As a student of the past, the learned professor is no doubt well aware that every ruling class has needed its toadies and flatterers, its court eunuchs and its Hoover Institute Fellows, its . . . but really, what’s the point? Still this particular bit of magisterial toga-tugging caused me to cast my eyes toward the heavens, in expectation that a just deity might feel impelled to cast a Parthenon-sized asteroid in VDH’s general direction:
Reduce much of what Barack Obama says, advocates, and tries to implement and you find a particular kind of despised but uniquely American species in his cross-hairs: upper-middle class, making $200-800,000 a year, employed as a professional or small business person, living in the suburbs or small town America, children in non-Ivy League private and public colleges, a nice house, perhaps a vacation home, boat, 2-3 nice cars, residing outside the east and west coasts without an aristocratic pedigree, for whom food stamps are as much an anathema as is Martha’s Vineyard or Costa del Sol.
Oh put-upon “upper middle class” cultivator of your own vineyard! Oh globe-trotting emeritus being read to by a boy!
Just for the heck of it, I calculated the total monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefit a four-person household, consisting of one adult and three children, is eligible for in Colorado, assuming the parent of the children works full-time and earns ten dollars an hour, has a monthly rent of $800, pays $100 a month in utilities, and has no other sources of income. The answer is $474 a month. This is the massive redistribution of income that so offends our classical scholar, as he wrinkles his nose in distaste at the leveling immorality of nations — countries far less wealthy than the United States — where it is taken for granted by literally all respectable political opinion that it is not acceptable for people to starve because they happen to be poor.
Since Hanson is so fond of ancient texts, perhaps he should review this one:
There was a rich man who was dressed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who longed to satisfy his hunger with what fell from the rich man’s table; even the dogs would come and lick his sores. The poor man died and was carried away by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried. In Hades, where he was being tormented, he looked up and saw Abraham far away with Lazarus by his side. He called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in agony in these flames.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your lifetime you received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in agony. Besides all this, between you and us a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who might want to pass from here to you cannot do so, and no one can cross from there to us.’ He said, ‘Then, father, I beg you to send him to my father’s house– for I have five brothers–that he may warn them, so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ He said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.'”