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Burn the Forest Down

When I saw the results of the election, I blurted out “That’s it! I’m moving to…” And then I realized I’d already moved to the UK. I will be here for most of the next three years (barring some unforeseen cataclysm, such as a zombie apocalypse). I will, however, be returning to California from time to time.

My reasons are largely superficial: it’s where I came from, it’s where I have a place to return to, and it’s where my friends live. Lately though I have thought of a new reason to spend my time in the US in California: welfare.

California has the most social welfare spending of any state. It has the most programs, spends the most money, and generally has the lowest standards. Before too long ago I just assumed, in my mind, that upon my return to California during the summers that I would work and earn a little money to help pay for college. Since the elections, I have had the thought circulating in my head: why? Why should I bust my ass to find a job, then bust my ass to work a job only to earn minimum wage, and pay taxes on it when I could instead just sit on my ass and get paid for it?

So, when I get back to California, imma get me some Obama money. Actually, no I won’t, mostly because I’m too lazy to fill out the various forms, and I don’t want to give all my information to the government because I am a paranoid, tin-foil hat wearing loony libertarian. That aside, I don’t want to get sucked into the arguments about “Welfare discourages work and prolongs unemployment” (as is often posited by The Right) or the counter-argument posited by The Left that “Welfare isn’t enough to live off of”…instead, I want to burn the forest down.

The current circumstances of California…there’s no other way of saying it: it sucks. We have one-party rule, we have ever increasing taxes, and we have a bloated, corrupted government ruled through fiat and rife with cronyism. We also have a governmental phenomenon unique to America: a government that simultaneously overreaches and underperforms. We have massive taxes to support a government that thinks it has the right to tell us what kind of light bulbs we can use and what kind of employees businesses can have, yet our schools are terrible, our roads crumbling, and our courts are waterlogged with frivolous lawsuits. And, of course, the government pays people to sit on their ass and do nothing (otherwise known as welfare). So why support it?

A lot of my friends will struggle, some in vain, to find almost any sort of job they can work over the summer to earn a little money. I say we should not bother. We should all get on the dole and enjoy ourselves at taxpayers’ expense. Working a job merely creates additional wealth which the government can then steal to prolong its existence. If we all get on welfare, we will hasten the demise of the system.

Note that I say ‘hasten’. The demise is coming, on that almost everyone is agreed upon; the current pattern of government spending three dollars for every dollar taxed can’t go on forever. And if something can’t go on forever, it will eventually stop. The building is burning; it was a beautiful building once, but a building that got progressively shittier and shittier over the years. Why would we want to save it in its shitty form? I say, we let the building burn to the ground, leaving only the foundation, so we can build a beautiful, brand new building from the ground up.

Why then did I title my article ‘Burn the Forest Down’ instead of ‘Burn the Building Down’? Because I was harkening back to that classic blockbuster “The Dark Knight”. When Batman/Bruce Wayne seeks help from Alfred in confronting The Joker, Alfred proceeds to tell Bruce a story (in that beloveable Michael Caine sort of way…you know, with the Cockney accent, the gentlemanly charm, and all that) about a jewel thief in the forests of Burma who wasn’t stealing the jewels for the riches. A little later in the film, when Batman is questioning his actions and, indeed, his very purpose in life itself, he asks Alfred if they caught the bandit in Burma. Alfred says, with a suave and cheeky grin, “Yes we got him…We burned the forest down.”

So, to answer my own question, I titled this article ‘Burn the Forest Down’ because I like Michael Caine, I like the story, and I like how nonchalantly and fondly Michael Caine recalls an act of massive ecological desecration. More importantly though, I think we have reached the point of no return in California. Although my burning building analogy works better than the Michael Caine analogy does, it is my belief that we have got to not only burn the building down, but we have to tear away the hiding places of those who got us into this mess. And by that I mean: the Liberals/Progressives who got us into this mess.

We have to expose their ideas as being fundamentally flawed, as having harmful effects, and as being contrary to the founding ideals of this country. The Liberals are hiding in the forest: the forest of “it was Bush’s fault”, the forest of “the rich need to pay their fair share”, the forest of “those evil corporations”, the forest of “Republicans hate gays and women and blacks and Mexicans Hispanics”. We need to burn their forest down. We need to strip away all of those empty buzzwords and hollow catchphrases, clear away all the lies and excuses, and lay bare the fact that Leftist thinking has ruined the state of California and may well yet prove to be the undoing of the entire country.

Or perhaps I’m just being a crazy right-wing nut. Perhaps there is a bit of melodrama and overstatement in there. I will readily admit to being a pessimist. All that being said, I do think there is some merit to my idea. Refusing to produce new wealth which will sustain an unsustainable form of government and instead pouring gasoline on the fire is the new form of civil disobedience which I think every young person should partake in. Forget protests, forget boycotts; just sit on your ass and take taxpayer money.

Of course Ayn Rand would say that the idea of refusing to produce wealth to sustain the government is nothing new. And she would be right. I would beg to differ from her, however, on one key point: Rand’s John Galt inspired protest among the “movers of the world”, the Atlases upon whose shoulders the world turned. Rand wanted those “Big People” to be the ones to bring the world to a stop. I say instead that the protesters should be “the little people”. In fewer words: young people. Why? Because while we’re young, we have no families (meaning wives and children), we have no wider obligations, and we have the time to help burn the forest down. Indeed, time is one of the few things young people have plenty of; mostly because jobs are not something young people have plenty of.

-SL

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