The biggest problem with politics today is that feeling good and doing good often require very different policies. People often get caught up in policies that make them feel good, with no regard for what will actually do good.
I look at California, which is an absolute bastion of ‘feel good’ policies, and what do I see? Fecal matter in the streets, getting washed as raw sewage into the ocean whenever it rains. Sidewalks turned into tent-cities. Dirty needles strewing the streets, also getting washed into the oceans whenever it rains. The worst rate of poverty in the nation. Only the rich can afford housing in such places as San Francisco, and as a consequence the state makes the policies that made San Francisco unaffordable the law of the entire state. Environmental policies under which large swaths of the state burn every year. The state shuts electricity off for millions of residents every day to prevent even more fires from erupting, all while refusing to deal with the actual causes of the fires. If California were a country, it would have the fourth largest GDP in the world, and yet we are watching it devolve into a third-world state, right before our eyes.
This is a state that cannot provide for the most basic needs of millions of its residents, and yet all they do is to continue electing people promising ‘feel good’ policies.
Do you know what California’s number one export is? People. Californians are moving into places like Texas, Washington, and Colorado, at record paces – fast enough to more than offset the numbers of new immigrants coming into California every year. And as strange as it may sound, the people leaving California to get away from the monstrous state California is devolving into, are bringing their politics with them.
California is a test bed of all the left-leaning policies in the national debate, all of which make those who support them feel good, but none of which are doing any good at all.
Policies that DO good are the ones that foster self-sufficiency, over government dependence, but the notion that every human life should be guaranteed a standard of living just for being alive – this notion that taking any form of personal responsibility for one’s own life should be optional – requires that we destroy the marginal benefits of work.
Someone reading this may wonder what I mean by the ‘marginal benefit of work.’ This is an economic phrase that means the difference in lifestyle for a low-skilled, entry-level worker, compared to someone who could work, but who chooses to life off handouts instead.
No society that destroys the marginal benefit of work can long survive, as I outline in an article titled “The Welfare Wagon.”
Somehow, saying that self-sufficiency leads to ‘do good’ results, whereas government dependency leads only to ruinous ‘feel good’ results; somehow this has become anathema on the left. If you say what I just did, you are told you are ‘blaming the victim.’
And yet it is true.
There are some cases where victim-blaming is not appropriate, such as when a woman has been raped, but when a person who has never lifted a finger to better their economic interests claims to be a ‘victim’ of economic oppression – even if the oppression they believe to exist in the world were real, they would still be guilty of self-oppression through their own inactivity. Someone who runs a race can say they lost, but someone who never leaves the starting line never put themselves in a position to win, or to lose. One who competes and finds the rules unfair can complain that they were cheated, but one who does not compete at all cheats themself.
When someone is a victim of their own inactivity, it is right to hold them accountable.
Only policies based on the need to be self sufficient can do good, and those who are not in a position to be self sufficient today should be given help that makes them more able to be self-sufficient tomorrow.
There are of course some who are legitimately incapable of taking care of themselves, but even then, many of them would do well in half-way houses, where they are as self-sufficient as they are capable of being, while also still getting the social help they need.
Calls of ‘privilege’ and ‘systemic racism’ go the wrong way, providing excuses not to be self-sufficient for large swaths of the population, and on the left, victimhood has become the new political currency, such that those who succeed in life are almost denigrated as the cause of oppression.
How does a society ‘do good’ for its people once success is a sin, and vagrancy is a virtue?
California ran with these ‘feel good’ programs at full-scale, and we see the results, and yet many Americans want to do the same thing nation-wide.
Do not gauge policies based on what they are ‘for,’ and do not gauge politicians based on the platitudes they spout. Dig deeper. What a policy actually does is much more important that what it was intended to do, and politicians should be held accountable for the benefits and harms their policies do, rather than who or what they claim to be ‘for‘.
California is not the only example of this either. Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Castro, and other communist leaders claimed to be for the working class. To many, including Bernie Sanders, the revolutions these people led ‘felt good’ (and yes – Bernie said that about Castro’s Cuba). How do we not hold these people accountable for the hundreds of millions of people they killed?
The next time you see a Che Guevara shirt, remember that Che Guevara killed entire towns of people in Cuba, when they failed to support Castro. Everyone hates Hitler for killing 12 million people, and yet Che Guevara is often lionized on the left. Did Guevara kill as many people as Hitler? No – but that was not from a lack of trying.
Stalin killed at least four times as many people as did Hitler. Mao killed somewhere around ten times as many people as did Hitler. How is it that the hammer and sickle is not as reviled as the swastika? Not only are the people killed by Stalin and Mao just as dead as the ones killed by Hitler, but there are many times more of them.
What did Bernie think about Stalin? He honeymooned in the Soviet Union…
Picking on communism is obviously picking on the worst of the worst, but how do other left-leaning policies do, when measured by results?
Germany went all-in on green energy. Their energy costs skyrocketed 400%, and as a result, Markel had to go back to coal to avoid a political revolt.
Consider for just a moment that natural gas is cheaper than coal, and that the co2 emissions from natural gas are trivial compared to coal. How can anyone say they are for the environment, or against ‘global warming,’ and not be all-in on natural gas? Wind turbines feel good, but natural gas does good.
Do you consider Germany a special case? How about Canada, where many residents have to choose every winter between heating their homes, or eating, thanks to Justin Trudeau’s all-in on green energy? Is Trudeau doing good, or does he seem content to simply feel good?
And at the same time, in Texas, a natural gas power plant emits zero c02, and zero emissions of other kinds. Zero-emission natural gas is cheap and reliable, and Elizabeth Warren wants to ban it. Is Elizabeth Warren working to feel good, or to do good?
If the public keeps voting for feel-good solutions, the whole country will eventually look like California, minus the weather. If the country wants to do good, we must reject progressivism, and right now that means electing Republicans – including the re-election of Donald Trump.
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