July 4th, 2014

July 4th, 2014

     This 4th of July, as we celebrate the birth of what the Framers intended to be “one Nation under God”, it would behoove all to remember that the very foundation of that intention rests on immutable Law. In celebration, we must never forget that the Order transcending time and circumstance demands obedience often accompanied by service and sacrifice. Freedom and justice for all are never free! The following message, written by Stephen McDowell of the Providence Foundation, documents a commitment evidenced in the Continental Congress of 1776 that is most often lacking as those we place in offices of honor and trust fail to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from enemies, foreign and domestic.

     In addition to grounding our government on the principles consistent with their Christian Biblical worldview, the Framers who were, in fact, realists, even more than they were defined by sectarian denomination, relied on the truths conveyed through science and history, as they understood them at the time based on reason, to structure this new government. After McDowell’s revelation of facts from 1776, there is another article written by Dr. Anthony Daniels printed in Imprimis, volume 43 from Hillsdale College that details how far from the truths so clearly displayed throughout history our Nation has strayed. Moved beyond the reason demanded by the Founders and Framers, the politicians elected by hedonist humanist constituents totally ignore and subjugate the truths evident before them. Very seldom is a writing as by Dr. Daniels, so relevant, poignant, and applicable to our current economic and political disaster, available to learn from, if we would but open our eyes and ears to the voice of Truth.

CftC

What Really Happened on July 4th

Stephen McDowell

     During the first days of July in 1776 the Continental Congress was considering one of the most significant events of all time—the declaration by thirteen colonies to become the new nation of the United States of America.

     On the issue of independence all the colonies were agreed, but a few of the most cautious delegates still were not sure about the timing. Rev. John Witherspoon, a delegate from New Jersey, answered their concerns as he said:

   There is a tide in the affairs of men. We perceive it now before us. To hesitate is to consent to our own slavery. That noble instrument should be subscribed to this very morning by every pen in this house. Though these gray hairs must soon descend to the sepulchre, I would infinitely rather that they descend thither by the hand of the executioner than desert at the crisis the sacred cause of my country![1]

     The delegates went on to approve the Declaration of Independence. After the announcement of the vote, silence moved over the Congress as the men contemplated the magnitude of what they had just done. Some wept openly, while others bowed in prayer. After signing the Declaration with unusually large writing, the President of the Continental Congress, John Hancock, broke the silence as he declared, “His majesty can now read my name without glasses. And he can also double the price on my head.”[2]

Adding to the solemnity of the tense moment, Hancock said, “We must be unanimous; there must be no pulling different ways; we must all hang together.” Benjamin Franklin responded in his characteristic wit, “Yes, we must indeed all hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately!”[3]

On August 1, the day before an engrossed copy of the Declaration was signed (the copy now displayed in the National Archives in Washington, D.C.), Samuel Adams, whom men of that day ascribed “the greatest part in the greatest revolution of the world,”[4] delivered an address in which he proclaimed regarding the day of Independence: “We have this day restored the Sovereign to Whom alone men ought to be obedient. He reigns in heaven and… from the rising to the setting sun, may His kingdom come.”[5] The men who helped give birth to America understood what was taking place. They saw in the establishment of America the first truly Christian nation in history.

As Franklin suggested, they did “hang together,” but even so, many of these signers as well as tens of thousands of colonists lost their lives, families, reputations, and property in order to purchase liberty for themselves and their posterity.[6]

What was it that motivated these people to risk everything in order that they might have freedom? What was it that brought about the events leading to the colonists declaring their independence? John Adams, our second President and a leader in the cause of independence, revealed what he and many others thought as he wrote at the time that the colonies declared their independence:

   It is the Will of Heaven, that the two Countries should be sundered forever. It may be the Will of Heaven that America shall suffer Calamities still more wasting and Distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the Case, it will have this good Effect, at least: it will inspire Us with many Virtues, which We have not, and correct many Errors, and Vices, which threaten to disturb, dishonor, and destroy Us. – The Furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals…. But I must submit all my Hopes and Fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the Faith may be, I firmly believe.[7]

     John Hancock echoed the reliance upon God and the belief that the destiny of nations is in the hand of God as he said:

   Let us humbly commit our righteous cause to the great Lord of the Universe…. Let us joyfully leave our concerns in the hands of Him who raises up and puts down the empires and kingdoms of the earth as He pleases.[8]

     Thomas Jefferson’s original draft of the Declaration of Independence contained a recognition of God, in particular: the laws of nature’s God, the existence of a Creator, the equality of all men before God, Creator-endowed rights,[9] and the purpose of government to protect the God-given rights of God-made man. However, the reliance upon God was so universally adhered to among those in America that the Continental Congress insisted it be made clear in this seminal document. When the draft of the Declaration was debated before Congress, they added the phrase, “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World, for the rectitude of our intentions,” as well as the words “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence.”[10] Thus, we see the Continental Congress declaring to the entire world their Christian convictions.

Not only does the Declaration of Independence reflect our Founders’ faith in God, but this document only came into being as a result of Biblical ideas that had been sown in the hearts of the colonists for over one hundred and fifty years. The American Revolution was a revolution of ideas long before it was a revolution of war. As the clergy and other leaders taught the colonists their God-given rights as men, Christians, and subjects, the inevitable result was a nation birthed in liberty.

Samuel Adams recognized the importance of educating everyone throughout the colonies so that they could reason out their rights and political convictions based upon Biblical principles. For this reason he began establishing “Committees of Correspondence” in 1772.[11] His desire was for the colonists to be united “not by external bonds, but by the vital force of distinctive ideas and principles.”

This unity of ideas and principles helped to promote union among the colonists. The common ideas sown within the colonists’ hearts by Samuel Adams and many other Christian thinking men of that and earlier generations, resulted in the Declaration of Independence and the external union of the colonies into the United States of America.

Our celebration of the birth of the nation on July 4th must surely place God at the center, for without His guiding hand our nation would have never come into being. As did the Founders of this nation, so should we recognize this fact. John Adams wrote that the day of independence “will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.—I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty … from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”[12]

[1] Samuel Davies Alexander, Princeton College During the Eighteenth Century (New York: Anson D.F. Randolph & Co.), p. ix.

[2] This is an anecdotal story reported by many sources using varying terminology. This quote is in Robert Flood, Men Who Shaped America, Chicago, 1968, p. 276. Another records Hancock said: “There, I guess King George will be able to read that” (The Annals of America, Vol. 2, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, p. 449). This and the other comments could have been made on July 4 or perhaps on August 2 when the engrossed copy was signed by most of the delegates.

Jefferson records that on July 4 the Declaration was “signed by every member present, except Mr. Dickinson” (The Autobiography of Thomas Jefferson in The Life and Selected Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Adrienne Koch and William Peden, New York: The Modern Library, 1944, p. 21). Historian Benson Lossing concurs, writing that after approving the Declaration all the delegates signed their names on a paper that was attached to a copy of the Declaration (Benson J. Lossing, Our Country, A Household History of the United States, New York: James A. Bailey, 1895, Vol. 3, p. 871). However, some people do not think that the delegates signed on this day (citing various indirect remarks from delegates, in addition to the fact that such an original copy of the signees is not known to exist), but rather that all would not sign until an engrossed copy was made. Soon after approval of the Declaration on July 4, with the oversight of the committee, printer John Dunlap prepared and printed copies, perhaps during the night of July 4, which were sent to the governors of several states and to the commanding officers. These broadsides were authenticated by the signatures of John Hancock, the President, and Charles Thomson, the Secretary. On July 19 the Congress ordered the Declaration engrossed on parchment (Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, The Library of Congress, 1999, p. 36). This engrossed copy was signed by 54 delegates on August 2 and two others afterward, one in September and the other later in the autumn (Lossing, Our Country, A Household History of the United States, Vol. 3, p. 871).

[3] The Annals of America, Vol. 2, Chicago: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1968, p. 276.

[4] George Bancroft, History of the United States, Boston: Little, Brown, and Co., 1878, Vol. VI, p. 355.

[5] Samuel Adams, An Oration Delivered at the State-House, in Philadelphia, to a Very Numerous Audience; on Thursday the 1st of August, 1776; London, reprinted for E. Johnson, No. 4, Ludgate-Hill, 1776. See also Frank Moore, American Eloquence: A Collection of Speeches and Addresses, New York: D. Appleton & Co., 1858, Vol. 1, p. 324. (Some historians do not think Adams made these remarks, but even if this is so, the content is consistent with his beliefs and writings.)

[6] These men were prepared to give their lives for the cause of liberty, and thought this was a very real possibility. Signer Benjamin Rush would later write to signer John Adams: “Do you recollect your memorable speech upon the day on which the vote was taken? Do you recollect the pensive and awful silence which pervaded the house when we were called up, one after another, to the table of the President of Congress to subscribe what was believed by many at that time to be our own death warrants?” (Letter of Benjamin Rush to John Adams, July 20, 1811, Letters of Benjamin Rush, edited by L.H. Butterfield, Vol. 2: 1793-1813, Princeton University Press, 1951, pp. 1089-1090.)

[7] The Book of Abigail and John, Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, ed. L.H. Butterfield, March Friedlaender and Mary-Jo Kline, Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1975, p. 140. Letter from John to Abigail Adams, July 3, 1776.

[8] John Hancock, “Oration, Delivered at Boston, March 5, 1774,” in Hezekiah Niles, Principles and Acts of the Revolution in America, New York: A.S. Barnes & Co., 1876, p. 42.

[9] Jefferson’s original wording for this point was, “that all men are created equal and independent; that from that equal Creation they derive Rights inherent and unalienable.” The committee assigned to oversee the drafting of the Declaration changed it to, “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” See Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, Washington: The Library of Congress, 1999, pp. 31, 60.

[10] See Julian P. Boyd, The Declaration of Independence, p. 35.

[11] See William V. Wells, The Life and Public Service of Samuel Adams, Boston: Little, Brown, and Company, 1865, Vol. 1.

[12] Letter from John to Abigail, July 3d. 1776, in The Book of Abigail and John, Selected Letters of the Adams Family, 1762-1784, p. 142. The Congress voted on July 2 for independence, while they approved the Declaration of Independence (which states the reasons for their action) on July 4. Adams was referring to the July 2 vote in this letter to Abigail.

What Really Happened on July 4th

May 2014

The Worldview that Makes the Underclass

Anthony Daniels – Writer and Doctor

     I worked for 15 years as a doctor and psychiatrist in a general hospital in a poor area of a British city and in the prison next door, where I was on duty one night in three. The really dangerous people were in the hospital, perhaps because of the presence in the prison next door of very large uniformed men who exerted a strangely calming effect on the prisoners. In the hospital, I personally examined many thousands of patients who had attempted suicide or at least made a suicidal gesture (not quite the same thing of course). They were overwhelmingly from poor homes, and each patient told me of the lives of the three, four, or five people closest to them—and I spoke to many of those people as well. I could not, of course, have spoken to so many people, and heard about so many others, without some general impressions forming themselves in my mind. One abiding impression was of the violence of their lives, particularly that between the sexes—largely the consequence of the fluidity of relations between the sexes—and also of the devastating effect of prevalent criminality upon the quality of daily existence.

     Before I did this work, I had spent a number of years working as a doctor in Africa and in other places in the Third World. I also crossed Africa by public transport, such as it was, and consequently saw much of that continent from the bottom up. These experiences also helped me in my understanding of what I was later to see in England. As Dr. Johnson put it, all judgment is comparative; or as Kipling said, “What should they know of England who only England know?” Indeed, what should anyone know of anywhere, who only that place knows?

On my return to England, I used to visit the homes of poor people as part of my medical duties. Bear in mind that I had returned from some of the poorest countries in the world, where—in one case—a single hen’s egg represented luxury and the people wore the cast-off clothes of Europe that had been donated by charity. When I returned to England, I was naturally inclined to think of poverty in absolute rather than in relative terms—as people not having enough to eat, having to fetch water from three miles away, and so forth. But I soon ceased to think of it in that fashion.

In the course of my duties, I would often go to patients’ homes. Everyone lived in households with a shifting cast of members, rather than in families. If there was an adult male resident, he was generally a bird of passage with a residence of his own somewhere else. He came and went as his fancy took him. To ask a child who his father was had become an almost indelicate question. Sometimes the child would reply, “Do you mean my father at the moment?” Others would simply shake their heads, being unwilling to talk about the monster who had begot them and whom they wished at all costs to forget.

I should mention a rather startling fact: By the time they are 15 or 16, twice as many children in Britain have a television as have a biological father living at home. The child may be father to the man, but the television is father to the child. Few homes were without televisions with screens as large as a cinema—sometimes more than one—and they were never turned off, so that I often felt I was examining someone in a cinema rather than in a house. But what was curious was that these homes often had no means of cooking a meal, or any evidence of a meal ever having been cooked beyond the use of a microwave, and no place at which a meal could have been eaten in a family fashion. The pattern of eating in such households was a kind of foraging in the refrigerator, as and when the mood took, with the food to be consumed sitting in front of one of the giant television screens. Not surprisingly, the members of such households were often enormously fat.

Surveys have shown that a fifth of British children do not eat a meal more than once a week with another member of their household, and many homes do not have a dining table. Needless to say, this pattern is concentrated in the lower reaches of society, where so elementary but fundamental a means of socialization is now unknown. Here I should mention in passing that in my hospital, the illegitimacy rate of the children born in it, except for those of Indian-subcontinental descent, was approaching 100 percent.

It was in the prison that I first realized I should listen carefully, not only to what people said, but to the way that they said it. I noticed, for example, that murderers who had stabbed someone always said of the fatal moment that “the knife went in.” This was an interesting locution, because it implied that it was the knife that guided the hand rather than the hand that guided the knife. It is clear that this locution serves to absolve the culprit, at least in his own mind, from his responsibility for his act. It also seeks to persuade the listener that the culprit is not really guilty, that something other than his decisions led to the death of the victim. This was so even if the victim was a man against whom the perpetrator was known to have a serious grudge, and whom he sought out at the other side of the city having carried a knife with him.

The human mind is a subtle instrument, and something more than straightforward lying was going on here. The culprit both believed what he was saying and knew perfectly well at the same time that it was nonsense. No doubt this kind of bad faith is not unique to the type of people I encountered in the hospital and the prison. In Shakespeare’s King Lear, Edmund, the evil son of the Earl of Gloucester, says:

   This is the excellent foppery of the world: that when we are sick in fortune—often the surfeit of our own behaviour—we make guilty of our disasters the sun, the moon, and the stars, as if we were villains on necessity; fools by heavenly compulsion; knaves, thieves, and treachers, by spherical predominance; drunkards, liars, and adulterers, by an enforced obedience of planetary influence; and all that we are evil in, by a divine thrusting on. An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!

In other words, it wasn’t me.

This passage points, I think, to an eternal and universal temptation of mankind to blame those of his misfortunes that are the natural and predictable consequence of his own choices on forces or circumstances that are external to him and outside his control. Is there any one of us who has never resorted to excuses about his circumstances when he has done wrong or made a bad decision? It is a universal human tendency. But in Britain, at any rate, an entire class of persons has been created that not only indulges in this tendency, but makes it their entire world outlook—and does so with official encouragement.

Let me take as an example the case of heroin addicts. In the 1950s, heroin addiction in Britain was confined to a very small number of people, principally in bohemian circles. It has since become a mass phenomenon, the numbers of addicts having increased perhaps two thousandfold, to something like 250,000 to 300,000. And with the statistically insignificant exception of members of the popular culture elite, heroin addiction is heavily concentrated in areas of the country such as the one in which I worked.

Heroin addiction has been presented by officialdom as a bona fide disease that strikes people like, shall we say, rheumatoid arthritis. In the United States, the National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction quite baldly as a chronic relapsing brain disease—and nothing else. I hesitate to say it, but this seems to me straightforwardly a lie, told to willing dupes in order to raise funds from the federal government.

Be that as it may, the impression has been assiduously created and peddled among the addicts that they are the helpless victims of something that is beyond their own control, which means that they need the technical assistance of what amounts to a substantial bureaucratic apparatus in order to overcome it. When heroin addicts just sentenced to imprisonment arrived, they said to me, “I would give up, doctor, if only I had the help.” What they meant by this was that they would give up heroin if some cure existed that could be administered to them that would by itself, without any resolution on their part, change their behavior. In this desire they appeared sincere—but at the same time they knew that such a cure did not exist, nor would most of them have agreed to take it if it did exist.

In fact, the whole basis of the supposed treatment for their supposed disease is rooted in lies and misconceptions. For example, research has shown that most addicts spend at least 18 months taking heroin intermittently before they become addicted. Nor are they ignorant while they take it intermittently of heroin’s addictive properties. In other words, they show considerable determination in becoming addicts: It is something, for whatever reason, that they want to become. It is something they do, rather than something that happens to them. Research has shown also that heroin addicts lead very busy lives one way or another—so busy, in fact, that there is no reason why they could not make an honest living if they so wished. Indeed, this has been known for a long time, for in the 1920s and 30s in America, morphine addicts for the most part made an honest living.

Withdrawal from opiates, the fearfulness of which, reiterated in film and book, is often given as one of the main reasons for not abandoning the habit, is in fact a pretty trivial condition, certainly by comparison with illnesses which most of us have experienced, or by comparison with withdrawal from other drugs. I have never heard an alcoholic say, for example, that he fears to give up alcohol because of delirium tremens—a genuinely dangerous medical condition, unlike withdrawal from heroin. Research has shown that medical treatment is not necessary for heroin addicts to abandon their habit and that many thousands do so without any medical intervention whatsoever.

In Britain at least, heroin addicts do not become criminals because they are addicted (and can raise funds to buy their drugs only by crime); those who take heroin and indulge in criminal behavior have almost always indulged in extensive criminal behavior before they were ever addicted. Criminality is a better predictor of addiction than is addiction of criminality.

In other words, all the bases upon which heroin addiction is treated as if it is something that happens to people rather than something that people do are false, and easily shown to be false. This is so whatever the latest neuro-scientific research may supposedly show.

I have taken the example of heroin addiction as emblematic of what, with some trepidation, I may call the dialectical relationship between the worldview of those at the bottom of society and the complementary worldview of what one might call the salvationist bureaucracy of the government. In the old Soviet Union there was a joke in which the workers would say to the party bosses, “We pretend to work and you pretend to pay us.” In the case of the heroin addicts, they might say, “We pretend to be ill, and you pretend to cure us.”

One of the possible dangers or consequences of such a charade is that it creates a state of dishonest dependency on the part of the addicts. They wait for salvation as Estragon and Vladimir wait for Godot in Samuel Beckett’s play; they wait for something that will never arrive, and that at least in some part of their mind they know will never arrive—but that officialdom persists in telling them will arrive someday.

Dishonest passivity and dependence combined with harmful activity becomes a pattern of life, and not just among drug addicts. I remember going into a single mother’s house one day. The house was owned by the local council; her rent was paid, and virtually everything that she owned, or that she and her children consumed, was paid for from public funds. I noticed that her back garden, which could have been pretty had she cared for it, was like a noxious rubbish heap. Why, I asked her, do you not clear it up for your children to play in? “I’ve asked the council many times to do it,” she replied. The council owned the property; it was therefore its duty to clear up the rubbish that she, the tenant, had allowed to accumulate there—and this despite what she knew to be the case, that the council would never do so! Better the rubbish should remain there than that she do what she considered to be the council’s duty. At the same time she knew perfectly well that she was capable of clearing the rubbish and had ample time to do so.

This is surely a very curious but destructive state of mind, and one that some politicians have unfortunately made it their interest to promote by promising secular salvation from relative poverty by means of redistribution. Whether by design or not, the state in England has smashed up all forms of social solidarity that are independent of it. This is not an English problem alone: In France the word solidarité, solidarity, has come to mean high taxation for redistribution by state officials to other parts of the population, which of course are neither grateful for the subventions nor find them sufficient to meet their dreams, and which are, in fact, partly responsible for their need for them in the first place. And not surprisingly, some of the money sticks to the hands of the redistributionist bureaucracy.

By a mixture of ideology and fiscal and social policies, the family has been systematically fractured and destroyed in England, at least in the lowest part of the society that, unfortunately, needs family solidarity the most. There are even, according to some researchers, fiscal and welfare incentives for parents at the lower economic reaches of society not to stay together.

Certainly the notions of dependence and independence have changed. I remember a population that was terrified of falling into dependence on the state, because such dependence, apart from being unpleasant in itself, signified personal failure and humiliation. But there has been an astonishing gestalt switch in my lifetime. Independence has now come to mean independence of the people to whom one is related and dependence on the state. Mothers would say to me that they were pleased to be independent, by which they meant independent of the fathers of their children—usually more than one—who in general were violent swine. Of course, the mothers knew them to be violent swine before they had children by them, but the question of whether a man would be a suitable father is no longer a question because there are no fathers: At best, though often also at worst, there are only stepfathers. The state would provide. In the new dispensation the state, as well as television, is father to the child.

A small change in locution illustrates a change in the character and conceptions of a people. When I started out as a doctor in the mid-1970s, those who received state benefits would say, “I receive my check on Friday.” Now people who receive such benefits say, “I get paid on Friday.” This is an important change. To have said that they received their check on Friday was a neutral way of putting it; to say that they get paid on Friday is to imply that they are receiving money in return for something. But what can that something be, since they do not appear to do anything of economic value to anyone else? It can only be existence itself: They are being paid to continue to exist, existence itself being their work.

It has been said that the lamentable state of affairs I have described has been brought about by the decline, inevitable as we now see it, of the kind of industry that once employed millions of unskilled workers, whose wages, though low by today’s standards, were nevertheless sufficient to sustain a stable, though again by today’s standards not rich, society. And I do not think that this view can be altogether dismissed. But it is far from the whole story. One of the curious features of England in the recent past is that it has consistently maintained very high levels of state-subsidized idleness while importing almost equivalent numbers of foreigners to do unskilled work.

Let me here interject something about the intellectual and moral corruption wrought by the state in recent years—and I don’t know whether it applies to America. The governments of Britain, of both political parties, managed to lessen the official rate of unemployment by the simple expedient of shifting people from the ranks of the unemployed to the ranks of the sick. This happened on such a huge scale that, by 2006—a year of economic boom, remember—the British welfare state had achieved the remarkable feat of producing more invalids than the First World War. But it is known that the majority of those invalids had no real disease. This feat, then, could have been achieved only by the willing corruption of the unemployed themselves—relieved from the necessity to seek work and relieved to have a slightly higher subvention—but also of the doctors who provided them with official certificates that they knew to be bogus. And the government was only too happy, for propaganda purposes, to connive at such large-scale fraud. One begins to see what Confucius meant when he said, 2,500 years ago, that the first thing to do to restore a state to health was to rectify the names—in other words, to call things by their right names rather than by euphemisms.

There are three reasons that I can think of why we imported foreign labor to do unskilled work while maintaining large numbers of unemployed people. The first is that we had destroyed all economic incentive for the latter to work. The second is that the foreigners were better in any case, because their character had not been rotted; they were often better educated—it is difficult to plumb the shallows of the British state educational system for children of the poorest homes—and had a much better work ethic. And the third was the rigidity of the housing market that made it so difficult for people to move around once they had been granted the local privilege of subsidized housing.

I will leave you with an anecdote. As Mao Tse-tung might have put it, one anecdote is worth a thousand abstractions.

I had been asked by the courts to examine a young woman, aged 18, who was accused of having attacked and injured her 90-year-old great-grandmother, with whom she lived, while under the influence of alcohol and cannabis. She had broken her great-grandmother’s femur, but fortunately it did not prove fatal. (Incidentally, the homicide rate, it is said, would be five times higher than it is if we used the same medical techniques as were used in 1960.) I asked the young woman in the course of my examination whether her mother had ever been in trouble with the police.

“Yes,” she replied.

“What for?” I asked.

“Well, she was on the social,” she said—“on the social” in English argot means receiving welfare payments—“and she was working.”

“What happened?” I asked. “She had to stop working.”

She said this as if it was so obvious that my question must be that of a mental defective. Work is for pocket money, the public dole is the means by which one lives.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the view from the bottom, at least in Britain: but it is a view that has been inculcated and promoted from the top.

ANTHONY DANIELS, who often writes under the penname Theodore Dalrymple, is the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal. Born in London in 1949, he qualified as a doctor in 1974 and has worked in various countries in Africa and elsewhere. From 1990 to 2005, he worked as a doctor and psychiatrist in a prison in Birmingham, England. He has written a column for the London Spectator for 14 years, and writes regularly for National Review and the Wall Street Journal. He has published more than 20 books, including Not With a Bang But a Whimper: The Politics & Culture of Decline, The New Vichy Syndrome: Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism, and Life at the Bottom: The Worldview that Makes the Underclass.

The above article is adapted from a speech delivered on May 20, 2014, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Dearborn, Michigan.

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