by Brad Nelson
I think I’ve been using the colloquialism “yutes” ever since I heard Joe Pesci use it in “My Cousin Vinny,” which is a very funny movie, by the way. Herman Munster (that is, Judge Chamberlain Haller, played by Fred Gwynne) looks at Vinny, who is in his courtroom, and says “Yutes?” He didn’t understand what Vinny (Joe Pesci) was trying to say until it’s finally made clear to the judge that he means “youths.”
To me it’s a classic scene. And I’ve used the word “yutes” ever since, especially when referring to the younger generation, particularly those who (unbeknownst to them) have been heavily indoctrinated in the socialist-Progressive worldview. The use of the word “yutes” is an implicit acknowledgment of an ideological chasm. And it’s urgent that we throw a line over to the other side of this chasm because, for lack of a more lengthy explanation, socialism does not work. Rather than producing fairness, equity, and prosperity, it does the opposite. And if a full explanation for such notions is too esoteric or lengthy to pursue in a relatively short essay such as this, one can simply focus on the money.
Here are the facts. In states all over the nation, as well as the Federal government itself, we are running up huge amounts of unsustainable and freedom-killing debt. Buh-illions and buh-illions, with the bursting-“b,” as Carl Sagan might pronounce it. And now even trillions and trillions. Debt is a freedom-killer because it takes away our choices and automatically syphons off a huge percentage of our resources (the fruits of our labor and industry) in order to pay off someone else’s schemes, bad planning, or just plain ideological goofiness. As long as those in government can convince us that taxing and spending is the near equivalent of Jesus’ sermon on the mount or Gandhi’s march to the sea, they will continue spending and running up debt until quite literally things collapse. Then what will happen?
That is the million dollar question. No one knows. In the West, we have all grown up in such relative peace and prosperity, it is just assumed that this is the natural state of humankind and that everything will work itself out. And, really, isn’t the world full of “end of the world” lunatics and conspiracy theorists? Why should we expect anything less from tomorrow than we have today? Why should anyone think anything can or will collapse?
And they are probably correct. Instead of collapse we might instead see just a steady erosion of our freedoms as debt, inflation, regulation, and state control keep piling up on citizens. We older farts might chafe at this because we have a different conception of freedom and have known times before the current bloat of government. We know that freedom is a delicate thing, a bit of an oddity in the entire history of the world, and is something that needs to be carefully maintained and safeguarded. We old farts know that freedom is not the natural state of humankind and of society.
But what will happen then when an entire generation of yutes grows up knowing only Big Government, high debt, minute regulation of nearly every area of their lives (in England officials are even checking the contents of people’s refrigerators), and thus know relatively little freedom? And even if yutes do chafe at this Big Brother Government, we know from history (and perhaps from our own experiences with political correctness) the power of the state to propagandize. They (and their obsequious media) will call “hot” cold or “cold” hot and that’s what people will believe.
We saw this phenomenon in the global warming scam. The state has enormous power to indoctrinate people into entirely self-serving and fraudulent ideas and schemes (including, I must say, the scheme of socialism itself). With enough programming and indoctrination, you might even get people defending the long arm of the state and doing the state’s bidding by belittling the individual, the free market, and freedom itself. There is plenty of this going on now. Walmart is regularly bashed. The pursuit of the American Dream (and that nasty thing called “profit”) is often frowned upon while the highest and most noble pursuit is considered to be obtaining a job in government. Obama himself has belittled the idea of freedom and self-responsibility as “everyone out for themselves.”
What will happen to a society that is constantly rope-a-doped by bogus Big Government causes such as the global warming scam? When it is considered the height of irresponsibility to even question what our Big Government benefactors tell us, what will happen to freedom? When a society’s largest concern is saving polar bears (whose numbers, contrary to global warming scammers, are on the increase and have been so for some time) instead of understanding the founding principles of our republic, what is to become us us, let alone the yutes? There is very little reason to view yutes in our society any differently than you would a frog in a kettle of water that is being slowly heated. It is said that if you turn the water up slowly until it boils, the frog will never jump out and will die. The small increments are not noticed.
One ray of hope is the Tea Party movement and what this represents. It was primarily a reaction to the reckless orgy of Federal spending, bailouts, and vast program proposals (cap-and-trade as well as the takeover of 1/6 of the economy, otherwise known as “health care reform”). This caused the frog to jump. The increments of change were no longer small and incremental. The writing was on the wall and it was becoming apparent to more and more people that Congress (primarily Democrats) were burying us in debt and severely impinging on our freedoms.
The frog that jumped. But that frog is at a distinct disadvantage. It does not control the media or government schools where much of our cultural attitudes are formed and indoctrinated. The Left has a built-in head start. Leftist propaganda is regularly dispensed through the mainstream media, higher education, movies, and even K-12 education where there is often as much emphasis on indoctrinating yutes in a quasi-religious environmental Mother Gaia cult as there is in teaching them reading, writing, and arithmetic.
What this has produced is a statist’s dream. A statist is someone who sees life and society through the lens of government. They see life not as a product of the individual and his or her own choices and goals, but as a product of the state and what the state wants for them and from them. And the way this happens is by hooking us from cradle to grave on entitlements and stuff that the state convinces us we just could not, or should not, live without. It gets to the point that we expect every little problem in life to be something that the state can, and should, take care of. And with this mindset established, we are hooked as powerfully on the entitlement mentality as on a drug. (There were actually student riots in Germany recently when politicians, flooded in debt, finally reacted by asking people to pay for at least part of their tuitions.)
The entitlement mentality is like a cancer on a culture. It turns morality upside down, where morality is always determined by the checkbook (your taxes, that is). It soon gets to the point that to not have the state act in the face of any problem is then by definition considered immoral or uncompassionate. And the trumpeted problem may be real or perceived, for the state, in order to extend the reach of its tentacles, will raise every issue to a “crisis” and try to exaggerate problems…and, like global warming, may even make them up out of whole cloth.
There are many notions that yutes, in particular, are amenable to. One is the idea of “unity.” Yutes were fed this grand idea in the last election that “unity” was one of the highest goals of all. And to the extent that we are unified under the founding principles that make our society what it is (free markets, a written Constitution, limited government, free speech, protections for the rights of the individual, private property rights, an independent court system, free and fair elections, the rule of law as opposed to the rule of men), unity is good. But individualism is the very foundation of liberty, for the individual is the smallest and most vulnerable minority of all.
But this emphasis on individualism is often derided by the left as “letting everyone just fend for themselves.” Again, implicit in that characterization is that the state, not you, is responsible for your life. And once this paradigm is accepted by a society, there can then be no principled or legal stance against politicians imposing their “visions” or solutions upon you. You no longer have a say in what you want (such as what kind, if any, health care to purchase). Tomorrow it may be what kind of car you can drive….if any at all. What kind of food you can eat. Where you can live. Where you can go to school. This is always and ever where socialism leads. As soon as you give up the care of your life to the state, you are left with no legal or moral recourse for objecting to what the state says is good for you. That squishy notion of “the good of society” will forever trump your own individual wishes and desires. And any society where the individual can be trampled on is one headed for tyranny. Yutes must therefore beware the clarion call of “free stuff.” It’s never free. It has a price.
The idea of socialism to yutes sounds very good. What could be better than looking after one another in a “social” way? And when the idea of people doing things for themselves is derided as “everyone out for themselves, and damn the rest,” it can be a seductive call. And this is but one of many notions that enable statists to grab more and more power. And when the state has power, that’s power that you no longer have. Traditionally we are a society of James Dean-like rebels. As Marlon Brando said in “The Wild One,” “What’re you rebelling against, Johnny?” “Whaddya got?” We are a society of “do your own thing” and “just do it.” But in a socialist society, doing your own thing quickly becomes anti-social by definition. If you’re not for “society” and are not going along with what those at the top say is best for all, that leaves everyone more and more doing government’s thing, not their own.
Notions of “equality” and “fairness” are also run through the socialist word-munging machine until they come out the other end meaning something entirely different. And political philosophers such as myself will note that these definitions always and ever give the state more power. Equality has traditionally (and rightly) meant “equality of opportunity” or “equality under the law.” It meant any man, or woman, might grow up to be president. You have to work for what you want, although there are no guarantees. Life is inherently somewhat of a crap shoot. But you do have the freedom to try.
But then a new, bolder, perhaps even slightly insane, generation came along that insisted on guarantees. It redefined the word “equality” to now mean “equality of outcome.” And with this sleight-of-hand it now meant that the state had the legal, rightful, and moral power to pick winners and losers and to even things out according to its own notion of “fairness.” If government saw that two people (or a group of people) were not achieving the same things, government then stepped in to try to “equalize” the situation which they (disingenuously and self-servingly) saw as a result of discrimination or other unfairness. Such types remain conveniently and completely blind to the fact the even identical twins do not achieve the same level of success in life.
And all this indoctrination of socialist ideals (and this is what they are) quite conveniently leaves those in government (including the hangers-on, such as unions and other special interests) in power and in control. It is this burgeoning political class (and the hangers-on) who are right now turning our political system from one of self-government to an all-out Chicago-style patronage system where pillage is the watchword. This is the system and the mindset that collapsed Detroit. Politics is becoming much like Henry Louis Mencken’s description of an election: “Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods.” (You’ll find this quote and more in Walter Williams’ excellent article “Who’s to Blame?”.)
Everything right now is geared by the left toward equating compassion with government spending. That is the prime socialist message. And perhaps from each person’s perspective they think they’re getting something out of it that they would otherwise not have gotten. And with hordes of people now receiving government hand-outs and paying little or no taxes, this is often true. But the big buzz word of today is “sustainability.” That is usually applied to environmental issues, but not very often (if at all) to financial or social issues. But we now have a truly unsustainable level of spending, entitlements, give-aways, and debt. It is “compassion” run amok. And could it really be compassion if it is leading to such dire things? Might it instead be simply greed? Might it be excess? Might it be unwise policies and programs?
A lack of serious consideration of these questions is why we are going trillions into debt with little thought about what this will do to us today and to future generations. It’s as if we all (and not just yutes) had become a pack of spoiled children who know only the immediate gratification needs of the moment like a baby crying for his or her bottle. That was one of the main reasons this whole global warming scam (which is rightly coming apart and being exposed even as we speak) gained legs and stayed alive as long as it did. People equated big and broad government action as a Good Thing. And after having had the crap scared out of them for years now, after having been told of one dire impending crisis after another that had to be solved now with HUGE government action, they began to believe it. That frog did not only not jump out of the pot of water, it rolled over onto its back. And worst of all, in doing so it thought “What a good boy am I.” Compassion, at the individual level, was equated with government action, even running contrary to actual science and truth itself.
It became “cool” to be “for the environment,” for instance, despite reality, despite whatever real-word conditions and evidence existed. It is like this too regarding many important issues facing us, including economics. The mere status of an idea is given far more credence than just the nuts-and-bolts merits of an idea. Society seems to have become one big ongoing marketing campaign with the so-called “Age of Reason” left far behind in the dust. “Jackass” is cool. Facts are uncool. Yutes in particular are driven by novelty, peer pressure, and the “coolness” factor, but not just yutes by any means. Old farts (perhaps trying to remain young or like “yutes”) are making the same mistakes. When you can get slick and dishonest politicians and other hucksters to change the very definition of what is cool, of what is caring, and of what is compassionate, and have those things ultimately equate to little more than more government spending and government programs — and especially more taxes on you — you’ll get just what we have today: runaway debt with no end in sight.
But what if drowning ourselves and future generations in debt isn’t so compassionate? What if we come to terms with the fact that the global warming scam was designed not to save the earth but to entrench politicians in power over us? What if people (yutes included) woke up one day and valued freedom, sane spending, and limits on government as some of the most compassionate ideas you could hold? There would then be a true revolution in this country, and a revolution away from where we’re heading now where “spending equals saintliness.” There would be another generation of yutes (perhaps finally deserving of the word “youths”) who had re-discovered what America’s founders had discovered over 200 years ago: freedom is not only of extreme value in its own right….it works. But what we’re being sold now by the image-crafters and marketeers on the left (and quite a few Republicans as well) is that government is the thing, and the only thing, that can produce freedom and prosperity. It is the answer for every problem we have. But that is a scam, and a self-serving scam from the perspective of politicians.
What if people, including yutes, were to re-discover this fact of freedom? Is it possible? What if instead of seeing ourselves as victims, as oppressed classes, and spoiled brats even, we understood that freedom is a tremendous opportunity unto itself and that whatever life you can make for yourself is your own, and it is only your own because you made it, not because it was provided for you? What if, god forbid, we even got to the point where there was stigma attached to taking hand-outs from the government and when it was normal to think it nonsensical for government officials to propose a “stimulus” bill, knowing all along that it is the private sector that is the engine of prosperity?
I’ve talked to many yutes (and many people far above the age of yute) and much of the above would bounce off of them as if you were talking with a Martian. After all, what person in their right mind would give up entitlements? What person in their right mind would give up their victim status? What person in their right mind would want to come out from under the perceived protection of the all-knowing, all-providing state? What person would give up their ability (via supporting some politician or supposedly righteous cause) to rise above themselves and thus “change the world” or “make a difference”? If there were not very many seductive reasons like this to spend, spend, and keep on spending, we wouldn’t be faced with the mountain of debt that we have accumulated. Can we we not also find reasons (whatever our age or yute-ness) to do otherwise?
It’s not just those on the left (yutes or otherwise) who go for Pie In the Sky socialist ideas and who would therefore chafe at a saner, less intrusive, more limited view of government and government spending. The old farts are at least as much of the problem, if not more so. They (we) are the ones, after all, who have been mindlessly voting into office these Big Government politicians with a mind to holding onto our benefits and entitlements. And it has indeed finally become that game that Walter Williams and Mencken talked about in that article referenced earlier. Government is no longer looked upon as a protector of our freedoms and the provider of very basic and necessary services (maintaining roads, bridges, etc.). It instead becomes a de facto pillaging system. And, as Williams notes, we, the voters, are ultimately to blame. More than a few old farts have acted far worse than any yute. And at least the yutes have their relative lack of experience and wisdom as an excuse.
So you see, this little essay here isn’t about blaming yutes for the problems we face. There are actually some young people (many I have met) who are tired of the BS coming out of Washington DC and state governments. The true “yute” that is the problem is that spoiled, provincial, childish, short-sighted, dishonest person (young or old, but especially old) who are the beneficiary of huge amounts of entitlements and pensions (some retiring for life after only a few decades of work). And these entitlements are ultimately laid upon the back of yutes. And although many of the old farts may bitch and moan about “them spendthrift Democrats,” many will not part with their spoils and will keep voting for those of either party who keep the gravy train running and will quickly vote out anyone who dares suggest fiscal sanity and reductions in the goodies. Although the Marxist-socialist activists of the left make it their business to try to instigate as much class envy and class warfare as they can, if we’re not careful we will give people real reasons to resent a certain class. The yutes right now, as programmed as they may be with insubstantial easy-pleasy socialist ideas, will ultimately bare the brunt of any hardship. And they may start to get cranky.
Perhaps the yutes (the young folks of today) may wake up to some of those eternal truths that there is no free lunch. Perhaps they will be impetus for needed reforms. Maybe Big Government, rather than being cool, will start to be seen as being as big of a fraud as global warming or “stimulus” spending. Maybe socialism, instead of being considered the height of compassion, will be seen as the drain on prosperity that it is. We can only hope. And like it or not, the yutes of America and the West are our hope. It’s up to them to carry the torch of freedom or extinguish it in a soup of entitlements. For as Ronald Reagan said,
“You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.” — Ronald Reagan
And rather than throw this current problem entirely on the back of yutes and say “There you go… now it’s yours,” the old farts must come to terms with the fact that they have been getting unsustainable amounts of goodies. No change can come wherein it is only the yutes who are saddled with the problem. • (924 views)