Sunday, August 23, 2015

The righteous struggle for $15 daycare

The black family, which had survived centuries of slavery and discrimination, began rapidly disintegrating in the liberal welfare state that subsidized unwed pregnancy and changed welfare from an emergency rescue to a way of life.
Thomas Sowell

At every step of the way the struggle for so called progressive achievements has been described by it's proponents as a battle between wretched reactionaries and enlightened angels.  This is not simply a question of varying policy proposals or differing means for obtaining a particular end but a struggle of good vs evil. Objections to the ever expanding arsenal of etatist programs are seldom rebutted in a serious manner but simply swept aside, unworthy of serious consideration. Advanced instead are what Sowell calls 'argument without arguments'; repetition becomes reality.

The latest in progressive policy is the right to $15 a day childcare, a la Quebec, advocated by NDP leader and potential Prime Minister Tom Mulcair.  Never mind the fact that our economy is already struggling under the weight of heavy taxes and an oppressive regulatory regime or the trillions of dollars of debt which have been accrued in the name of the long suffering taxpayer. For progressives, any excuse to expand the size and scope of the state will suffice.

One key feature of the social democratic viewpoint is moral relativism.  All cultures, attitudes and philosophies are equal.  They claim there are no absolute truths just varying interpretations of a subjective reality. But this whole point of view is mistaken. Different lifestyles have different results.  Some cultures are barbaric; certain lifestyles should be condemned. And if the truth gets in the way of egalitarianism?  Then so much for the truth. There are reasons why cultural traditions survive through the ages; even if need for these institutions is not articulated or even understood.  These things work. Marriage works. Traditional lifestyles work.  They generate better results, in terms of health or socio-economic success, when contrasted with deviant decisions.

The family unit is the foundation on which society is built. The child's relationship with their parents shapes their worldview and foreshadows future interactions with others. But the welfare state has been an unrepentant attack on the traditional family structure. The economic havoc wrought by confiscatory tax rates, profligate government spending and constant inflation have made the one income family mostly the dream of a bygone era. The essential role of the parent of intellectual and moral instructor has been increasingly replaced by the compulsory public school system and television sets. And by subsidizing daycare one more tenuous link to the traditional family structure and the traditional parent-child relationship will be cut.

By contrast, the Conservative income splitting proposal would at least make it somewhat easier for single income families to exist and help alleviate, to some small degree, the tax burden of a few people. But to progressives, who view all of our income as fundamentally belonging to the state, such an idea was a non starter.  C'est la vie.

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