Friday, April 20, 2012

Civilization A-Go-Go

Theodore Darymple on the collapse of civil society in Britain.
A few days ago at a crowded bus-stop in the city of Nottingham, a fat youth of about 13 started to throw food at a friend. Some of it nearly hit me and landed on the ground just beyond me, making a mess.
"Excuse me," I said to the youth, "could you pick that up?"
"Shut the f— up!" he snarled, with real hatred contorting his face.
Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, in England, come—obscenities. No one at the bus stop dared say, much less do, anything. For increasingly, the English are a people who know neither inner nor outer restraint. They turn to aggression, if not to violence, the moment they are thwarted, even in trifles. And those who are neither aggressive nor violent are by no means sure that the law will take their side in the event of a fracas. It is better, or easier, for them to pretend not to notice anything, even if it means living in constant fear.
Under the circumstances, it is hardly surprising that, according to a survey recently conducted by Lloyds Bank, a fifth of all people with assets of more than $640,000 are thinking of leaving the country. Personally I am surprised it is so few. Other surveys have shown that at least 50% of the population wants to leave, in the main to flee the other 50% of the population.
What's happening there is happening here... only a little more slowly, as Charles Murray has noticed.

UPDATE: Peggy Noonan notices too!

1 Comments:

Anonymous Rus said...

Below is an old but cute story that might help to explain why some people want to leave.

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.
So, that’s what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers, he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men – the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’ They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:

The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).
Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

‘I only got a dollar out of the $20,’declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’

‘Yeah, that’s right,’ exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I!’

‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’

‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, boys and girls, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

April 20, 2012 at 7:38 AM 

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