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VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: Hard Work and the Real Meaning of Wealth

August 18, 2011

August 18, 2011

Hard Work and the Real Meaning of Wealth

By Victor Davis Hanson

A once civil and orderly England was torn apart by rioting and looting last week — at first by mostly minority youths, but eventually by young Brits in general. This summer, a number of American cities have witnessed so-called “flash mobs” — mostly

African-American youths who swarm at prearranged times to loot stores or randomly attack those of other races and classes. The mayhem has reignited an old debate in the West: Are such criminally minded young Americans and Britons turning to violence in protest over inequality, poverty, and bleak opportunities?

The Left often blames cutbacks in the tottering welfare state and high unemployment. In this view, the havoc and mayhem visited upon us are a wake-up call in an age of insolvency: Do not cut entitlements or we will reap the whirlwind. Instead, tax the affluent and redistribute more of their earnings to those who have been unfairly deprived.

The Right counters that the problem is not too few state subsidies, but far too many. The growing — and now unsustainable — dole of the last half-century has eroded self-reliance and personal initiative. The logical result is a dependent underclass that spans generations and becomes ever unhappier and more unsatisfied the more it is given from others. The rioters were not fighting for survival. Today’s looters have plenty to eat. That is why they target sneaker and electronics stores — to enjoy the perks of life they either cannot or will not work for.

via RealClearPolitics – Hard Work and the Real Meaning of Wealth.

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