There are plenty of people willing to give to a worthy cause. There are even more prepared to call for others to give on their behalf. Not for them to give freely, but under the threat of severe punishment if they don’t. For this is in effect what happens when the government demonstrates it cares, by spending money on some worthy cause. That money is raised from somewhere. It comes from the people. Often the very people creating wealth and by their labors improving their fellows lot. Don’t knock the little corner shop. Sure it employs people who otherwise might be destitute, but it also allows old people to live at home and still access the grocers. It provides a service that people are willing to pay for.
People pay for a service because they value it. That is why they are prepared to part with money for it. Don’t worry, I am not going to repeat Adam Smiths story of the invisible hand. Suffice to say people pay for what they value. What people are prepared to pay is a measure of how much they value something. If they are getting something for less than they are prepared to pay, then they have in effect got a bargain and can feel pleased with themselves and their purchase. By corollary, someone selling something for more than they would have been willing to accept for it, has done well. They are better off than before they sold it. On occasions people might buy or sell something for the absolute minimum or maximum they think it worth. But normally one or both parties will be getting what is to them a real bargain. Buying and selling are usually win win activities. Both parties believe they are gaining from the deal and that is why they make it.
While this elementary economics is all very well, what has it got to do with government welfare and calls by the great and good for the government to do something. In a word, nothing. Absolutely nothing. Free exchange and both parties benefiting does not enter into the equation. People being forced to pay higher taxes so the government can give some of their money to “special” causes might not feel good about it. In fact they could be annoyed. Especially if they disagree with the government action. Be it buying nuclear missiles or encouraging people into a life of welfare dependency. This raises the real possibility that compulsory donations to “worthy” causes may not be a good thing. Heresy, or as near as we get to it in this day and age. Standing up to welfare zealots is verboten.
But, even those who agree with a proposed action might question what it has got to do with the government. Perhaps thinking it wrong of the government to say, take a hundred bucks from their pay packet, waste ten on administration and then give ninety to the local community action group. Preferring instead to give the local action group ninety-five dollars and have a drink with the remaining five. Hard to believe, but possible.
While paying for the bureaucracy can be galling enough when you agree with the action, it is even worse when you don’t. What if the community action group that the government is giving your money to is actively trying to destroy your job. Trying to make you unemployed and get you to join most of them on the dole. Then you might not be so upset that the government wastes so much on administration. But you almost certainly would resent the huge chunk being deducted every payday. If so, then spare a thought for the poor old primary producer.
Farmers, foresters and miners often see their money being taken from them and given to groups who try to destroy their livelihood. Progress for publicly funded environmental activists and think tanks almost invariably spells doom for some poor worker. National parks and heritage areas are well and good, but can get out of hand. Environmental zealots appear to have an almost insatiable desire for land and resources. A desire which is easily the equal of the much maligned grasping capitalist and far in excess of normal people. Give them an inch and they do not just try and take a mile, but the whole State. In Australia one third of the State of Tasmania is “protected”. This land and the resources it contains are not allowed to be put to productive use. Its raw materials cannot be translated into wanted products and entrepreneurs can not use it to create wealth. Needless to say Tasmania consistently has the highest unemployment rate in Australia. So much for everyone being able to survive as waiters, guides and shop assistants catering to environmental tourists.
But the main lesson Tasmania has for the rest of the world is that enough will never be enough. Activists still try and destroy jobs in the name of saving the environment. They still march, protest and try to bribe politicians with their vote. Life is obviously so much more worthwhile if one is working to save the environment, not money. Nothing wrong with living off welfare while working for such a glorious undertaking. Not for them the arguments of the Oxford Union. Privileged institutions might turn down tainted money and reject funding that can be traced back to the Nazis, even if it is proposed to put it to good use. Environmental zealots are far too Machiavellian for that. They happily take whatever the government will give and beg for more. The welfare or grant cheque might consist of money made by people and organizations that rape the environment and are destroying the world. But that is as nothing; if accepting it helps the environmentalist do what they want. Doing what you want does not sound too selfless, but there is nothing wrong with enjoying your “work”.
Working and making a living in the country is not easy. That’s why most people have to live in cities. Having hard earned money taken from their pocket and given to zealots determined to destroy them, is often the least of country folks worries. Particularly in “no worries” Australia. And no worries is exactly how much concern most of the city folk feel about the matter. There is a total lack of empathy and understanding about why country folk find the situation ludicrous. But in due course the country folk may well have the last laugh. At least at some of them bright city folk.
Those who care also get money taken from some workers in cities and given to others who use it to try and destroy those self-same city folks livelihoods. Surely not, no way would groups seek the destruction of their benefactors. That would be like biting the hand that feeds you and slaying the goose that lays the golden egg. But of course they do, being unable to see behind the facade of a generous government dispensing largess to their deserving selves. Not for them the uncomfortable fact that every cent the government gives it also has to take. But whom do the recipients of government largess try and destroy, rather than help?
Tobacco, paper and packaging are the most obvious industries that often have a strong city based contingent amongst their staff. Paper and packaging are the concerns of the environmentalists, but tobacco introduces the public health official. Public health officials are concerned about your health. As long as you are not a worker in an industry they dislike. Then they ignore the fact that people in work are healthier than those who are not and try to destroy your job.
But these industries do not employ many people, so who cares. Nothing wrong with sacrificing a few on the altar of improved public health for many. But where will it stop. Just because the zealots have met with little success in cities, it does not mean they never will. Think of all the people who work in fast food joints. McDonalds is not just a sign of American imperialism, but of environmental degradation and an unhealthy diet. They are bad for public health. Unhealthy food habits are second only to birth as a cause of premature death. Restaurants also tend to put a fair bit of fat in their food. People would be better off eating at home. least they would if they did not seem to like TV dinners. Instant food is rarely as nutritious as a proper balanced diet. Best stop them as well. Then there is chocolate and alcohol. Both give people pleasure, but also put their health at risk. Who cares that in moderation it is actually good for you. It would be unreasonable to expect people to resist the temptation of another drink and the odd “piss up”. They have got to go. No more newsagents or pubs. Shame about all the jobs.
Not to mention the misery that public health campaigns create. Being happy is no longer an acceptable goal. Now you have to be constantly concerned about your health. Life is meant to be extended, not lived. Or so those who receive our taxes would have us believe. As they use our money to harangue us and prove how virtuous they are. It’s because they know what we ought to do and are the best judge of what is good for us.
It feels so good to be altruistic and superior. To be concerned about the environment or health of others. Calling for the government to do something shows you care. Demonstrating that you care is a worthwhile activity in itself. Full time carers, at least of the public health and environmental kind, are far too important and busy to dirty their hands making the money they want spent on their pet cause. They would rather accept dirty government money, tainted by the very industries they want to close down. No thought need to be given to the damage this will do.
If the caring kind are particularly hypocritical then they will look down their noses and sneer at honest workers. At the people who struggle to stretch the family budget when at home and to get the job done while at work. They could even make quips about being unable to understand how someone would work for such an “evil” industry. Conveniently ignoring that it is those self-same workers in such “evil” industries that provide the wherewithal to maintain their comfortable existence. I suppose it’s easy to forget that what the government gives it must also take. After all, it took more than fifty years for most to realize that the government took money from Jews being persecuted and killed by the Nazis. Perhaps the great and the good will decide it is safer, ethically, to donate money to cover the cost of the worthy causes they call for “something” to be done about. Gosh, what’s was that? Yes, it’s a pig flying. Never thought I would live to see the day.