By the end of three months [the visiting foreign] doctors have, without exception, reversed their original opinion that the welfare state, as exemplified by England, represents the acme of civilization. On the contrary, they see it now as creating a miasma of subsidized apathy that blights the lives of its supposed beneficiaries. They come to realize that a system of welfare that makes no moral judgments in allocating economic rewards promotes anti-social egotism. The spiritual impoverishment of the population seems to them worse than anything they have ever known in their own countries. And what they see is all the worse, of course, because it should be so much better. The wealth that enables everyone effortlessly to have enough food should be liberating, not imprisoning. Instead it has created a large caste of people for whom life is, in effect, a limbo in which they have nothing to hope for and nothing to fear, nothing to gain and nothing to lose. It is a life emptied of meaning. “On the whole,” said one Filipino doctor to me, “life is preferable to the slums of Manila.” He said it without any illusions as to the quality of life in Manila. (142)
Theodore Dalrymple in Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass (via sds)
Reminds me of the Eloi.