What’s Wrong With the West?

Mark Steyn nails it:

…The problem for the Western world is that it has incentivized non-productivity on an industrial scale. For large numbers at the lower end of the spectrum (still quaintly referred to by British reporters as “working class”), the ritual of work — of lifetime employment as a normal feature of life — has been all but bred out by multigenerational dependency. At the upper end of the spectrum, too many of us seem to regard an advanced Western society as the geopolitical version of a lavishly endowed charitable foundation that funds somnolent programming on NPR…

Do read the whole thing.


27 thoughts on “What’s Wrong With the West?

  1. casper August 28, 2011 / 12:36 pm

    Which is why workfare is the answer. People don’t get benefits unless they work for them. Of course that means that there have to be jobs available.

    • RetiredSpook August 28, 2011 / 12:44 pm

      I’m not sure why I bother to play your silly little game anymore, Casper, but your comment begs the question, exactly how and why are jobs created? If you were to start a business, what would determine whether or not you hired someone to work for you, and, if so, who you hired, how many you hired, how much you paid them and the level of benefits you provide?

      • casper August 28, 2011 / 12:50 pm

        Let me be more specific. Instead of paying out unemployment to people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own, how about finding them some work instead. Maybe cleaning up parks, painting buildings, etc. It wouldn’t cost the government a lot more and people would be doing something and earning their benefits.

      • Cluster August 28, 2011 / 12:53 pm

        ..how about finding them some work instead. – Casper

        How about if they do that themselves?

      • Luckee August 28, 2011 / 4:13 pm

        Yes. It is the job of the government to find/make jobs. Of course. Would Casper expect anything else?

      • Mark Edward Noonan August 29, 2011 / 12:34 am


        No, you just make welfare compensation always less than even the most menial job would provide…you do that, and the vast majority of those on welfare will go to work. It is a simple calculation…right now, a person on welfare can have a car, cell phone, computer and cable television…make it so that these sorts of things are only affordable for those who work. Do it that way and most of the layabouts will find work…currently known as “work Americans won’t do” but which is actually “work which doesn’t pay as much as welfare illegal aliens can’t get”.

    • Cluster August 28, 2011 / 12:45 pm

      Why not go out and create some jobs Casper? Or do you always rely on someone else to do something?

      I would bet right now there some entrepreneurial opportunities on the east coast for someone to come in and drain basements, sweep out lobbies, pick up debris, etc. How many of the 99 weekers will step up to take advantage of that opportunity?

      • casper August 28, 2011 / 12:53 pm

        It’s more important that I teach students the skills they need to be good workers.

        “How many of the 99 weekers will step up to take advantage of that opportunity?”

        Maybe more than you think, especially if they are paid a decent wage.

      • Cluster August 28, 2011 / 12:56 pm

        Does it always have to be for a decent wage? You might want to teach your students that entrepreneurs are not paid wages – they are paid a contract price which is set and negotiated by the entrepreneur and the client, and the entrepreneur better know his associated costs and expected returns. Too many people have a “wage” mentality Casper, and that could be part of the problem.

      • casper August 28, 2011 / 1:03 pm

        One of the conversations I have with my students is how they can become “rich”. There are four different ways to get rich in our country.
        1. Having rich parents.
        2. Marrying someone who is rich.
        3. Winning the lottery.
        4. Getting a good education and/or working your butt off.

        Of the options, number four is by far their best option unless they already have number one. That’s the one I push for.

  2. Cluster August 28, 2011 / 12:52 pm

    What’s wrong with the west is that we have too many Casper’s and not enough Ricardo’s. I have a friend named Ricardo who is from southern Mexico and relocated here (legally) about 4 years ago, with broken english but a strong desire to succeed. He started cleaning out homes and painting them for the banks and has since created his own multi faceted company that rehabs distressed properties from landscaping to complete reconstruction. He now employs about 15 people and makes a great living for his family of four. He never once whined or worried about what benefits he would receive, he simply rolled up his sleeves and went to work, and is now far better off than those that sit around and wait for “jobs” to be created.

    Another case in point, why don’t we ever hear from the asian community in terms of unemployed and needing benefits? Hardly ever right? The reason? They work their ass off.

    • casper August 28, 2011 / 12:56 pm

      Good for Ricardo. So tell me how many jobs you have created lately.

      • Cluster August 28, 2011 / 1:00 pm

        Just in the last two years – 29. But I also employ Ricardo a lot, so I am indirectly responsible for his success as well.

        Casper, you work and live within your own academia, benefit laden and pension driven world which is fine, but please don’t lecture those of us that work in the real world and pay the taxes that support your lifestyle.

      • casper August 28, 2011 / 1:09 pm

        I’ve worked for a living for over 40 years. I’ve managed stores, run own businesses, and done so successfully. I live in the real world.

      • RetiredSpook August 28, 2011 / 1:12 pm


        You still don’t understand how capitalism works, do you? The family business I used to be a part of is an excellent illustration. When I came back from the Navy in the early 70’s and joined the family business, we had 6 employees. My dad ran the business, I was the sales force, and we had two service and two secretarial employees. Total revenue was around $250,000.

        Over the next 10 years we grew to 8 employees, 1 more salesman and 1 more serviceman, and revenue grew to around $350,000. In the mid-80’s competition forced us to either grow or go under. Between 1985 and 1990 we grew to 24 employees, operated a branch office 50 miles away, and revenue grew to about $2.2 million.

        I sold out to my brother in 1991 and went to work for myself. By the time he sold out to a big conglomerate in ’96, he had 85 employees, 4 branches and over $8 million in revenue. The people hired along the way were all hired because they had some expertise that contributed to the growth and profitability of the company, and they were all compensated very well in addition to receiving great benefits.

      • neocon1 August 28, 2011 / 1:23 pm


        you are full of BS
        you are not even a tenured employee but a TEMP who is not qualified to be hired so you work from year to year as a contract employee.
        I wouldnt hire your marxist ass to scoop dog crap.

      • casper August 28, 2011 / 1:34 pm

        I do have a pretty good idea of how capitalism works, but that’s what I’m talking about. I’m suggesting that rather than give out unemployment benefits to those who lost their jobs, we ask that they work for them.

      • neocon1 August 28, 2011 / 1:42 pm

        “What’s Wrong With the West?”

        hussein Obomanation.

      • RetiredSpook August 28, 2011 / 2:10 pm

        Spook, I do have a pretty good idea of how capitalism works,

        You would never know it from your comments, Casper. You seem to think that everyone is owed a job. I think we all agree that society should care for those who, because of physical or mental limitations, can’t work. But you seem to think that, if someone won’t work, that the government is the responsible party for finding them a job. The problem, and I’ve seen this first-hand, is that people who would otherwise sit on their ass and watch daytime TV, gaming the systems for whatever they can get, don’t make very good employees.

        The welfare reform legislation that Clinton signed back in the 90’s was actually a pretty good start at reversing a trend that Liberals had created and nurtured over the course of 30 years. Now, however, you’ve got an administration that has openly announced that they want to push the pendulum the other way..

  3. js August 28, 2011 / 1:50 pm

    you mean to say that 3 years worth of unemployment…is bad for the USA?

    go figure…what about the rest of us that wont accept it…you forgot that we still exist

  4. Green Mountain Boy August 28, 2011 / 3:17 pm

    Whats wrong with the west? That is a loaded question. We have allowed the seeds of our own destruction to be sown and we are now harvesting them. In a nut shell that is.

  5. dbschmidt August 28, 2011 / 3:43 pm

    I have a feeling here that Casper is referring to something like an expanded version of the CCC program (part of the New Deal) from FDR in lieu of just free handouts. Since it was busy work and required no skills–sounds like a good fit for a Liberal.

    • Luckee August 28, 2011 / 4:20 pm

      Or a teacher.

      Don’t get me wrong, there are some great teachers. My children have had some wonderful teachers but some have been so bad we had to make up for it at home. We have had some Caspers who try to teach left-leaning ideas but we have taught our kids to communicate what they are told in school so we can tell when this is happening and head it off with real facts. You would not believe the crap some schools teach as American history, etc. My twin daughters are 13 and I pity the teacher who tries to tell them the constitution is a living document. They probably know more than most of their political idiot teachers. We are on a waiting list for a private school.

      • casper August 28, 2011 / 5:27 pm

        What makes you think I teach left-leaning ideas? This is a political blog. A place where adults can express their ideas and read the ideas of others. I don’t talk politics in the classroom unless it is part of current events, in which case, I try to bring in all the facts and let the students make their own decisions. Generally, I show students how and where they can find information and how to interpret the information once they have found it. Instead of telling students what the founding fathers meant, I introduce them to letters and documents written by the founding fathers and allow them to come to their own conclusions. My students don’t know who I vote for or what my opinion is on political issues. It’s none of their business and I tell them that when they ask.

      • neocon1 August 28, 2011 / 6:02 pm

        What makes you think I teach left-leaning ideas?

      • Luckee August 28, 2011 / 6:21 pm

        Casper your left-leaning beliefs permeate every single thing you write and I don’t see how they can be eliminated from what you tell your students. Most people on the left who do not study and dedicate themselves to the left ideology do not see themselves as being on the left but think of themselves as being in the center so you would not consider what you believe to the leftist anyway. According to you you talk to your students a lot and if you do your real world view has to come through even if you don’t phrase it as political. My kids teachers do not always think they are being political either but what the kids come home with sure does come from a political point of view the teachers probably do not even recognize.

      • neocon1 August 28, 2011 / 8:20 pm

        PLEASE tell me this Fn (freeking) LOON wasnt a few hundred “votes” away from being potus?

        Gore: Global warming skeptics are this generation’s racists

        One day climate change skeptics will be seen in the same negative light as racists, or so says former Vice President Al Gore.

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