As a follow-on to the article that we referenced here, Allan Massie notes that while the dependence in Scotland might not be exactly nine out of 10, the gist of the article is correct.
That is the theme of his column in the Telegraph:
In 1926 my father, aged 19, left an Aberdeenshire farm to be a rubber planter in Malaya. Apart from a year back home after enduring a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp, he didn’t return to live in Scotland until he was almost 70. He was dismayed by what he found. It seemed to him that the Scots were no longer the hard-working, energetic and self-reliant people they had been in his youth. Instead they were given to self-pity and the belief that the world owed them a living and the state would provide.
There were exceptions, of course. The oil-rich north-east was not short of people starting their own businesses. But in general he believed that the Scots were sunk in a dependency culture, and this depressed and irritated him. He was out of sympathy with modern Scotland, though he was quite typical of his own era, when the Protestant work ethic ruled and the judgement “he’s done well for himself” was an expression of approval.
My father wouldn’t have been surprised by Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, asserting that only 12 per cent of Scottish households make a net contribution to the economy, and that Scotland is suffering from the “depression of dependency which has held our country back for so many years”…
Massie hits on a point that is shared by all conservatives that I know:
A good society seeks and achieves a balance between individual and social action. The excesses of the money markets show the dangers of rampant individualism and of the belief that greed is good; the somnolence of an unenterprising culture is the consequence of relying too heavily on the state and the public sector, and lands people and communities in the dependency trap.
And in Scotland, he sees what happens when the balance is upset:
Ruth Davidson exaggerates, but she is right to draw attention to the absence of vigour and self-belief in much of Scotland, where the balance between individual and social action has been tilted away from the former.
This is a powerful article, please read it all.
The striving spirit still lives in the land of the Scots – I see it every day. I have had the blessing of working with some of the best, most dedicated and hard working people of my career in my past couple of years in Scotland but even they will say that this spirit is dying among the younger age groups. Unemployment in the 16-24 age group is crushing while apprenticeships go wanting. We have created a western culture where craftsmanship is largely looked upon as a job for second class citizens, dismissing solid careers in welding, machine tools, pipe fitting and other proud occupations. We have told a generation that if it can’t be done on a computer, it is beneath them.
And when they don’t succeed, they turn to government and government starves the spirit to strive and of the human itself.
Modern “progressivism” and statism does not happen in a single event, it doesn’t have the rapidity of an explosion. This form of collectivism grows like a coral reef, slowly and deliberately, a fraction of a millimetre at a time, until it finally overwhelms the rocks it attaches itself to…and then it spawns to spread over the seabed.
America owes Scotland much…more than just the USA, the world owes Scotland much – just read “How The Scots Invented The Modern World” should you doubt it. The people who came to our country from Scotland helped us create our country by defeating King George III as Americans, they laid down the base for America to become an engineering and industrial powerhouse and these same tough and resilient people were the ones who opened the door to the frontiers of the American West.
We owe it to them now to not follow in their footsteps.