Skip to content

Tired of Being Chumps

What happens when the people who have been the backbone of America realize the system is rigged against them and stop supporting it?

Photo by Joshua Hoehne / Unsplash

"What happens when the people who have been the backbone of America realize the system is rigged against them and stop supporting it?"

This article at The Federalist is great. It reminds me of this segment about "chumps" at an Econtalk episode. The gist of the segment is that, in America, most people believe they need to play by the rules, but in other parts of the world, most people believe you're an idiot to play by the the rules. You're not even expected to play by the rules and, if you do, you're simply a chump: a loser.

I believe America may have already flipped into the culture in which most of us think that only chumps play by the rules. Kids who qualify for scholarships don't get them because the scholarship committee changed the rules without notice; kids who qualify academically for an elite college don't get in because of a new affirmative action initiative (to take just two examples I saw this spring). Why play by the rules when there are no rules? A rule that changes without notice, time, and a period of comment is no rule at all, as even bureaucrats realize, which is one reason they publish new regulations a long time before they come out (it's part of due process).

Anyway, the progressive among us can say they're merely leveling the playing field, but they're not. They're eliminating it. A playing field presumes rules. If there are no rules, there is no playing field. It's just a field of total war.


Chile and Argentina spend almost exactly the same amount on tax compliance enforcement. But, in Argentina the tax compliance rate is maybe 60%, maybe less. In Chile, it's 99%. Well, if you don't pay your taxes in Chile, other people think, 'Well, you're a terrible person.' And if you do pay your taxes in Argentina, people think, 'Well, you're an idiot. You're a chump. Nobody does that.' So, Argentina tried to hire some people to--some football players, some actresses--to go on TV and do ads about how you should pay your taxes. They had to pull the ads within two weeks, because all of the actors had not paid their taxes. There's two different equilibria. One is, everybody does the right thing, and if you don't do the right thing you are a bad person. The second equilibrium is: Nobody does the right thing, and if you do the right thing, you are an idiot. And, I worry that the second one is the one that we're tending towards. And, while there's still time--and it's not too late--while there's still time, we need to call people's attention to the fact that there is actually a danger.

Read the rest at Econtalk

The Federalist

Conservatives may be coming around to the view of the Dead Kennedys, the left-wing punk rockers who sang that “the law don’t mean s–t if you’ve got the right friends, that’s how this country’s run.” Their caustic rewrite of “I Fought the Law” was inspired by the assassin Dan White getting off easy, but the broad alienation from American institutions is surprisingly resonant with right-wing Americans today — for good reason.

Riots and political violence are treated very differently depending on who commits them. For instance, the Biden administration is allowing the illegal intimidation of Supreme Court justices, including threats against their families, even after an armed assassin came to Justice Kavanaugh’s home. Likewise, the terror campaign against pro-life pregnancy centers is largely being ignored, and the official who should be investigating is on record as hating them. Of course, the perpetrators of the Capitol riot are being pursued and prosecuted much more aggressively than those who participated in the 2020 summer riots, which were much more destructive and attacked the government.

The government is also acting as an enforcer for radical leftist ideology. For example, Biden is trying to purge law enforcement of those who don’t buy into gender ideology: No Christians need apply. And he is about to take away poor kids’ school lunches if their schools don’t acquiescence to the rainbow agenda and, say, let males into the girls’ locker room.

Even the Marines have gone woke, celebrating Pride with rainbow bullets. No wonder ordinary Americans are losing trust in even the parts of government they used to respect the most.

Of course, conservatives are also alienated from the many other areas of American life, from education to Big Business to Silicon Valley to the entertainment industry, that have been captured by wokeness. So what happens when the people who have been the backbone of America realize the system is rigged against them and stop supporting it?

Read the rest at The Federalist