Just one paragraph tucked toward the end of a column. But Judith Warner's words offer a revealing insight into how liberals view economics and the world at large. In the lefty mindset, making it isn't a matter of doing or making something of value. It comes down instead to contriving to get a piece of the action, a share of the wealth that some undefined other has created in some undescribed way.
The gist of Warner's column, Compassion Deficit Disorder, is that Americans have become increasingly cranky and suspicious of how others are gaming the system. She cites Michael Savage's accusations that the reported outbreaks of autism, asthma ADHD are false epidemics, the result of doctors and parents conniving to produce false diagnoses that yield increased services or welfare. Warner also points to high school students applying to college who dream up minority status of one sort or other to work affirmative-action levers to their benefit.
Warner also takes the liberal's obligatory shot at "the rants of Rush," a gratuitous swipe since she doesn't bother to tie Rush to her thesis in any meaningful way, other than to complain about the general state of "meanness" abroad in the land. Echoes of Michelle Obama?
It's when Warner attempts to explain the phenomenon she has described that she reveals the progressive's perspective on the world [emphasis added]:
From where — other than ignorance — does all this ugliness spring? From a cultural moment when people feel locked in hand-to-hand combat, competing for an ever-shrinking stock of resources. The kids applying to college — in what promises to be, demographically, one of the toughest years ever — are feeling this whittling-away of the cultural pie most acutely.
Let's deconstruct. In the Warner weltanschauung, and by extension in that of liberals at large, getting ahead doesn't result from creating wealth through the provision of valuable goods or services. It comes instead from getting a share of the wealth—the "stock of resources," or even more colloquially, the "pie"—of which Warner speaks. Call it soft socialism. Don't work hard to succeed. Instead, use the power of government to redistribute wealth, or learn to game systems to get a piece of the action—what's known [and perfected] in France as "systeme D." That is not the mindset that made America great. It is instead the road to depression, not merely of the economy, but of the mind and soul.