: there is less of a social safety net in the US, which has the effect of keeping American labor working out of sheer terror of losing one's job, as there is little to no help for the unemployed. This is even more true when one compares the benefits available to the average European to the average American worker.

I will continue my search for even mildly persuasive conservatives.
posted by raaka at 5:32 AM on September 6, 2003

Capitalism sure took care of all those people laid off last month.
posted by adampsyche at 5:45 AM on September 6, 2003

misteraitch: right on the money... not only is the current French administration not socialist. But Chirac is actively engaged in an attempt to roll back the welfare state and is pushing policies that can hardly be called socialist... This is what real socialists say about Chirac...

As for the reason for posting this... The only reason I can think of is that it's an excellent example of an astonishingly misinformed article that manages to arrive at its pre-decided conclusion by basing it on total ignorance of the outside world. It invents a parallel reality (in which Chirac is a socialist) and uses it as an argument against "socialism" in France (a capitalist country). This is a case study in seeing the world through the narrow filter of a bizarre ideology.
posted by talos at 5:56 AM on September 6, 2003

raaka: excellent points. Do you have a link for the Chicago heatwave deaths and Daley reaction or for death from heatwave statistics?
posted by talos at 6:00 AM on September 6, 2003

"...or Metafilter should just abandon all hope to ever having an intelligent discussion about any issue, ever."

I thought that happened years ago.
posted by revbrian at 6:36 AM on September 6, 2003

I thought that happened years ago.

well mefi has been around since many years are we talking about? can you recall the specific thread that made you go, "thats it, nothing intelligent will ever come out of these discussions?"
posted by mcsweetie at 7:32 AM on September 6, 2003

LOL - I love the premise! It's amusing, simplistic, and utterly wrong.

Capitalism, too, has taught us to not take care of each other using the same argument. If you have money, why do you need friends or support? You can just pay for it. If you can't pay for it, well, there's nothing I can do to help - I have to pay for mine, after all.

Drivel. Pure drivel.
posted by FormlessOne at 8:27 AM on September 6, 2003

Not only drivel, but pure lies:
"The Norwegian government recently passed a law that the boards of its largest corporations must be half female."

That's patently untrue.
The law in question is only a proposed law, and given the amount of opposition it's receiving from economists, business and common people, it's not likely to be passed at all.

Old BBC article about it, and the current official status of the proposal. Note that the proposal comes from the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs - not a ministry that carries a lot of weight in business questions.
posted by spazzm at 8:41 AM on September 6, 2003

How did he get from the defendable "Socialism makes people selfish because after all if the state will take care of people why should you" to the utterly preposterous " Socialists are lazy and Judeo-Christian philosophy and work ethic is the One True Way"?

/me notices the sign with an arrow pointed to the right, labeled "Deep End."
posted by ilsa at 9:49 AM on September 6, 2003

Sorry for being Mr. Contrary, but I enjoy this kind of FPPs, albeit in small numbers: an article with a superficially attractive premise is nonetheless shown to be of dubious intellectual merit and barely disguised political bias. Said article is debunked by systematic MetaFilter member debate, using reasoned arguments and supported by relevant links to both the original site and to secondary sources.
posted by philfromhavelock at 10:59 AM on September 6, 2003

Said article is debunked by systematic MetaFilter member debate, using reasoned arguments and supported by relevant links to both the original site and to secondary sources

Pinko. Way to be rational about shit.

Rationality is the reason that heat kills old people. If not for all of ou people and your logical universe, heat wouldn't even be hot.

Care to share why it is exactly right? I mean, people here seem to have taken specific issues with points in the piece. Are they so contemptible as to not be worthy of rebuttal, or are you just convinced by the self-evident nature of any thesis which is up your alley?
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 11:38 AM on September 6, 2003

I am sorry if anyone was offended by this posting. I personally find insanely illogical right-wing diatribes extremely funny. On a sad note, though, believe it or not, there are people who take this stuff seriously. This kinda rhetoric actually helps the White House find support for its unilateralism and Europe bashing.
posted by gregb1007 at 12:00 PM on September 6, 2003

It's the right always "right", even if they are wrong or can't defend their positions?
posted by whirlwind29 at 12:17 PM on September 6, 2003

Yet another elitist right wing nut heard from (Prager that is). Next please? Move along....

When are people going to realize that morons like Prager, Limbaugh and O'Reilly are just as stupid and out of touch with the real world as the left wing elitists they bash.
posted by whirlwind29 at 12:28 PM on September 6, 2003

Enough with the "what a troll!" cracks. Enough people take this kind of thinking seriously to suggest that the post is a sincere, if crude, attempt to persuade us of the truth of its views, and not necessarily "deliberately inflammatory, for the purpose of starting an argument."

Your neighbors, still hooked on unidirectional media like TV, in all probability eat this Dennis Prager crap up, for example ... you elitist yuppie godless knee-jerk liberal digerati wimps! ;-) That's why he's on all media, all the time, and you're posting to MeFi. So what are doing to educate the poor folks about the error of their ways besides calling them troll-monkeys and starting a fistfight you're bound to lose?

I mean, we're dealing with a question of fact here, after all, right? How effective are European welfare states? Is the French case typical? Can the French pension system really be constrasted with our Social Security system in this way? You could probably make a decent case that the current French morass is the future of our system once Bush gets done with losing the Social Security fund in the stock market ...

Then there's that bizarre, Darwinist-paternalistic Straussian notion of "making people better," "cultivating virtue." Not everyone who espouses it is well-informed about its place in intellectual history, but the critique of coercive communitarianism not a prima facie idiotic train of thought. That's what makes it dangerous in the hands of the demagogues, and something to be taken seriously.
posted by hairyeyeball at 5:15 PM on September 6, 2003

Living in L.A., I've been exposed to Dennis Prager's repeated attempts to find new variations on right-wing talkradio for more years than most. Hosting a Sunday Night Religion-themed show, he honed an "Israel has the holy right to wage war against anybody" theme that got him a weekday shift on a top station until Dr. Laura had him for lunch in the local ratings. His recent book, attacking "the pursuit of happiness" under the premise of "cultivating virtue", was such a miscalculation of the marketing of right-wing ideology that I have to assume that he really believes his own shit (and has some incredible selling ability in 'pitch meetings' that doesn't come across on live radio). Another California Original for the state to be ashamed of...
posted by wendell at 5:56 PM on September 6, 2003

"The bigger the government, the worse the people."

Exactly right.

The American Way (the Western Way) was founded upon individual responsibility, individual accomplishment and individual excellence, and when in doubt, check with the Founding Fathers.

For those of us who neither want nor need a nanny state to decide not only how our children and ourselves are to be indoctrinated and restricted, but also how they are to be drugged into complacency and how much the federal government deigns to allow us to keep the money for which we ourselves have worked, the most immoral, condescending, and corrupt social structure (thoroughly discredited and destined for the rust heaps of history) is socialism.

Yet, A Brave New World touches on some of the same topics, neglecting the benefits of capitalism that Dennis Prager highlights. Americans are the most generous and compassionate people on the planet.

"socialism – i.e., cradle-to-grave state welfare – makes people worse. "

Exactly right.
posted by hama7 at 6:49 PM on September 6, 2003

I am sorry but I do have to say this: Any conservative would be insane to think that getting rid of social programs would make sense. Say you cut the funding for after-school programs and tell the parents of the children "it's your responsibility to make sure your kids have something to do after school.... not the GOVERNMENT's"? Do you think parents will actually make sure their kids have a worthwhile way to spend their time? No, because the parents all work and are too busy.
posted by gregb1007 at 7:48 PM on September 6, 2003

hama, if you believe a small government is a better government, then logically, you prefer Clinton over Bush. Currently there are 12.1 million government employees, the largest since Bush I, when there were 12.6 million.
posted by raaka at 8:08 PM on September 6, 2003

talos, check out a book called "Heat Wave" by Klinenberg. The CDC has mortality rates for heat stroke.
posted by raaka at 8:11 PM on September 6, 2003

Currently there are 12.1 million government employees, the largest since Bush I, when there were 12.6 million.

Clinton was a shred of garbage, and now Bush has proved himself to be a domestic socialist, in other words: immoral*

*as much as it pains me to say it
posted by hama7 at 8:30 PM on September 6, 2003

Let me be the first to say it:

posted by Ptrin at 8:33 PM on September 6, 2003

Clinton was a shred of garbage

Wow. I'm convinced. Way to go!
posted by adampsyche at 8:33 PM on September 6, 2003

With down for the time being, it's good to be able to continue reading such items. Please post more.
posted by HTuttle at 12:11 AM on September 7, 2003

"The bigger the government, the worse the people."

Exactly right.

Interesting, Hama7. So, I'd assume then that you think that Canadians are "worse" than Americans, since our government is bigger (more socialist, more of a nanny, if you will).

I would like you to point out the ways in which we are worse. I want evidence, statistics, and links for for every claim you make. And it's up to you to construct your own argument, but if you're stuck, you might begin by explaining away the homicide statistic differential.
posted by orange swan at 8:11 AM on September 7, 2003

The bigger the generalisation, the worse the argument.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:49 PM on September 7, 2003

Clinton was a shred of garbage

Yeah that whole “lies about blowjobs” thing really put the country at risk didn't it? Sorry I didn't see 3000+ people in NYC, PA and DC die because of blowjobs, nor do I see our solders being killed daily in a country we shouldn't have invaded in the first place because of blowjobs. But I do see these things happening because of the Bush administration's ineptitude and total deceitfulness. Don’t get me wrong, I never voted for Clinton. I had very little respect for him. But Bush makes Clinton look like a boy scout.

If Clinton is a shred of garbage, Bush is a landfill filled to capacity.
posted by whirlwind29 at 1:16 AM on September 8, 2003

hama, if you believe a small government is a better government, then logically, you prefer Clinton over Bush. Currently there are 12.1 million government employees, the largest since Bush I, when there were 12.6 million.

Just #s but presented like this is a weak statement. One there is a war may reservist are now full time and then add all the new security and prevention that came out of 9/11. Second the military was shrunk at the end of The Gulf War, know reservist whom had their enlistment shortened. This # includes all government contracts counting as a federal worker too. Seems you can really inflate this # if you are counting all the companies with government contracts as a federal employee. Is Heinz a federal employee because it supplies ketchup and has a contract?
posted by thomcatspike at 11:02 AM on September 8, 2003

« Older Hey Stu, you should try that!   |   He's jus' spoutin' crayzee talk. /sarcasm Newer »

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