Thesis Number: #2 (Page 1 of 8)

Human rights and the Welfare State are abused to consolidate the power of those who are enriched by the culture of entitlements. Shorn of corresponding obligations, that culture corrodes morality, hollows out family life and degrades the economy. To reverse social decline, the statecraft that legitimises “transfer incomes” must be challenged, to emancipate people so that all may live by their labour. The integrity of public property rights needs to be restored, and the social contract revised to affirm personal responsibilities. Evolutionary progress is not possible when people are denied the right to create their own authentic culture.

The Cheating State

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GREED is not embedded in the DNA of society. In its cultural form, it has become the DNA of what is now a globalized civilization, the triumphant achievement of a statecraft that manipulated people’s minds and manners to the point where most people do not recognize that they have been co-opted into a routine process of cheating.

Institutionalized greed was incubated in Europe in the 16th century. It mutated over the following centuries, and was transplanted through colonization. In the late 20th century, the cultural virus captured post-Soviet Russia, and is now being seeded in China.

As individuals, we are all susceptible to over-indulge ourselves. I am not referring to that kind of behaviour. The greed that is authorised by statecraft is the art of living off the labour of others. Slavery, one of its rudimentary forms, was outlawed once its beneficiaries realised that there was a more efficient way to cheat people of the fruits of their labour. Today, the statecraft of greed is continuously schooled into the minds of the young, to create a new generation of acolytes.

There are two ways to demonstrate that greed has rendered society dysfunctional. The first would be to compile a dossier of indictments. Files on individual cases from countries like Greece, Italy and Spain would be thick with evidence drawn from politics, business, the media, and so on. The problem with this approach is that those who would not want to face the awful truth about their societies would rationalise the corruption as the failings of individuals, rather than symptomatic of a structural flaw in their culture. They would settle for the prosecution of individuals as “rogues”, believing that this would cleanse the system. That is the favoured ending to Hollywood movies: blame a few villains rather than accept the need for fundamental changes to the pillars that support our communities.

More effective is the forensic examination of the law, and of institutions, and the collective psychology of the population, to excavate the sources of systematic corruption. This reveals the processes by which people are lured into greedy behaviour, the kind that causes people to cheat.

This approach identifies the solutions that would erase the propensity to cheat. But how may we recognise the kinds of behaviour that encourage cheating? Tony Blair, the man with a mission to change society, had no doubts about the answer to that question.

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