Glenn Reynolds’s column “It’s takers versus makers and these days the takers are winning” appeared on the Washington Examiner site on Sunday, and it discusses Charlie Sykes’s new book A Nation Of Moochers: America?s Addiction To Getting Something For Nothing.
As some of you probably know, the term moochers is prevalent in Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged.
At any rate, Reynolds says:
In today’s America, government benefits flow to large numbers of people who are encouraged to vote for politicians who’ll keep them coming. The benefits are paid for by other people who, being less numerous, can’t muster enough votes to put this to a stop.
Over time, this causes the economy to do worse, pushing more people into the moocher class and further strengthening the politicians whose position depends on robbing Peter to pay Paul. Because, as they say, if you rob Peter to pay Paul, you can be pretty sure of getting Paul’s vote.
But the damage goes deeper. Sykes writes, “In contemporary America, we now have two parallel cultures: An anachronistic culture of independence and responsibility, and the emerging moocher culture.”
“We continually draw on the reserves of that older culture, with the unspoken assumption that it will always be there to mooch from and that responsibility and hard work are simply givens. But to sustain deadbeats, others have to pay their bills on time.”
I think they’re spot-on with that bit of epistemology that some people, particularly legislators, demonstrate: People who work hard and succeed will always work hard and succeed, regardless of the obstacles, because they like the struggle. The profits and benefits they receive from that struggle are secondary. They produce because they have the ability to produce. And the rest of society can simply, indeed has some moral right, to tap into those benefits.
But instead of takers and makers, I think we’ve got a different paradigm here: Fraggles and Doozers:
Within Fraggle Rock lives a second species of small humanoid creatures, the pudgy, green, ant-like Doozers. Standing only 6 inches (150 mm) tall (knee-high to a Fraggle), Doozers in a sense represent anti-Fraggles; their lives are dedicated to work and industry. Doozers spend much of their time busily constructing all manner of scaffolding throughout Fraggle Rock using miniature construction equipment and wearing hard-hats and work boots. No one but the Doozers themselves seem to understand the actual purpose of their intricate and beautiful constructions.
Often they accompany their building with marching songs and various Doozer chants. To ensure that they always have a steady stream of work to do, Doozers build their constructions out of an edible candy-like substance (manufactured from radishes) which is greatly enjoyed by Fraggles. They actually want the Fraggles to eat their constructions because “architecture’s supposed to be enjoyed” and also so they can go on to build again. This is essentially the only interaction between Doozers and Fraggles; Doozers spend most of their time building, and Fraggles spend much of their time eating Doozer buildings. They thus form an odd sort of symbiosis. In one episode, the flavor of the Doozer sticks is augmented by adding other flavors, such as tomato and mustard.
This symbiosis becomes integral to the episode “The Preachification of Convincing John” where Mokey calls upon the Fraggles to stop eating the Doozers’ constructions—because they spend so much time making them. Fraggle Rock quickly fills with constructions and the Doozers have no space left in which to build. After running out of space, the Doozers finally decide to move on to a new area because the Fraggles won’t eat their constructions, and there is even a tragic scene with a mother explaining to her daughter that Doozers must build or they will die, and so they must find a new place to live where they can build and hopefully find Fraggles who will eat their constructions. Overhearing this, Mokey realizes that she has inadvertently disrupted a vital symbiotic relationship through ignorant good intentions. As a result, Mokey frantically rescinds her prohibition and encourages the Fraggles to gorge on the structures — just in time to persuade the Doozers to stay.
If making money, doing business, and hiring people were some psychological compulsion, wouldn’t we see it continuing in the face of the modern mixed economy system? Wouldn’t those capitalists, like Boxer in Animal Farm, just work harder, more compulsively?
I’m not sure how someone would square the circle that Doozers have to build, I mean, Capitalists have to entrepreneu and exploit the working man with the decline of the economy in the face of too much government Fraggling, but I think a lot of people are just fine with round quadrilaterals in the right circumstances.
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