Click here to listen to the broadcast of You Tell Me on KTBB AM & FM, Friday, August 12, 2011.
Years ago, after hearing him speak to a group at a business luncheon, I got to know a clergyman in Dallas who made his living in clinical practice as a counselor. He helped people who were having problems in their lives, their careers, their marriages or with their children.
He did business under the name “Reality Acceptance, Inc.” His was a simple philosophy. Until you recognize reality and accept it, no attempt to improve your circumstances has any hope of success.
He believed that humans have a nearly limitless capacity to delude themselves. He believed that self-delusion increases with education and intellect. He believed that the very smartest people are the most likely to use that self-delusional capacity to avoid confronting the truth.
This man’s explanation of the human capacity for self-delusion is the only thing that explains why the left continues to cling to their tired and discredited beliefs. Right before our eyes, the dogmas of the American left are being proved utterly and irredeemably false. It’s happening in real time.
The riots of earlier this year in Greece, the on-going debt crisis in Europe, the looting and lawlessness of the past few nights in England, the flash mobs and senseless violence in public places in America, the protracted battle over raising the U.S debt ceiling, the extreme volatility of stock markets around the world and the anemic pace of the American economy are all interconnected.
All of these phenomena can be tied to the fact that Western democracies are finally and painfully having to confront the reality that the modern entitlement state that has been growing since before World War II can no longer be sustained.
Reality acceptance now confronts the American left and they don’t like it.
Social Security is broke. It cannot continue as it is as a consequence of mathematical certainty. Those that want retirement security may have to actually set some money aside during their working years. That may entail putting off getting the hot car or the big house but it will have to be done and it can be done. Our parents did it.
The country can’t afford to guarantee that no one will ever have to be financially inconvenienced by the costs of health care. In order to afford health care, and to avoid financial devastation should a crippling disease strike, it is going to be necessary for individuals to make provisions early in life while still healthy for that day later in life when health care can become costly. That, too, might put the kibosh on the lake home and the matching Jet Skis.
Not only are well-intentioned liberal programs bankrupting the country financially, those programs are bankrupting the country spiritually as well.
Generations have now grown up in an America with food stamps, free school lunches, subsidized single-mother pregnancies, endless unemployment benefits, free health care, subsidized housing, free transportation and free college tuition. The taking away of the need to earn the money for these things, and the pride of ownership and accomplishment that follows, has robbed countless millions of their animal spirit, their capacity to compete, and their sense of community. The looting in England and the flash mobs at state fairs and shopping malls here in America constitute disturbing examples of the consequences.
Conservatives have argued endlessly against these liberal do-good programs to no avail. But it is economic reality that will finally win the argument.
The left will continue to insist that the welfare state of today can be financed by borrowing the productive fruits of tomorrow. It’s a delusional notion that will not surrender easily.
But surrender it will.
Reality is close upon us.