Quote of the day, week and month


From the anonymous blogger at Come And Make It:

Nothing creates poverty.  Poverty is the beginning state.  It takes zero effort to be poor.  It does take a lot of work not to be poor.

True dat.  True, true dat.

I wish our politicians and bureaucrats would understand that.  You can’t legislate people out of poverty;  you can’t redistribute resources to make some people better off and others poorer;  you can’t equalize the slices of the cake, or pie, or whatever, so that everybody gets the same size slice, and then expect things to remain in equilibrium.  The motivated and hard-working will enlarge their slices, by hook or by crook;  and the lazy and unmotivated will lose bits and pieces of their pie to the others until they have nothing left.  If it isn’t a recognized law of nature, it should be, because it’s happened in every society since the dawn of recorded history.

That’s also why handing out largesse to the people is such a bad idea.  If they don’t have to work for a living, why should they?  It’s easy to just sit back and accept the crumbs the government gives you, and vote for politicians who promise to give you a few more.  As the Roman poet Juvenal pointed out about eighteen centuries ago:

Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses.

I think Juvenal would have recognized the same thing in most Western societies today.

If the State makes it easy to be poor, with no negative consequences for not working, the rest of that society will gradually go the same way.  Eventually, there’ll be a minority of hard workers supporting a majority of non-workers . . . until the hard workers realize they’re carrying the load for everybody, and refuse to carry it any longer.

When that day comes, that society is doomed.



  1. I would posit one corollary to that, a huge exception. The government creates poverty and sustains it with every new tax, regulation, or spending program. LBJ declared war on poverty. Poverty won.

  2. The left seems to believe that giving a poor person the outward trappings of the middle class will make them middle class people. A college degree they didn't work for, a home mortgage they couldn't get on their own and with no means or discipline to pay it, the same for the car they drive. Lending institutions are not permitted to vet their borrowers and we get 2008 again only worse this time.

  3. The Romans went from passionate republicans, to APPOINTING a dictator because they had become apathetic and politically disengaged.

    Those who claim that there is no-one worth voting for, and that the whole system is inescapably corrupt, are causing that which they claim to criticise. There is no free lunch. You either pay the price of political involvement, or you pay the price of corrupt and dictatorial government.

  4. @PeterW:

    I don't think I'd call the Social Wars and what followed a case of the Roman Citizenry being 'politically unengaged'. Similarly Various pleasantries and unpleasantries during C20 — Dictatorships invariably happen in the West as a final resort to short-circuit the violent politicisation of *everything*.

    Cold, hard, bare Facts. Not feelings and civics class nostrums <– which got us to where we are which is not a good place to be.

  5. Beg pardon, but the Civil War was between opposing Generals and their factions, not between Republicans defending their Republic, and Dictators seeking to overthrow it. The significant battles of the Civil War were all fought overseas

    That is not a vivid illustration of a populace that is engaged in the maintenance of their liberties and the rejection of despotic rulers.

    The argument that the general population of Rome were apathetic regarding their Republic appears to be unchallenged. The proposition that there are some marked similarities in your country and mine, seems reasonable.

  6. I’d further suggest that very often the politicisation of everything, plus violence intending to have the population afraid and clamouring for a saviour, is the tactic of would-be rulers, not their cause.

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