Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Top 20% Just Wants to be Free

Even as the mechanical vice of Obamacare slowly clamps itself on the American people, so that they are forced into a one-size-fits-all plan for healthcare, mandated by a committee of lifer bureaucrats at the IPAB, you still see stuff like this.

"Talent Just Wants to be Free: Why We Should Learn to Love Leaks, Raids, and Free Riding."  That's a book by Orly Lobel, a law professor at the University of San Diego.  Talented people just don't want to be mewed up at some big institution.  They want, they need to be free to job-hop and re-skill, as the mood takes them.

Lobel critiques the dog-in-the-manger attitude of big institutions.
She identifies a “control mentality” in many companies that locks up employees and stifles creativity through the aggressive use of noncompete contracts and copyrights on inventions. She thinks bosses are too worried about “brain drain” to recognize the opportunities for “brain gain.”
 Today in my AT piece "The People of the Lie" I make a joke about the internal contradictions between the managerial liberalism of the Progressive Era and the community-organizer liberalism of today's "progressives."

But there's another contradiction in our ruling class that is just as glaring.  It is the contrast between the natural culture of the top 20% that lives by creative work and the rest of America.  Liberals (and conservatives) want to have exciting and creative careers and understand that excitement means risk.  But then the same liberals turn around and built mind-numbing one-size-fits-all government programs for health care and education and welfare.  They run around practicing a politics that demonizes corporate chieftains for not providing complete satisfaction and life-time tenure to their employees.

Meanwhile, as Charles Murray has shown in "Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010," the top 20% is doing fine, with good marriages, satisfying careers and incomes and wealth, while the bottom 30% is getting absolutely hammered, with the women opting out of marriage and the men opting out of work.

And in case you didn't know, the children of single women with live-in boyfriend are anything from six times to thirty times more likely to suffer child abuse than the children of married biological parents living together.

In the middle, ordinary Americans just want to keep a decent job, hope to buy a home one day, pay their bills, and get through this Obama economy.

One of my favorite websites is Penelope Trunk.  She combines career coaching with homeschooling and has just launched a company, Quistic, that provides online career coaching courses.

Absolutely fabulous, and no doubt a marker for where the world of the educated American is going.  No limits, no borders, no guard rails.  Just push out there for a creative, adventurous life.

Meanwhile ordinary people are getting hammered by the economy, by the lousy schools, by their health care premiums going into the stratosphere.

And young people!  Why the twentysomethings aren't in the streets yet is a mystery to me.  They have lousy schools, lousy job prospects, and they have been saddled with enormous student debt that operates like a permanent income tax on their income for the next 20 years.

Really, you expect this.  The ruling class takes care of its own.  If you are an educated person in America things are pretty good, and this is the era of the educated class.

But everyone else is just furniture to the educated class.  They are bitter clingers to sneer at, or they are traditionally marginalized to rile up with identity politics.  They are children to shuffle from school to school; they are welfare clients to shuffle from program to program.

That's why you get revolution.  The ruling class warbles on its way, as unconcerned as a seagull, congratulating itself on the wonders it performs for the lower orders.  And, like the landed magnates of old, it will tell you that its own local peasants are as happy as clams.

It's nothing but blue skies until all of a sudden a cloud forms on the horizon no bigger than a man's hand, and then pretty soon the whole nation is consumed in a perfect storm.

Because the peasants weren't happy; they just knew enough to keep their mouths shut.  The lower orders aren't grateful for the wonders performed.  All government is force, and force leads directly to injustice.

There's a piece in The New Republic by liberal guardian Franklin Foer.  He's worrying, as many liberals are worrying, that government is losing its reputation for competence.

But really, all talk of government competence is myth-making.  In reality, government screws everything up, because almost every government action amounts to an attempt to block and harass the normal operation of peaceful cooperation.

Sean Trende makes this point indirectly when he warns that Obamacare won't be the end of liberalism.  It will just end the current Obama era with the Democrats dominant.  Whenever a party has been counted out, it has always roared right back on the back on the current ruling party's staggering blunders.

That's the point.  Government, all government, is nothing but a parade of blunders, and the stupidity of supposedly intelligent elites is a constant in history.

Liberals have had a good run for about a century since folks like President Wilson started boosting the notion of competent, rational government, and Franklin Foer is right to worry.

Conservatives, of course, have developed a comprehensive critique of competent government stretching over the last century.  It's telling that in his article, Foer doesn't mention it: not a word, not a name, not a single idea.

First rule of war, Mr. Foer.  Always know what your opponent is thinking.

Meanwhile, it's time for thoughtful people to think about how we can help the ordinary people suffering under the injustice of the authoritarian welfare state instead of just thinking about our own needs for talent to be free.

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