Friday, February 4, 2011
- Thought For Food
The hard left is woeful that America’s financial trouble hasn’t led to the kind of revolt here that we’re now seeing in Egypt. You hear it bubbling up between the lines of their other ‘class based’ arguments, and their demands to lynch Clarence Thomas. It’s also where the defense for Frances Fox Piven (whose been hoping for bloody revolution for years) has come from.
But it occurred to me today that the reason we’re not seeing it is not because the underclass isn’t interested in rebellion, but because we no longer have an underclass. Our poor people in America are overweight. They have air-conditioning, cable TV, and usually a car. If you’ve spent as much time traveling in the third world as I have then you’ll know that a description like that simply doesn’t fit ‘poor people’ at all.
The single mother living on public assistance in a Chicago housing project may not have a life I would want for my daughter, but she has exactly the kind of life that millions of poor people in the third world would want for themselves. I think you’d be hard pressed to find anyone from the slums of Caracas or Jakarta who wouldn’t swap in an instant. In Lagos or Nairobi even the better off citizens would take that trade. And that’s why they aren’t rioting in the streets in Chicago. Because when your children are going hungry it’s easy to see violence as an answer. But it’s much tougher when you may not have all you want, but you do have all you need.
You could argue that the hard left is a victim of it’s own success – but I disagree. The fact is, their success isn’t their own – it is by definition someone else's. Without someone else generating wealth, they would have nothing to redistribute. But the fact is, their redistribution is already too pervasive to foster the kind of violent uprising they’re hoping for. And that won’t change until the government has run completely out of rope.
Rising food prices domestically would get them there by increasing the desperation of our poor. International socialism starved nearly 70 million people in the 20th century, so we know they have no problem with it as a political tactic. But I think we’ll see open warfare abroad before domestic food prices will get to the level the hard left requires to fulfill their goals.
As a country, lost cost food production is the one area where we continue to utterly dominate the world. Places like Brazil, Mexico, and China will fall apart and places like Nigeria and Indonesia will be in flames first before our food costs reach a crisis level. But don’t think the hard left doesn't have it in them to push that way anyway.