This is a guest article, written by Mike McCarthy, the author of Sustain your Gains, and co-author (with his wife, Janis Allen) of Ready? Set? ENGAGE!, and How to Engage, Involve, and Motivate Employees. Mike is a Lean Manufacturing consultant, and an avid supporter of free markets, as well as the Libertarian thrillers The Noah Option and The Rainbow Option
When you are a toddler, all you have to do is point. Then your mother or father reach over, grab the object you are pointing at, and give it to you. If you point at a food item, one of them will put it into your mouth. The spoonful of pudding comes right at your mouth, you open up, and voila! You have a mouthful of delicious pudding. You live in a world of near-instant gratification.
As you grow older, you learn to annoy your parents by asking Why? How? Where? What? When?
Where does the food come from? The refrigerator. How does it get into the refrigerator? Mom and Dad put it there. Where do Mom and Dad get it? The grocery store. Why does the grocery store give it to them? Because they pay money for the food. Where do Mom and Dad get the money? From working at a job where they produce things of value for customers.
Of course, the toddler does not see or understand this chain of causality. All he or she knows is that if she points or asks for it, it appears in her hand or mouth. The child psychologist Piaget noticed that young children begin to think they cause things to happen. This is logical, since this is what happens to toddlers every day. You want it? You got it!
Piaget wrote that children can believe that waving their hands causes the wind. He called this “magical thinking.” He argued that this comes from experiencing yourself as the center of the universe. Of course, from a baby’s point of view, he IS the center of his universe. All things come to baby.
In the normal course of growing up, you learn that you are not the center of the universe. You no longer get everything you want immediately. Then you get frustrated and demand to be the center of the universe again. How? With a temper tantrum.
Wise parents know that temper tantrums only get worse if you give in to them – if you give “tantrum toddler” what he demands. Ignoring or isolating toddler when she has a temper tantrum helps them to grow out of it. It helps them learn that it takes effort to get what you want. Helps them learn that there is no magic. Only hard work will earn the money to buy the yogurt that you want so badly. AKA ‘growing up.’
In today’s world of helicopter parents and participation trophies, many young adults suffer from Peter Pan Syndrome. They never grow up. They live in Mom and Dad’s basement and continue to get what they want by pointing, demanding and temper tantrums. They continue to operate on a type of “magical thinking” that says: “if I see it and want it, then I should get it.”
They missed the ‘Who What Why How’ part of growing up. The part that shows Mom and Dad going to work to earn the money to buy the things that Junior or Princess wants.
These young adults generalize their toddler / dependency / magical thinking to the world at large. They see two worlds: first, the economic world, where you have to earn money to buy what you want. Second, the political world, where whining, demanding and temper tantrums get you what you want. What have they been successfully doing for 20+ years? Whining, demanding and temper tantrums. So, what becomes their default response? Whining, demanding and temper tantrums.
Meet today’s Democratic Socialists.
Socialist thinking is toddler magical thinking. Socialist thinking is ‘never grow up’ thinking. Socialist thinking is ‘I’m the center of the universe’ thinking. Of course, this is cleverly disguised as ‘I only want Socialism so that poor people can get free stuff! Social Justice!’ How? Magic!
Because you never grew up, you don’t know where stuff comes from. Jobs and hard work. All you know is that some people have more stuff than you do and you want it. So, you do what has worked for you in the past: whining, demanding and temper tantrums.
“People with more stuff than me are evil, greedy and unfair! We must take their stuff and redistribute it fairly to everybody! Then more stuff will magically appear and we will redistribute that too!”
Of course, as hard workers see their stuff taken and given to those who do not work, they stop working. Years ago a tour group operator in England told me that because income taxes exceeded 50%, working more did not net him any more income. His solution? He worked only six months out of the year and went on welfare the other six months of the year.
As workers work less, there is less and less ‘stuff’ to redistribute. The formerly hard workers want their free stuff too. Like six months off at taxpayer expense.
The latest act of this perennial socialist tragedy is Venezuela. Venezuelans voted for socialism because they were promised free stuff. Venezuela was a wealthy country blessed with great oil reserves. Just one catch: it takes hard workers with competence to extract the oil, refine the oil, and sell the oil. The hard workers of Venezuela worked less and less and waited for their own ‘free stuff.’ Soon, the existing free stuff ran out. Fewer and fewer people were working to produce more stuff. Why should they? Everybody was promised free stuff, whether they worked or not! Stuff would keep appearing like magic!
As of this writing, Venezuela is dark. No electricity. No electrical engineers working to keep the generating plants operating. Waiting for free electricity to appear like magic. People are eating out of garbage dumpsters and eating their pets. Why? No food. Many farmers went out of business when food was priced by the Socialist government below the cost of producing it. Waiting for food to grow magically without farmers.
In just 20 short years, Venezuela went from a prosperous capitalist country to a starving socialist country.
Socialism is the temper tantrum of adults who never grew up. Like Peter Pan, they rely on magic to feed them, clothe them, house them and stream their video games and movies. Karl Marx relied on Friedrich Engels to support him for most of his adult life. Marx never grew up.
In the musical play Peter Pan, Peter teaches the other children a song called “Never Grow Up:”
“I won’t grow up!
And if it means I must prepare
To shoulder burdens with a worried air,
I’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up
Our modern ‘Socialist Pan’ who never grew up is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She has published a temper-tantrum of demands called the Green New Deal. It is a list of demands with no plan to accomplish them. She demands spoonfuls of food into her toddler mouth, with no knowledge of the work it takes to buy it for the refrigerator. For her, we are Mom & Dad, magically providing whatever she asks for. Her song?
“I want a Green Deal,
I want a Green Deal, that’s me!
And if it means I must ignore
The work to give me more,
I’ll never grow up, never grow up