Hipsters on Food Stamps Part II
… hipsters may lack drive, but the world they live in wasn’t set up by them, it was set up by their parents, i.e. the Dumbest Generation Of Narcissists In The History Of The World, the ones who magnified the importance and cost of college without having any idea of what should be its purpose, let alone its content.
The first Hipsters on Food Stamps post was about how people’s knee-jerk reaction to the “Hipsters on Food Stamps” Salon article actually perpetuates the status quo (and the phenomenon of college graduates using food stamps). In short, the people who get too bent out of shape reading the Salon article or watching Alec Baldwin yell at them in Glengarry Glen Ross and Hipsters who work at Starbucks ironically are all suffering from the same thing, and that thing is what allows colleges to charge out the ass for a worthless education and the state to use your tax money to pay hipsters a living wage.
Society is nothing more than individual psychology multiplied by too many to count. If narcissism is what drives this society, then only narcissism will explain it.
The second Hipsters on Food Stamps post goes into detail about how the system uses narcissism to operate.
All along you’ve said “you need to go to college so you can get a good job” but the system was not designed to raise producers, it was designed to raise consumers. Well, here we are. Why are you surprised that they need consumer stamps?
Another knock against higher education. If you condition your kid to consume from the moment they are born and subsidize their consumption through four years of college, why would you expect them to graduate and suddenly produce work that is valuable to society (i.e. make money)? They’ve been on the other side of the transaction for their whole lives, why do you think they’ll suddenly have the drive to create and sell their work?
So start with an interesting hypothetical: does everybody need to work anymore? I understand work from an ethical/character perspective, this is not here my point.
Here we start the line of reasoning central to this post.
- We’ve gotten to the point where it is not necessary for everybody to work in order for the system to run.
- The labor market runs on supply and demand. Those who can or need to work, are willing to work, and whose skills are in demand are the ones working and paying into the system.
- Those who can’t work for whatever reason (criminals, unemployable hipsters, mentally ill, etc) are paid living wages by the system to stay out of the economy. They aren’t needed and aren’t wanted because anything they do will simply make things worse.
[Living wages] have to pretend to be something else: this is for food, this is because of a medical problem we just made up, this is because you were caught with weed so we’ll leave you in here for 6 months until we sentence you to probation. And they have to have these fake reasons to give taxpayers a little emotional distance…
Continuing the line of reasoning,
4. Living wages can’t be called “living wages” because it make explicit the unfairness of the system. Thus, the system re-labels living wages as “food stamps”, “disability”, “rehab”, etc. in order to make living wages palatable enough to taxpayers so that they don’t revolt.
The point is not to get you to accept that hipsters deserve food stamps, the point is the opposite: to enrage you, infuriate you, so that you will resist — because then and only then will you pay for it.
If this seems implausible to you, consider the following extreme analogy:
Say your father raped you repeatedly for a decade. Now you’re 40, and he shows up asking you for $2400 because, and I quote, “you have a responsibility to take care of me.” There he is in your living room, eyeballing the nice things in your home. If it is a fact that you will inevitably give him the money, is it easier to for you to pair it with your venom or your sympathy? Though it’s enraging, there is a perverse pleasure in giving that bastard the money. It tells you that you showed him that you are better than him.
5. Taxpayers don’t want to pay for food stamps, but they still do and they get bent out of shape every time they think about it. This works long-term because, in exchange for tax dollars, taxpayers get to reinforce their identity of being better than the people whose living wages they are funding. (“I’m a hard-working middle-class American and you’re a no-good lazy piece of shit who mooches off the system.”)
You might think that the rage is the spark for a transformation of America... That’s not how it works. If this is narcissism, then its purpose is protecting identity, defending against change. Doesn’t matter what side you think you’re on, unless you are unplugged you are for the status quo.
Rage is the reflexive reaction to a threatened identity. Rage serves to protect one’s identity from change, and if your identity involves anything that is going on (i.e. you’re “plugged in”), then rage serves to protect the status quo as well. In the case of taxpayers, their rage perpetuates the doling out of living wages instead of reforming the system to be more fair.
Even if you’re identity is that of an activist, progressive or any other type of person who wants change, you’re still for the status quo because your identity is defined in contrast with the status quo. Without evil capitalism, you can’t be the progressive socialist that you think you are.
Alone wraps up the post with some thoughts about higher education:
All the system had to do, starting around 1965, is not incentivize this madness. If there were not guaranteed student loans, up to any amount, available equally across majors and across colleges, independent of skills or promise or societal need, none of this would have happened. Easy money got us into this mess, and easy money will keep us sailing until we go right off the edge of the map.