Most readers are doubtless aware of the concepts of compounding interest & compounding growth rates; concepts fundamental to analysis of portfolio formation, economic growth & capital building. In times of more vigorous growth in American history--when Government protected property rights & capitalism, a not unreasonable economic expectation was that with good investment analysis, a skilled manager could achieve 15% annualized growth in a portfolio. That, if allowed to compound, would more than double assets every five years, turning a ten thousand 'grub stake' at age 30 into a million dollars by age 65--even after allowing for some damage from long-term capital gains taxes, incurred when shifting investments because of changing prospects. (Older readers may remember brokerage houses that actually advised the soundness of such a ten thousand to a million strategy, in the early 1960s.)
Of course, when Nixon was forced to close the gold window in 1971, the dollar, relatively stable from the late 1930s, lost much of its value, and capital gains taxation became far more confiscatory to actual wealth & capital formation (Capital "Gains" Taxation). Thus while there are still many investments that can be expected to grow at better than such a benchmark, the less certain aspects of a far more Socialistic political culture, make it extremely risky for brokers to suggest what was common strategy fifty years back. (And that million dollar objective, is no longer adequate to guarantee even a large fraction of the potential retirement that it offered in the 1960s.)
But that is only an illustration of a dynamic concept--the long term effect of a compounding trend, feeding upon itself--which is our actual subject. This is not about thrift, frugality, providence & positive investment. It is about the absolute antithesis of provident behavior; the consistent, even accelerating, trends that are dismantling the social infra-structure, which once enabled thrift, frugality, providence & constructive behavior, to build an ever better & more satisfying life for those Americans who embraced it.
The disintegration of American society, of American culture & opportunity, began here, as elsewhere, with political exploitation of the basest aspects of human nature, including the brazen promotion of covetous inclinations (see The Blame & Envy Cocktail) for political advantage. This moral corruption has been justified in Academia & the Media by compulsion driven rationalizations for egalitarian pursuits (see Reason Or Compulsion).
Once politicalization of envy begins to achieve success, with election of those who fantasize Government as a proper redistributor of success, the compounding factors "kick in." What promotes individual success has always been focused personal involvement in productive pursuits; a process that calls for maximum individual responsibility. But envy & demands for the fruits of other people's labor, encouraged & abetted by a powerful & intrusive bureaucracy, quickly erode any sense of personal responsibility. In place of productive action, they promote dependency; in place of what works in a free market to promote a general improvement in the social & economic millieu, they make it ever more difficult for the human factors necessary to the best allocation of resources, both of man, capital & materials, to come together to a mutually beneficial purpose.
But this is but the start of the compounding process. As time goes by, there is a clear unravelling of the social infra-structure of an increasingly large segment of the population, those who identify with the "benefits" of dependence on a Socialist bureaucracy; people, who not only look to the bureaucracy, rather than any personal effort, for improvement in lot, but who are losing even a sense of the importance of such traditional social mainstays as Faith & Family: In those things, which even without a sense of personal responsibility for one's own lot, used to encourage positive efforts to constructive purpose, while restraining socially destructive behavior. In brief, as that dependence grows, all the traditional inducements to moral conduct disintegrate.
Is there not a clear pattern, here, as to what has been happening, increasingly, in contemporary American society? The compounding trends to social disintegration are most evident in the most egalitarian-minded sections of the Union. Has this trend not almost perfectly correlated an increase in dependency with a deterioration in the family structure; with a rise of births out-of-wedlock: In short with a pattern, where the upward progress of a community is arrested; where rapidly on the heels of such economically destructive result, there is a compounding disintegration of the very institutions that once promoted a, now lost, moral inducement to constructive behavior? Whether the egalitarian "reformers"--the modern Jacobins--intended to promote chaos, this, as in other in other eras, is their inevitable achievement (see Confusion & "Unintended Consequences"). That the result was, indeed, a virtually certain consequence of what they promoted, see Missing Link To Reality.
The compounding mechanism for disintegration may be identified in the promotion of the fantasy of human equality, regardless of talent or behavior, coupled with its corollaries, which take the stigma out of socially destructive conduct & substitute imagined grievances for constructive family purpose. No reversal is possible while the false premises remain intact.
Even as the pseudo "intellectual" core of those rationalizing egalitarian objectives (Myths & Myth Makers In American "Higher" Education) have employed absurd, reality denying, arguments to promote their hypotheses; they have used dishonest means to suppress dissent. A clear example is the egregious idiocy that traditional American values, which call for limited Government & maximum individual liberty, are concepts that only work to the advantage of affluent Whites; that minority races, the poor, the less educated or disabled, were somehow exploited & held down by those who succeeded! Nothing could be further from the truth. (For an introduction to the subject of how Socialist intrusions, into the social & economic infra-structure, adversely affect various sub-sets of the general population, see Socialist Policy Effects.)
While the damage to traditional White American communities has been great, indeed, it has not been as severe as that which has afflicted supposed "beneficiaries" of neo-Jacobin achievement. To understand the enormity of this contrived misunderstanding, we suggest one start with a consideration of the once productive efforts of Booker T. Washington to improve the lot of the American Negro, perhaps, numerically, the largest identifiable group, later selected for Jacobin "help": Booker T. Washington's Path. Washington's approach was the antithesis to that of those who have demanded Federal intervention in American race relations. Truly a self-made man, Washington understood the importance of personal responsibility for individual progress. He appealed not for an illusory political cure for poverty, not for subsidies or coercive legislation, but for responsible self-development; for moral stability & recognition of common interests, consistent with common values.
Although Washington died in 1915, his influence predominated over those seeking agitation, rather than personal development, among the still largely Southern Negro population, until the days of the New Deal & the great leftward shift in American politics. While those advocating an increasing Federal role in American life would claim that what followed, with Welfare State subsidies to the poor & struggling & later "Civil Rights" legislation addressing private hiring, housing & local education, has benefitted the American Negro as a group or community; the facts are clearly to the contrary.
We have discussed aspects of this, as they pertain to education in Chapter 5 of the Debate Handbook (Rape Of Tolerance), as well as in Chapter 19, which deals with effects of so called "Civil Rights" legislation. The fact is that any people, whether as individuals or as a group, do best when they are expected to be personally responsible, to the extent possible, for their conduct in all of life's pursuits. It is also a good measure of the social health of any identifiable group, how strong their family structure. It is, after all, via the family, that each generation passes on their achievements, both material & spiritual, to the next. While Government subsidies may create the appearance of material well being, for a brief period; it is only through a healthy family structure, that any benefit is likely to be retained. This should be all the more obvious where the benefits were artificially obtained, rather than earned.
On such metric, the comparison could not be more dramatic. Under Booker T. Washington's constructive influence, applying moral values that had worked for every other segment of the population, the Negro family structure improved. While following slavery & political exploitation during Reconstruction, about 20% of Negro births had been out-of-wedlock in the 1890s; this had fallen to 14% by 1930. With the New Deal, it rose again to 20%; yet continued to surge with increased dependence upon Government & a politically engendered decline in personal responsibility, to a rate of 72.5%, in 2010! While the White rate, reflecting similar causation has gone from 2% to 29%, this translates to a damage coefficient of 27.6% (27/98), compared to 68% (58.5/86) for those supposed to "benefit" more from Socialist "progress." Of course, both figures spell disaster, translating into social chaos, with no conceivable benefit to anyone other than demagogues, able to manipulate dependent mobs.
Man could not reinvent himself in Nimrod's time at Babel. Man cannot reinvent himself now. What brought out the best in Man at the beginning of history, still brings out the best today. Nor is there any real change in the efficacy of that which undermines & destroys.