There is a particular kind of hypocrite in our politics today. He is affluent, well-educated, and often a member of the professional class. Politically, he is deeply conservative, a devotee of Ayn Rand.
When he reads the newspaper or discusses politics with his friends, he rails against the evils of big government and the way citizens abuse the safety net. Food stamps, welfare, disability, housing subsidies – these programs, he believes, only help those who mooch off the system and give nothing back.
What he doesn’t realize, however, is that he is very much a moocher himself.
First, in order to reach his exalted status professionally, he had to become skilled, a person of knowledge and ability. To achieve this, he was provided a great public school education for free, generously funded at taxpayer expense.
Since he grew up in a wealthy suburb, the class sizes were small, the teachers well-paid, the school materials high-quality. Extracurricular opportunities were abundant.
In this marvelous environment, provided to him through the generosity of government, his potential bloomed. From kindergarten through 12th grade he mooched off of his countrymen. Tens of thousands of public dollars were poured into his success, and he gave back but the great marks he earned at school.
Then in college the mooching continued. You see, he came of age in the 1970s, when society invested in higher education. The Greatest Generation, the folks in power at the time, sacrificed their tax money to make sure college was affordable for kids like him. They passed laws to keep tuition costs at a minimum.
He leeched off that generation’s compassion, earning a college degree with ease, no student loans required. This divine circumstance – starting life off high skills and no debt allowed him to rise like a rocket in his career, sending him directly to his privileged place today.
And yet, now in his 60s, he conveniently forgets the sacrifices prior generations made on his behalf. The well-funded public education and cheap college tuition he was awarded have slipped from his memory. Rather, he likes to consider himself entirely responsible for his own success, a self-made man, like old Abe Lincoln.
When asked to contribute his tax dollars so that students today can enjoy the same opportunities he was given, our hypocrite cruelly refuses. He closes his eyes to their sub-standard education system and exorbitant college costs.
To organize society differently, to raise taxes so young people could have a shot at success – well, that would be “socialism!” he cries.
With his protests, he proves his true identity. He is a welfare queen, a moocher, fool and traitor to his country, who forged his success off the generosity of his elders. But now, an elder himself, refuses to give anything back.
And after finishing reading this column, he walks over to his $3,000 iMac to write a furious letter to the editor, demanding how such drivel could be printed in his community paper.
What a dumb, pea-brained little author, he mutters under his breath.
Joshua Heath is a Valencia resident and a political science student at UCLA. He has served two terms as a delegate to the California Democratic Party.