Skip to comments.Mark Steyn: America must learn from our laziest woman
Posted on 02/23/2004 3:26:35 PM PST by Pokey78
The other day the Sun bestowed the title of "Britain's Laziest Woman" on Susan Moore of Burythorpe, North Yorkshire. Miss Moore had come to the paper's attention courtesy of its Shop-A-Sponger Hotline: as Alastair Taylor explained: "Super-sponger Susan, 34, has not done a day's work since dropping out of college in 1988."
Despite receiving "Jobseeker's Allowance" for 16 years, she does not seek jobs, and never has. She was offered one by a supermarket, but it was five miles away so she wasn't interested. Ryedale Jobcentre put her on a "New Deal" course and, to make sure she attended, sent a taxi for her every morning. But one day the cab didn't show up, so Susan gave up the course. She lives with her divorced mum, who's also on "Jobseeker's Allowance", though she hasn't sought a job since giving birth to Susan in 1969.
Sportingly, the Sun offered Susan the chance to make a few quid manning the Shop-A-Sponger Hotline over the weekend, but she didn't fancy the disruption. "I shop on a Saturday," she said, "and on Sunday I sit at home and relax a bit."
But then my eye fell on the amount "scrounger Susan" had managed to scrounge: £30,000 in 16 years - £2,000 per annum. Forty quid a week. She and her mum get another £45 housing benefit to live in what looks like an attractive and spacious semi, and she's trying to claim "income support" on medical grounds, because she suffers "monthly painful spells". But if an average £40 a week is the best a "super-sponger" can do, it should remind us of a basic truth: the greatest crime of welfare isn't that it's a waste of money, but that it's a waste of people. Forty quid wasn't enough for a "welfare queen" to queen around on, but it was just enough to enable her to avoid making anything of her life, enough to let her sit around all week "listening to CDs and watching videos".
"I just haven't been given a chance," says Susan. But when the space on your CV for the period from adolescence to early middle-age is one big blank, no one's ever going to give you a chance. It's hard to think of anything capitalism red in tooth and claw could have done to Susan Moore that would have left her worse off than the great sapping nullity in which Her Majesty's Government has maintained her for her entire adult life.
When welfarism becomes the organising principle of society, as it is in much of the West these days, the danger is that a Susan Moorish inertia descends on the entire state. I see that the Duke of Edinburgh has called for schoolchildren to play more team games because they learn so many "valuable lessons" - effective co-operation, self-discipline, rules, competition, etc. Good luck to His Royal Highness commending those to Britain's educational establishment.
Primary schools have given up on the egg-and-spoon and sack race because, under the great Cult of Self-Esteem, it's too much to ask a child to endure the sting of defeat. A third of London schools play no competitive sports. Teachers are uncomfortable with the notion of an "opposing side" one must strive to "beat" - just as, in the war on terror, many grown-ups are uncomfortable with the notion of "the enemy": to the progressive mind, there are no enemies, just friends whose grievances we haven't yet fully acknowledged.
If the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton, it seems unlikely victory in Afghanistan owed much to the playing fields of Tipton Comp. Assuming the schools of Tipton and Luton still have any playing fields, their main contribution appears to have been to the losing side - the British Muslims captured among the Taliban and al-Qa'eda forces. Even when it's not specifically teaching you about the millennia of atrocities committed in the name of British imperialism, the modern multicultural state at the very minimum absolves you of any meaningful allegiance. So it's not surprising some of us seek it elsewhere.
As an idea, the multicultural welfare state is too weak to have any purchase on us: that, indeed, is its principal virtue in the eyes of its few fanatical zealots - Polly Toynbee, Baroness Kennedy, etc; politically speaking, it's an allegiance for those who disdain allegiance. Most of us give a shrug of indifference and go back to watching the telly, like Susan Moore. A few look elsewhere, like those Tipton Talibannies. On the Continent, they're just beginning to wake up to the looming iceberg of unsustainable welfare systems. But, like the Sun's Shop-A-Sponger Hotline, they're missing the point. It's not the cost, it's the system itself. The cradle-to-grave welfare society enfeebles the citizenry to such a degree you can never generate enough money.
Happily, not all recipients waste their time on the dole: Muhammed Metin Kaplan set up his Islamist group, Caliphate State, while on welfare in Cologne; Ahmed Ressam, arrested in Washington State en route to blow up Los Angeles International Airport, hatched his plot while on welfare in Montreal; Zacarias Moussaoui, the "20th hijacker" currently on trial in America, became an Islamist radical while on welfare in London; Abu Hamza became Britain's most famous fire-breathing imam while on welfare in London; Abu Qatada, a leading al-Qaeda recruiter, became an Islamist bigshot while British taxpayers were giving him 10 times as much per week as Susan Moore. It was only when he was discovered to have £150,000 in his bank account that the Department for Work and Pensions turned off the spigot. If only the Susan Moore-ish super-spongers were as purposeful as the neo-Moorish super-spongers.
I'm not saying every benefit recipient is a terrorist welfare queen. I am saying that the best bet at saving the next generation of Susan Moores is if the US declares European welfare systems a national security threat.
QUOTE OF THE DAY!!!
The UK is, of course, doomed if there are 5 or 10 of the welfare sponges for every 1 like the author.
Close, but no cigar. Many of the same people who won't admit that Islamist terrorists are America's mortal enemies, have no problem at all claiming George Bush is America's enemy.
Weird, but true.
I had to reread that line to get it.