After my smash hit "The Song of the People's Champion", I figured I'd write a series of Takes that aren't poetic in nature. Instead, this will be a series addressing what I consider to be ills in modern society and why they merit correction. Note that I firmly believe we're headed on the right track, as Brexit and Trump's ascendance signal to me that the sleeping monster of the traditionalist electorate is finally being awakened. However, there's still much work to be done, and as such I'd like to address one of the many issues that have come to my attention: the loss of the Protestant work ethic.
The Protestant work ethic was best formally articulated in The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, a series of essays by Max Weber that were later translated into an English book form. Weber was a prominent German sociologist of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who argued that industry was a God-given virtue that helped propel society forward.
The basic premise of the Protestant work ethic is that hard work is a perhaps divine practice and gift with an inherent form of honor. Regardless of whether the work is trifling, dirty, difficult, or low-paying, it is meant to imbue a sense of independence, frugality, and morality. There is a certain pride that comes with seeing your work done and done well, a pride that a man will value and not want to lose.
Alexis de Toqueville, a French historian who visited America in the 1830s in an effort to discern what made it great, published in his Democracy in America that America could easily lose its great status and strength if its citizens found "a taste for physical gratification" and that "society is endangered not by the great profligacy of a few, but by the laxity of morals amongst all."
What Toqueville saw in America's greatness was a willingness to labor without a materialistic goal in mind. As long as its capitalistic system endured on the merits of the Protestant ethic, it would be a driving force for good. What Toqueville couldn't expect is the America of today - a soft, doughy, and libertine society where an increasingly slothful and self-absorbed population with an increasingly long laundry list of demands for its government.
Unprincipled men can easily take advantage of such a situation, and thus led to the American government of the past few decades - a bloated, half-retarded bureaucracy that only knows how to throw money at its problems. Despite an ever-increasing budget for entitlements, poverty levels remain roughly the same.
Modern liberals often like to construe this poverty as systematic oppression and the Protestant ethic as a malignant lie meant to keep laborers indigent and under the thumb of the wealthy. In reality, more is being done now than ever for them. Money has consistently been poured out in disgusting amounts - especially in inner cities - ever since JFK's Great Society in the early sixties.
No, the problem is that many of them represent the worst in our society - the kind of self-absorbed, inane creatures that live for the adoration of a few other insignificant maggots on social media. They are the parents who let their children run the streets unsupervised, if they are involved in their lives at all. They will buy 22" rims for their piece of crap car but cannot manage to pay the electric bill. This is what happens when the Protestant ethic is sapped from society in exchange for "poor you" handouts - a total lack of the thrift, self-respect, and industriousness that comes from a healthy exercise in honest labor.
The great Founding Father Benjamin Franklin - an ardent subscriber to the Protestant work ethic - popularized the phrase, "God helps those who helps themselves". Even for those with marketable skills, an exercise in hard work is always beneficial. If our society can once again see the dignity in tilling a field or building a home, perhaps it will have less time for vapid social media and debauched casual sex with everyone in sight.
"The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor." - Proverbs 12:24