Tuesday, August 7

"Electricity is a basic human right!!"

It seems to me people can be divided into two groups: those who have at least a fair understanding about how things work, and those who not only don't know but aren't curious in the least. They're the folks whose explanations for things often wind up as "It just *is*."

Example: Most smart people have a pretty good feel for the fact that the electricity that powers their homes costs something to produce. It follows that if too many people don't pay their electric bills, or if government taxes the fuel the electric utility uses too harshly, the company won't recover its costs.

When that happens, most smart people realize that--absent some sort of magic--the lights will go out.

This seems as if it should be common knowledge. Yet many people don't seem to grasp either of the above--seemingly obvious--points.

To such people electricity, water and sewage are regarded as Forces of Nature. That is, they believe that regardless of economics, profit, loss, scarcity of fuel, whatever, all three services will just "be there." All they need is to do is believe that the lights or water will work, and it will be so.

It's but a trivial step from here to the magical thinking of socialism, in which politicians can order people to work, take most of what they earn, give it to the people who--for whatever reason--don't work, and the society and economy will continue to function as it always has.

Does this seem to you to be a workable plan? Would *you* continue to work if the government took most of the fruits of your labors and gave them to someone who chose not to work, or to show up but simply lean on his/her shovel? If so, congratulations: you have grasped a point that has totally eluded many PhD economists, Nobel laureates and a host of ivy-league-schooled babblers.

You think I'm being hyperbolic, perhaps? Not a bit. Paul Krugman, to name just one, apparently thinks socialism is totally workable. As does former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. And thousands of other so-called "elites."

You have to wonder what they're smoking. And by what convoluted reasoning they can suppose such a system will function well.

Charity is all well and good, but when the government takes your "contribution" at the point of a gun, it ceases to be charity. In fact in some cities it becomes a race to the bottom, to see who can scam the system most effectively.

Democracy is wonderful, but its fatal flaw is that it depends on people having a strong moral and ethical grounding. Because the folks who prefer to live on government "freebies" can vote--and eventually, in a poorly educated and ethically ignorant society they will become a majority.

At that point the party that promises the most "freebies" will win virtually every election, and the society implodes.

To be more precise, it collapses from financial insolvency, since the politicians will have promised more to the freebie-seeking voters than those who work can deliver.

If that sounds pretty much like what's happening today, congratulations.

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