Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Geronticide Revisited

Skulls

There has been much discussion recently about declining birth rates in the Western world and the demographic crisis that must inevitably result. Commentators often point out that the projected age distribution thirty years from now — with old people far outnumbering the young — will be catastrophic. No nation in history has ever faced such a reproductive decline and survived. No matter how fertility patterns change in the near future, we are told, it is too late to halt the slide into demographic senescence.

Such gloomy predictions overlook an even gloomier possibility: a rise in the fertility rate among people of breeding age is only one way that the age distribution of a population might assume a more normal curve. This is not something any of us wishes to contemplate. No one in his right mind wants to consider the possibility that the upper end of the age distribution will be culled until the ratio of young to old returns to a level that can be socially and economically sustained. Yet, given present political trends, this seems an increasingly likely outcome.

More than three years ago I posted a speculative analysis of possible scenarios for the “demographic winter” that will inevitably face the Western world. That essay was written several months prior to the collapse of the real estate bubble and the onset of the Great Recession. Since then there has been no sign that the best-case assumptions I outlined will ever come to pass.

Despite an unprecedented sovereign debt crisis, the Western democracies have not substantially reduced their statutory obligations to the elderly and the retired, nor has the retirement age been adjusted upwards significantly in most countries. The Baby Boomers are now entering retirement and claiming their expensive entitlements, while the diminution of the skilled taxpaying workforce is eroding the capability of the state to pay out future benefits without massive new borrowing.

The immigrants that are still being imported in large numbers to Western countries (a million or so have arrived in Britain since I wrote my previous analysis) will not pay enough in taxes to support the natives who are retiring. Research in several countries indicates that immigrants cost the state more in social benefits, medical care, law enforcement, etc. than they pay in taxes. The bankruptcy of the Western democracies can only be hastened by increasing the rate of immigration.

The newcomers, however, become reliable voters for the Socialist parties in whatever country they take up residence. In alliance with aging native Socialists, they provide an all but unshakeable majority demanding ever-increasing benefits and state-provided services. Reducing the level of benefits for retirees (and everyone else) thus becomes politically impossible.

This convergence of maladaptive political and social processes has recently become evident in Greece. The Greek government is attempting to implement a severe austerity regime which is designed to reduce the country’s unprecedented deficit and sovereign debt. Public sector wage and benefit cuts, pension decreases, the raising of the retirement age, and other unpopular measures are part of the package.

The Greek populace is adamantly opposed to such measures, and has taken to the streets in violent demonstrations to protest any further austerity. Strikes have become an almost daily occurrence, making the country unappealing as a tourist destination and further depleting the state’s tax revenues. Greece is on its way to becoming ungovernable, absent a military coup or some other intervention that does away with the normal democratic process.

The Greek present is a sober reminder of the future facing the entire West. Somebody had to go first, and due to their peculiar social, economic, and political conditions, it had to be the Greeks.

When democracy breaks down, an authoritarian regime of some sort is the only viable alternative to societal chaos. Different countries will realize authoritarian control through different means. A coup may be the most likely outcome in Greece. Under similar circumstances in the USA, a state of emergency will probably be declared, followed by martial law.

Once a non-democratic form of governance is installed, the grim, necessary, unpopular measures that could not be considered previously may then be implemented. As pointed out in the article below, the elderly members of society will be easier to victimize than young people, even if the geezers outnumber the punks by three or four to one. A thousand vigorous, angry, and armed young men present a more persuasive political argument than tens of thousands of weak and doddering old people in their rocking chairs, wheelchairs, and nursing home beds.

This is the grim and horrible calculus that may someday have to be employed by the hard men who take over the remnants of the state in a post-democratic world.

I hope I’m wrong about all this. Let’s pray that our feckless leaders somehow cast aside their fecklessness and cowardice. May they rediscover the qualities of true leadership that are necessary to see us through the looming crisis!

Unfortunately, the signs are not auspicious.


Contemplating Geronticide
June 3, 2008


We’ve been thinking the unthinkable lately here at Gates of Vienna.

Fjordman, El Inglés, Paul Weston, and I have all laid out future scenarios that lie beyond the pale of acceptable speculation. Regardless of the accuracy of our projections, or the fact that we are not advocating what we anticipate, the possibilities that we contemplate here are considered out of bounds.

So we may as well be hanged for a sheep as for a goat.

I’d like to take a slightly different speculative tack this time. Just for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the West has acted on Zenster’s recommendations — that Muslim immigration has been curtailed, and the immigrant population in the West has been reduced by deportations or “incentives for reverse migration” — so that the presence of large numbers of Muslims in the West is no longer an issue.

What happens next?

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Henry PerigalIf Western countries follow the Japanese example and refuse to ameliorate their declining populations by importing immigrants, they will eventually face a demographic crisis. The United States will get there eventually, but Europe will be first.

So let’s look ahead a quarter of a century, to a time when the survivors from my generation — the Boomers — will be drooling geezers, and the young folks among our readers (you know who you are!) will still be in their maturity.

No matter what transpires in the meantime, the population of native First-Worlders will be a lot grayer by then. Even if Westerners start whelping out babies like crazy during the next decade, the birth dearth will make itself decisively felt during the coming years. Next year’s cohort of European babies will just be coming online in twenty-five years, and in the meantime much of the adult population will have retired and started drawing their pensions.

For the sake of this argument, we’ll make a few assumptions. These conditions are of varying likelihood, but I am listing them as premises; that is, we take them as given and make deductions accordingly:

1. Third World immigration, including Muslims, is no longer an issue, and is not significant.
2. The existing European social welfare systems, including pensions and state-funded health care, continue in more or less their present configuration.
3. Given premises #1 and #2, tax rates have risen to make up for the demographic deficit, so that social programs are still being funded.
4. In order to assume #3, we must also assume that technological innovation has allowed productivity to increase so that an adequate tax base exists.
5. Also, the retirement age has been incrementally raised to maintain a larger base of productive taxpayers.
6. Finally, we assume that medical technology is still available to allow retired citizens to survive well into their ninth and tenth decades.

Note that these are best-case scenarios: under our existing circumstances, these predictions represent the best that we can possibly expect. No assumption is made about changes in Western birth rates, because the effect of any such changes will not yet be fully felt in our societies during the next quarter-century.

So, given all of the above, imagine that you live in the year 2033. You’re walking the streets of Oslo, or Bremen, or Cardiff, or Zurich. What do you see?

The first thing you’ll notice is that there are geezers everywhere. Lots and lots of them.

The mods, rockers, hippies, yippies, disco divas, and hopeless squares of my era are now drooling and nodding in geriatric wards and assisted care facilities all across the heartland of the West. They’re not just listening to “Stairway to Heaven” on the digital sound systems of their nursing homes — they’ve actually got a trembling foot on the first step.

The ratio of retired people to employed workers has increased from the 1:6 or 1:3 or 1:2 that prevailed in 2008 to 1:1, or even 2:1 in some countries — that is, twice as many retirees as workers. The remaining workers not only have to pay more taxes, they have to be more productive to keep their parents’ generation in comfortable retirement.

Medical technology and the mandates of patient care serve to keep more and more people alive far past their allotted three score and ten.

And every year of life after seventy gets more and more expensive. Bypass surgery, organ transplants, hip replacements, pacemakers, MRIs, CAT scans, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, blood work, and all the accompanying medication: the cost of keeping a senior citizen alive into the ninth decade has risen astronomically. Not only that, in 2033 centenarians have become a commonplace: there are hundreds of thousands of them.

Living to a ripe old age has become very, very expensive.

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Imagine that you’re a working person living in this Brave New World. You’re in your maturity, between the ages of forty and sixty-five. You have no chance of retiring any time soon, because the retirement age was gradually raised during your youth to make sure that you and your cohort would continue being productive and paying taxes for a longer time.

If you live in one of the countries (for example, Sweden) where the tax rate was near or over 50% in 2008, then your taxes now consume 75% or more of your income. Even those countries (for example, Ireland) that used to be low-tax havens have been forced to raise tax rates above 50% just to maintain state social programs at their accustomed levels.

Depending on what country they are from and when they retired, many of the elderly you see around you have been relaxing and drawing state pensions for well over thirty years. A centenarian in France may well have been existing on state subsidy for more than half of his lifetime.

So you’re a man who works hard and struggles to make ends meet. Because of your economic circumstances, you and your wife put off having children for so long that it’s now too late to have them. The burden of taxation leaves you with just enough to be barely comfortable, giving you no hope for any real prosperity.

Walking along the street on the way to work, you push past all the elderly people with their walkers and wheelchairs. You see them crowding the park benches and nodding over their tables in the café or the library.

So how do you feel about all this? Are you well-disposed towards all these crowds of geezers? Do you wish them only the best, and gladly surrender the bulk of your income to keep them in their comfortable retirement?

Or are you just a tiny bit angry and resentful at this, the endgame of the Socialist state?

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Given the above outline — which, remember, is based on a best-case scenario — I see several possible outcomes. I’ll list them below in order of increasing likelihood.

1. The use of draconian incentives to keep people employed well past the age of sixty-five.

As the demographic disaster looms ever closer in the coming years, the planners of the Socialist state may choose to make old-age benefits unavailable to those who are certified as “fit to work”. In Europe, at least, all the certifying physicians will be state employees, so the criteria for determining “fitness” can be ratcheted downward until the required numbers of citizens are removed from full-time retirement at state expense and kept in employment.

Another tactic that would provide incentives for workers to remain employed would be to require that retired people on state pensions live in dormitory-style facilities, which — given the normal tendencies of centralized bureaucratic Socialism — would be very unappealing places to live.

2. The removal of the franchise from those citizens deemed no longer competent.

The full menu of Socialist care will be sustained for a while by the voting power of the elderly, who can be expected to vote their interests as a massive bloc. However, the EU is already an undemocratic political structure, and will become even more so in the next few years. Presumably the interests of the technocrats in charge will allow them to veto the opinions of ordinary citizens, so that the franchise can be taken from anyone the state deems incompetent.

Once again it will be physicians employed by the state who will do the certifying, so the competency of potential voters will be weighed with the interests of the state in mind.

3. Massive civil unrest of the young and the fit against the cosseting of the parasitic elderly.

The geezers will outnumber the young and fit, but they will be no match for them if civil society ever begins to falter. A crushing tax burden and the manifest unfairness of the system can be expected to bring angry masses of young men and women into the streets in protest.

Which will be more important to the nervous authorities at that point, the votes of the ancient and decrepit people in nursing homes, or the mob howling in the street outside their windows?

4. A gradual reduction in the quality of medical care for the elderly

State-financed health care, plagued as it is by chronic shortages, is already rationed in one form or another within the welfare states of Europe.

It would take just a small bureaucratic shift to push the rationed care away from old people, thereby hastening their demise and easing the burden on a highly stressed welfare system.

5. The widespread increase of officially-sanctioned euthanasia.

The Netherlands presents a model for the gradual introduction of state-sponsored euthanasia. It begins with “mercy killing” — assisted suicide for those who have stated unambiguously their desire to die. The next step is for relatives, in consultation with doctors, to affirm that dear Mama or Papa “would never have wanted to live this way”.

The final stage will be a determination by the state — certified by those ever-busy physicians — that the quality of a patient’s life has been so degraded that his or her continued existence is detrimental to the common good of society.

This process will be expedited by the vast numbers of childless old people, who will be much less likely to have anyone to intercede on their behalf.

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All five of the above scenarios could emerge in various combinations, and the first four will tend inexorably towards the fifth. As the state gradually withdraws decision-making power from old people, it will become much easier to shunt them aside, subject them to degrading conditions, and eventually exterminate them.

But, in any case, something will have to give. Things cannot continue as they are indefinitely.

Some of the outcomes described above — or maybe some additional and even less pleasant ones that I haven’t thought of — are inevitable.

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All of this is a fantasy, because the best-case conditions I used as premises are highly unlikely to occur.

In a futile attempt to bolster the existing system, immigration of Third World people, especially Muslims, will continue unabated, and probably increase.

Despite these last-ditch measures, the welfare state will become insupportable and will eventually disintegrate piece by piece.

The effort to postpone the inevitable through high taxation and central control will cause an economic collapse, either in slow motion or as a sudden and catastrophic discontinuity.

The above conditions make it likely that the rule of law will erode, and that the social contract — the hard-won result of centuries of struggle — will at last be abrogated.

The exact configuration of the final outcome depends upon the order and magnitude of these events. But there’s no escaping it: massive and fundamental change lies ahead for the West, and will arrive within the lifetimes of those who are now under forty years old.


Anyone who concludes that I am advocating any of the outcomes described above has failed to read the text carefully.

I realize that adding this disclaimer is unlikely to do any good, yet I disclaim: this post is descriptive, not normative.

24 comments:

Takuan Seiyo said...

Remember my pendulum theory. Since the 1870s, the West's pendulum has been moving inexorably left, in the "Progressive" direction. By 1968 it had reached any realistically possible extreme of the amplitude, yet instead of starting on the reverse of the arc, toward an equilibrium point, it smashed the stops of reason and sanity and continued in an ever more "Progressive" direction.

By now, we live in an asylum run by the worst, stupidest and most deluded of its inmates. When all this breaks down and crumbles into dust, the pendulum will start moving back. And since it has so much kinetic energy stored in it by now, on its reverse arc it will move past the 1968 point and probably past the 1870s point too. Perhaps to the days when 57 is old and your thoughts and desires shift from this world to the next, and you don't live much longer for you are not supposed to. And maybe farther back yet, when children unfit to survive were left in the cold to die of exposure, and old people unfit to support themselves were brave enough to walk away into the mountains and not come back.

Many, many assumptions about life and society that we hold sacred now will be looked upon as as fantastic aberrations one day in the future.
Personally, I yearn for solid state equilibrium circa 1958, but it can't happen; it's that vast excess of kinetic yin energy that will be driving us back to the Roman, yang pole.

Robert Marchenoir said...

As far as anonymous blog comments are an indication of social currents, I sense a definite trend of the young longing for an age war against the old (speaking from my corner of the world, here in France).

And that's not plain ordinary adolescent rebellion, either. Its group hatred, strikingly similar to class, religious or racial hatred. With all their nasty overtones and implications. It's an attempt at power grabbing through genocide.

One more "phobia" to deal with, in the wonderful world of multiculturalism.

Lawrence said...

Obamacare has it covered.

According to an Aide to Rep. Paul Tonko a Democrat (2009): "Probably the best part of the bill is the increase in Hospice care which will solve the prolonging of life issue."

Hospice care is where we send old people to die. People we consider past the point of receiving any viable life-extending benefit from medical treatment.

Obamascare places a significant portion of the responsibility for deciding who is considered ineligible for life extending medical treatment in the hands of appointed political bureaucrats.

So, there's the Democrat's solution to the problem of the increasing population of elderly... just let them die.

Anne said...

Baron,

Check out:

"Problems with Mixed-Race Marriages and Relationships"

http://sociobiologicalmusings.blogspot.com/2011/10/problems-with-mixed-race-marriages-and.html


...

Cobra said...

I also think and feel( yeah, that dreaded lib word) that we are, as a civilization, headed toward Armageddon.
Western countries are making more and more insane decisions. It's like we lost our collective mind, worshiping the process not the end result...
As a result, the western world will enter a 1000 years of darkness.

You New said...

An unstable scenario, highly suitable for revolution. The obvious "solution" is to payoff the families, pay off the hospices and elderly homes and begin the systematic pricks of the needle.

Graham Dawson (Archonix) said...

What strikes me is, this entire argument is framed from a single perspective of constant growth. The ear over the "age bomb", for want of a better word, and the subsequent statist desire for unrestricted immigration, along with just about every economic argument ever made is based on the assumption that constant growth is the norm, and even desirable.

It isn't.

The welfare state is predicated on constant growth of the population along with "early" death of the majority past retirement age. The corporatist pseudocapitalism is based on the assumption of constant growth providing a steady increase in profit for large, state-protected corporations. Government revenue and spending projections are based on the assumption that population just continue to rise at a constant rate. The anti-human "environmental" movement assumes that mankind must undergo massive reductions in population and state-enforced population controls because it first assumes that human population is inevitably going to grow at a constant rate into eternity.

Every single issue afflicting the west rests on the assumption that population must grow, and must always grow. Every single negative outcome has been a result of policies aimed towards guaranteeing that constant growth, or acting on the assumption of constant growth.

Every single one has been wrong.

This assumption that growth must be constant is wrong. It is wrong. There's no other way to put it. To solve our problem, we have to abandon the assumption of constant population growth. That would naturally require abandoning the assumptions that underpin the western welfare state but it would also obviate the need for constantly growing immigration to western nations. Japan has proven that it's possible for a democratic nation to prosper when the majority of its population is growing old, without importing vast numbers of foreign workers.

The elderly bubble is just a bubble. It will pass, and population will stabilise at a near-constant level. People don't want to accept that, so various anti-human or statist population controls - either via immigration of unofficially sanctioned execution of the elderly - are implemented to try and maintain a constant population growth and a "viable" population pyramid.

It needs to end.

RonaldB said...

Well, things may be in a pickle, but there's no cause to be pessimistic. Many of our problems can be solved by draining the pools of other people's money that everyone loves to spend.

Most of the medical expenses associated with the elderly come from the last few months of life, and are associate with heroic, futile efforts to stabilize the person on death's doorstep. We could relieve a considerable part of the government medical deficit by making a definite decision that someone will not be helped by further treatment. If someone has the resources or the insurance to continue treatments on his own, I'm all for it.

Foreign wars and foreign aid also soak up huge amounts of the revenue of a government. In the case of the US, we are supporting a war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and giving large amounts of aid to Palestine, Egypt, and Israel. It seems to me there is a lot of wriggle room for shrinking back government's share of national income.

As for retirement income, the government might have to resort to means testing, and even to put into dormitories those people who allowed themselves to reach retirement without savings. I'm 66, lived in a dormitory in college, in the army, and in a house with a group of people after the army. It's not so bad. If necessary, I'll take boarders into the house, even if they have dogs. As they say: "To life".

Dymphna said...

This is from egghead, via email:

@Robert Marchenoir: "It's an attempt at power grabbing through genocide."

The omission to force young taxpayers to pay for insane amounts of end-of-life medical care for geriatric patients who have been drawing retirement and Social Security payments - and health benefits - for longer than the senior citizens ever worked is NOT genocide.

During my one year of doctoral studies in Health Services Organization and Research, I worked as a Patient Representative (then called Superintendent) for a large major metropolitan hospital.

To me, it was readily apparent that few people in a hospital environment are prepared to say, "No" to pointless (often painful) expensive treatment options. For example, in my direct personal experience, reviving a 94 year old lady from a heart attack can be more violent to the body, brain, and spirit than simply allowing the poor soul to return to God!

Physicians have clear (often taxpayer-financed) reimbursement incentives to continue medical care for as long as possible. Physicians also will NOT allow a clearly dying patient to die if there is any chance of a lawsuit.

Family members are educationally unprepared - and emotionally unready - to limit and/or refuse treatment to clearly dying older relatives. Family members often just need emotional permission to let a clearly dying person die - an emotional release from current and future guilt. Family members play this horrible game of medical "chicken" with physicians - with each party trying to get the other to agree that further treatment is pointless - so that neither needs to feel guilty about a geriatric death that would be natural in a pre-technological age - or current third world country.

Patients may be unable to speak to their own wishes to die for a wide variety of reasons including their own 20th century guilt about dying, dementia, and/or physical incapacitation.

No one is ready to allow anyone to die so geriatric patients receive very expensive Herculean efforts to extend their lives - far past any reason - and it is well-past time to address this situation on a national level.

I do agree that medical rationing will occur - but it does already in favor of senior citizens who are consuming a vast amount of societal resources - and who are ready and willing to transfer the bulk of the cost of both their 1) daily upkeep via Social Security, and 2) expensive medical treatment via Medicare - and now Obamacare - to younger working people.

If this is age warfare, then old people have been "winning" for a long time - but the situation is financially untenable as the Baby Boomers begin to become geriatric patients.

EscapeVelocity said...

Christians will rebuild from the ashes....at least in parts of the West. Islam is likely to in some parts.

The nihilist Godless hedonists dont have the metaphysical tools to build a civilization from scratch or ashes, to drive humans and communities to do so. They know how to drive one into the dirt though, having a grand ole time pleasuring themselves.

Robert Marchenoir said...

Egghead :

You're mixing different issues there.

1. You're obviously alluding to the specific situation in the United States. I was explicitely speaking about what's going on in France.

2. You're mixing feelings, morals and facts. The resentment that the young may entertain against the old (or vice-versa, for that matter) is one issue. The economic facts about health care and retirement are another. Ethical issues about old age and death are a third issue. Obviously, they are connected. However, any honest discussion of these matters must distinguish beetween those aspects.

3. Just to stress one important difference between your experience and mine, you say that doctors and families (presumably in the US) tend to overextend the desirability of end-of-life support. My perception is that it's rather the opposite in France (and in Europe). The trend here is for the old and their families to claim the right to die, up to and including medical-assisted suicide for still healthy people.

This trend might be coming your way. I'm not sure you should be happy about it.

4. You mention as an argument for denying health care to the very old the fact that they might have been pensioners for longer than they were working. This is criminal. This is precisely the danger I was warning against by speaking of age warfare, resentment and genocide.

The right discussion to have in order to address the economic issues raised by longer life expectancy is not about witholding health care for the dying. It's about changing the economics of retirement and health care insurance. Inciting people to retire later, for instance, is rational and fair. Denying them health care is not.

5. It's a good thing, not a bad thing, that the bulk of medical expenses incurred by an individual takes place towards the end of his life. It means we have succeeded in eradicating mass epidemics and crippling illnesses occurring at a young age. I don't see why we should hope for the reversal of this trend.

6. This shows that your claim that old people have been "winning" for a long time (as opposed, presumably, to young people "loosing") is completely wrong. Infants not dying in droves, children and young people being nowadays largely freed from the risk of fatal disease, is not "young people loosing". It's young people winning, and on a spectacular scale.

7. Finally, any rational and fair discussion of these issues needs to take into account that there's no such thing as "the old" and "the young". There are former young people, and future old people. That's why age warfare is stupid, criminal and wrong.

Sagunto said...

Baron -

Perhaps our future needn't be as gloomy and dark as you paint it. If and when the welfare state system collapses, premise 2 no longer applies and the same goes for all other assumptions that logically follow from it.

As to the victimization of baby-boomers, I think there's a chance for a bit more optimism.

You wrote:

"This is the grim and horrible calculus that may someday have to be employed by the hard men who take over the remnants of the state in a post-democratic world."

The "hard men" and women of the future only have to realize that their sole function should be to keep the state at its absolute minimum and - as a consequence thereof - out of people's lives. Gone are the taxes, with a state that will only get by one some kind of "user fees" for an income. At least that's an honest income, not amassed by means of extortion.
No more income tax, that's for sure. No more progressivist military adventurism at the financial expense of the public, et cetera.

The less horrible scenario that I envision, starts from the assumption that people will, again, start to take care of themselves and each other, as soon as the state has gotten out of their way.
In other words, there might be a blessing in disguise in the demise of the entire welfare state system: a chance for the free market to finally be reinstated.

So when I adjust your premises to the possibility of a total collapse of the entire system itself, then there's that silver lining again. Same goes for the possibility of substantial less social engineering (with the welfare state out of the way), which may very well result in the collapse of the state-sponsored process currently leading to the forced Islamization of our societies.

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Egghead said...

Hello Robert. I am happy to discuss this issue with you at length. :)

I will address your numerical points one by one.

1. I believe that the situation is comparable in the United States and Europe - with neither being GENOCIDE as you typed OR even geronticide as the Baron typed. The societal decision to reallocate societal resources from the dying to the living is NOT genocide or geronticide. Asked succinctly: On what moral basis do you argue that clearly dying people should claim an unlimited, non-definite, or infinite amount of societal resources to extend life for a highly limited amount of time?!

2. Rather than my, as you say, "mixing feelings, morals, and facts," the reallocation of societal resources away from clearly dying people eliminates feelings and attendant emotional decisions in favor of cold hard financial facts. It is the lack of emotion that disturbs older people because emotion has been used to conceal and bolster a financially untenable situation regarding both Social Security (We mustn't let Grandmom starve!) and Medicare (We mustn't let Grandmom suffer!). As far as morals, I refer you to the question above and add the following question: How do older people fail to see that the complete societal subsidy of older people for half - or more than half of their lifetimes - is contributing to lower birthrates by young people and families being taxed into oblivion to support a societal reallocation of resources from the living to the dying?!

More to come....

Egghead said...

3. I believe that people in both the United States and Europe have made every effort to accommodate end-of-life support for the dying. Social Security and Medicare - and its European variants - ARE the ultimate end-of-life support allowing a large amount of Western senior citizens to extend their natural lives far past any era in memory. Senior citizens who exist on state subsidies for half - or more than half - of their lives are hardly "claiming the right to die" rather they are claiming the right to live - and live well without working - at taxpayer expense!

Egghead said...

4. Robert, your argument in this point shows that your MARXIST indoctrination is COMPLETE.

First, I will specify that there are two different issues here that are often confused: 1) denying medical care, and 2) denying reimbursement for medical care.

Second, I will admit that the very bad tendency here - already seen in the United States in regard to breast cancer treatment and now prostate cancer testing and treatment - well, the bad tendency is going to be to limit or deny actual medical care and procedures.

In my opinion, medical care and procedures should be allowed to anyone while state reimbursement should be limited or denied to the dying.

More to come on this specific point....

Cobra said...

It is not the Islam where the greatest danger comes from.
Their civilization is rotten to the core, and it is even more unstable than the western civilization in LONG RUN.
I am very concerned about the fascist China.
A great number of people, with an excess of males, racist, hungry and indoctrinated by the commie close past.
That's where the real danger resides.
Do you think the chinese wouldn't love to see the islamists deliver the death blow to the west only to transform all the rest of humanity into slaves?
Think again.

Baron Bodissey said...

Sag. --

Yes, I agree that your "less horrible" scenario is a distinct possibility. But I'm not sure how probable it is.

Two thoughts:

(1) The bloated modern state will not relinquish one iota of control willingly. In fact, it is likely to extend control and tighten its grip as the economic fabric begins to disintegrate. Therefore, the state "getting out of the way" seems somewhat unlikely.

A revolution won't help, because the victors will take hold of the levers of state power with an iron grip, just as the Bolsheviks did. They will just use them for different purposes.

(2) If the welfare state collapses and the state is no longer in the way, hundreds of millions of childless Baby Boomers will be left to their own devices. No family to help, no state to support them, the pseudo-private insurance companies long bankrupt. This will not be a pretty scenario.

This "less horrible" outcome is probably the best we can hope for. But a Phillip K. Dick-style dystopia seems more likely to me.

Sagunto said...

Baron -

You wrote, and I agree it won't be pretty:

"hundreds of millions of childless Baby Boomers will be left to their own devices. No family to help, no state to support them, the pseudo-private insurance companies long bankrupt. This will not be a pretty scenario."

Suppose it will all more or less play out this way (childless Boomers however, might still have the wider community, churches et cetera, helping them out) then the "less horrible" part of my scenario will be that at least future generations have a chance of substantially less government supplanted by a free and actually functioning market that stands a chance of being the motor of a free and civil society. To get back at past generations, in my own country, boomers have in fact taken quite good care of themselves with very few of them totally dependent on state or family support in any way.


Egghead -

I agree with you on Robert's point 4. What he should be arguing with regard to health-care goes something like this (for convenience, I let the vid start at the 32sec mark):

Peter Schiff about a govt created problem that shouldn't exist

Kind regs from Amsterdam,
Sag.

Robert Marchenoir said...

Egghead :

"Your argument in this point shows that your MARXIST indoctrination is COMPLETE."

You must be bonkers. I'm a rabid anti-marxist. I'm all over the Internet claiming Marine le Pen has a socialist agenda. And my point 4 is certainly not marxist. It's classical liberal, if anything.

You obviously did not understand a word of what I wrote. Please re-read carefully. My answer to your points is already in my former comment.

One more hint : you cannot separate "the living" and "the dying". If people live rather than die, it may be because they have received adequate medical attention. One can, and does, die at any age.

I suppose you endorse the policies of the former socialist Labour government of Great Britain, whose communist National Health Service has been known to refuse a liver transplant to an alcoholic with a potentially fatal condition, because he failed to cut the bottle.

You come through as a young guy thinking he's immortal. You should be careful what you wish for. You might come to regret it. And that might be anytime. Not necessarily when you reach 90.

Takuan Seiyo said...

I don’t believe we have stressed enough how much of a difference it makes in social transfer and support payments whether the respective givers and takers are racially and culturally homogeneous.

In the United States, not a day goes by without a severe beating of a white person by Blacks, both male and female and usually more numerous and younger than the victim. Latest Black sporting event referenced here . Note what the old man says, "I think it was just to 'get the old geezer." This is an Eloi talking who is afraid to name his Morlocks, though yes, they are one quarter his age.

Alas, Whites both in the U.S. and n Europe have become Eloi. As they age and the Morlocks they have so emboldened (and in Europe, imported) maintain a much younger demographic profile, there will be salient and unhappy changes in many more areas than just medical care.

Egghead said...

Hello Robert. I'm actually a middle-aged wife and mother. :)

In any case, I believe that you are a Marxist because you appear to philosophically support the idea that Western governments should force ALL young working people to subsidize decades of living expenses and extensive medical expenses for ALL senior citizens. Am I wrong?!

"Marxism is an economic and social system based upon the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. While it would take veritably volumes to explain the full implications and ramifications of the Marxist social and economic ideology, Marxism is summed up in the Encarta Reference Library as “a theory in which class struggle is a central element in the analysis of social change in Western societies.” Marxism is the antithesis of capitalism which is defined by Encarta as “an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods, characterized by a free competitive market and motivation by profit.” Marxism is the system of socialism of which the dominant feature is public ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange."

"Under capitalism, the proletariat, the working class or “the people,” own only their capacity to work; they have the ability only to sell their own labor. According to Marx a class is defined by the relations of its members to the means of production."

...

"A proletariat or socialist revolution must occur, according to Marx, where the state (the means by which the ruling class forcibly maintains rule over the other classes) is a dictatorship of the proletariat. Communism evolves from socialism out of this progression: the socialist slogan is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.” The communist slogan varies thusly: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”"

What is Marxism?

Robert: On the Temple at Delphi is inscribed the saying, "Know thyself." You are a philosophical Marxist if you support the Western Welfare State. Surprise! :)

Robert Marchenoir said...

Egghead :

"Am I wrong ?"

You are dead wrong. If you want to know what I think, don't copy and paste some website.

1) Read me.
2) Ask me.

Sounds simple enough to me. I told you I was a classical liberal. That's about as opposite to marxism as it gets.

You say you're middle-aged. Middle-aged people usually have more sense than shouting "Marxist!" over issues as complex as this one.

I wonder if you would still hold such oversimplified opinions if you were to fall victim tomorrow to a debilitating medical condition, which would force you to depend on intensive health care and outside personal assistance for the rest of your life -- say 40 years, until you get really "old".

I mean some condition which would prevent you from attending to the simplest personal care -- let alone copying definitions of Marxism on the Internet.

Would you then choose to walk into the woods in order to die there and not be a burden on the "young" -- assuming you'd even be able to get lost all by yourself ? Somehow, I'm not so sure.

If you had really taken care to read my words, you'd have noticed that the more "marxist" thing I said is that we should have a discussion about the economics of retirement and health care.

This does not sound terribly marxist to me.

Unless you're the right-wing version of those leftists who shout "racist !" as soon as someone says we should have a discussion about the economics of immigration.

Egghead said...

Robert: My goodness, has someone mixed a little self-righteous into your cereal today?!

You are NO more a classical liberal than any other Marxist - unless you believe in Orwell's Doublespeak - despite your highly illogical protestations otherwise.

"Doublespeak is language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words. Doublespeak may take the form of euphemisms (e.g., "downsizing" for layoffs), making the truth less unpleasant, without denying its nature. It may also be deployed as intentional ambiguity, or reversal of meaning (for example, naming a state of war "peace"). In such cases, doublespeak disguises the nature of the truth, producing a communication bypass."

Doublespeak

"Government, as explained by Adam Smith, had only three functions: protection against foreign invaders, protection of citizens from wrongs committed against them by other citizens, and building and maintaining public institutions and public works that the private sector could not profitably provide. Classical liberals extended protection of the country to protection of overseas markets through armed intervention. Protection of individuals against wrongs normally meant protection of private property and enforcement of contracts and the suppression of trade unions and the Chartist movement. Public works included a stable currency, standard weights and measures, and support of roads, canals, harbors, railways, and postal and other communications services."

Classical Liberalism

Egghead said...

Robert: The problem is that, right many years ago, committed godless Marxists infiltrated the educational systems in Western countries and convinced everyone that "That shalt not steal" and "Thou shalt not covet" are totally outdated; and, really (!), it is positively noble to steal money by force - from everyone else - as long as the reason to steal is a "good" reason.

Thus, in our brave new world, the ends nobly justify the means for flat-out stealing. Just ask Al Gore about that godless religion of junk science global warming - oops, my bad, climate change - racket that he and his criminal Marxist friends have latched onto like frothing pit bulls in a fighting ring.

Remember that money represents the fruits of labor. So, the logical (perhaps classical is a better term here?!) "progression" is for Marxists to invent enough "good" reasons to steal 100% of money thus enslaving everyone - else (of course) - to pay for the whims (um, needs) of Marxists.

Hey Michelle Obama, I want to tour the five star hotels of the world on the taxpayer dollar, too! I can get to Target on my own - that is until you raise fuel taxes to prevent global climate change by discouraging me from driving (and heating my home in the winter) - a "good" reason, I guess, if you say so. No true science need apply.

The Marxist endgame was expressed by Obama's nominal Kenyan dad who believed that it is fully permissible for the state to institute a 100% tax on labor as long as the state provides benefits - benefits which are to be meted out by the monarch-like ruling Marxists long after all democratic republics and the rule of law are overruled by Marxists - who intend to steal world governance as well as labor.

The forced insertion of national health care in the United States is one of many Marxist plots to overthrow the United States government. Busy, they are.