The Very Worst of Individualism: My Reply to Republican Chain Mail

My dad enjoys forwarding various chain emails to me which he receives from one person or another, because he knows it will get a reaction from me. I’m predictable that way; my internal BS meter sets off and I cannot help but rebut nonsense. Personally, I don’t see this as a failing – for at least I refuse to let rubbish fly under the radar.

Occasionally, I find merit in formulating a post around these emails. This happens to be one of them.

I feel that, unlike previous post of this nature, I should post the contents of the email in their entirety, with unmodified emphasis;

“The problems we face today are there, because the people who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a  living” 

This was written by a 21 yr old female who gets it.   It’s her future she’s worried about and this is how she feels about the  social welfare system that she’s being forced to live in! These solutions  are just common sense in her opinion. 

Put  me in charge . . ..

Put me in charge of benefit payments. I’d get  rid of cash payments and provide vouchers for 50kg bags of rice and  beans, blocks of cheese, basic sanitary items  and all the powdered milk you can use.

If you want  steak,  burgers, takeaway and  junk food, then get a  job.

Put me in charge of the NHS. The first thing I’d do is to get women to have birth control implants. 

Then, we’ll test  recipients for drugs,  alcohol, and nicotine. If you want to reproduce, use drugs, drink alcohol or smoke, then get a job.

Put me in charge of local authority housing.   Ever  live in military barracks?

You will maintain our property in a clean and good state of repair.

Your “home” will be subject to  inspections anytime and possessions will be inventoried.

If you want  a plasma TV or Xbox 360,  then get a job and your own place.

Put me in charge of  compulsory job search. You will either search for employment each week no matter what the job or you will report for community work.

This may be clearing the roadways and open spaces of rubbish, painting and repairing public housing, whatever we find  for you.

We will sell your 22 inch rims and low profile tires and your dooff dooff stereo and speakers and put that money toward the common good.

Before you write that I’ve violated  someone’s rights, realise that all of the above is voluntary.

If you want our hard earned cash and housing assistance, accept our rules.. 

Before you say that this would be “demeaning” and ruin someones “self  esteem,” consider that it  wasn’t that long ago that taking someone else’s money for doing  absolutely nothing was demeaning and lowered self esteem. 

If we are expected to pay for other people’s mistakes we  should at least attempt to make them learn from their bad choices.  The current system rewards those for continuing to make bad choices. 

AND While  you are on benefit income you no longer have the right to VOTE! 

For you to vote would be a conflict of interest….. If you want to vote, then get a job. 

Now, if you  have the guts – PASS IT ON…   BRING ON THE REVOLUTION

Firstly, it should be recognisable that the content is an appeal to authority. It is the authority of innocence – out of the mouth of babes (yes, she is 21, but the author’s framing is of this nature)… Basically, it is akin to taking justification for punching your neighbour in the face after leaves from his tree inadvertently fell on your pristine garden because your young son replied, “An eye for an eye…”

It’s clear in both cases that the statement is not the “wisdom of innocence” (as though there were such a thing), but the result of a life time of enduring a favoured mantra over the dinner table. Both expose credulity yet to be outgrown.

Moreover, it represents an ideological standing completely unattached from reality. It blames the poor for being poor. It is obviously written for US Republicans (potentially in the wake of the recent election) whom have a terrible history for hypocritically blaming the jobless for being lazy and then the government for their own problems in securing a job.

It is impossible for every one of us to become millionaires, no matter how hard we work. Hierarchical societies of this nature require disparity to make sense of themselves. Otherwise it would be a highly inflated, relatively equal, society with a depreciated dollar value. The “hard working” millionaire comes at the expense – indeed profit – of others and requires disparity to identify itself as different.

Now, she makes the point about the poor largely consuming junk food – as though this where a luxury item. Wilkinson and Pickett (2010), for instance show that within the most affluent states, heart disease and obesity are more prevalent within poor communities.1 This is largely the result of lower socio-economic regions typically having less access to high quality fresh produced compared to access to junk food.2 It is not, as read by the tone of the email, poor people “living it up” on the hard earned dollar of others.

As for the following two paragraphs, regarding drug use (she could have placed all under the one heading) and the state of living conditions, again I refer her to Wilkinson and Pickett (2010) whom demonstrate that the rates of each increase within lower socio-economic communities as inequality increases within the state.1 Access to high quality health care and education should provide effective buffers against much of these anti-social behaviours, however, as is clearly the attitude of the author and such ideologies in general, if such people want good quality health care and education, they should work for it… Catch 22

The only way for the situation to be improved is for disparity to be reduced, either by distribution via taxes or more equal gross wages across society.1

As for purchasing a home; over the past 40 years within Australia, real / normalised house prices have at least doubled, if not tripled, making home ownership increasingly difficult for those starting.3

As for inventorying item ownership; how on Earth is this useful except for within some dreaded nanny state? It is reminiscent to determined effort undertaken by formal feudal kings to itemise all wealth within their boundaries, representing just much empowered hierarchical societies threaten to detract progress away from increasingly democratic states.

As for the right to vote and to personal sexual freedom, yes, I argue that the author finally violates humane ethics completely. Such conclusions are unquestionably archaic in nature, outright stripping away essential personal and democratic freedoms.

It is pig-ignorance to call the lives of lower socio-economic status as the result of “their bad choices”. What else is the likely result of an individual, born into a violent, broken community, with apathetic health and education institutions and increasingly hostile relations with authority? These people are not lazy or simply choose to perpetuate the same degraded society across the generations; these people are victims of a repugnant mentality akin to that of this author. Societies have forgotten them, because they are too busy showing their neighbours just how impressive they are through the new SUV and modern house with all the trimmings and pillars to boot.

The only thing I even barely agree with is in relation to improved job prospects. While the author’s, again archaic, approach is more likely to detract individuals, states should provide avenues for employment if business is not. I’ve long stated that providing suitable work for asylum seeker as part of their processing period, on the mainland, will reduce costs associated with current methods and assist with both assimilation and future job prospect for these individuals. Similar could have beneficial outcomes for job seekers. Although people like the author of the email need to be kept a long way away from this process – such people simply fail to understand or empathise with the results of yet another case of market failure.

To the propagator of the email; I indeed have the guts, not to simply whisper your message in the shadows of the email boxes, but openly with my hundreds of followers. Furthermore, I have the guts and the evidence to call you up on your illogical, inhumane and pathetic rhetoric.

Let’s indeed bring on a revolution; one that aims to improve the lives of our species into the indefinite future rather than the degrading egocentric malaise of perverse individualism.


  1. Wilkinson, R., and, Pickett, K. (2010) The Spirit Level. Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 978-0-241-95429-4 Link.
  2. Smoyer-Tomic, K. E., Spence, J. C., Raine, K. D>, Amrhein, C., Cameron, N., Yasenovskiy, V., Cutumisu, N., Hemphill, E., and, Healy, J. (2008) The association between neighbourhood socioeconomic status and exposure to supermarkets and fast food outlets. Health and Place 14. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthplace.2007.12.001 Link.
  3. Abelson, P., and, Chung, D. (2004) House Prices in Australia: 1970 to 2003. Link.

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