By Lowell Ponte
As God cast Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, He told Adam that henceforth “through painful toil….[and] the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.”
Socialists and scientists now declare that a new Eden, a Heaven on Earth, is arriving. All of us can soon live sweat-free on easy fruit from the welfare-state tree at the center of the government’s garden.
Vermont’s self-described socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders would guarantee a government job paying at least $12-15 an hour plus health benefits to anyone in America who “needs or wants one.”
This would do more than cost taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars annually. It could devastate consumers by prompting millions of minimum wage employees to quit and work instead for the government, which might send the cost of hamburgers and thousands of other items skyrocketing.
Minimum wage employers would be forced to automate, further shrinking the private sector and the traditional ladder to work and achievement. Even more will become dependent on government make-work jobs, and they will vote for the political party of ever-expanding government.
In Europe, 156 experts in robotics and Artificial Intelligence have just written a letter to the European Union arguing against EU plans to redefine robots as “electronic persons.”
Their objection, say these experts, is the EU effort to hold robots individually responsible for any harm they do. This would require a costly individual insurance policy for each robot employed, which would greatly increase the cost of replacing human workers with robots.
Unmentioned, as both sides know, is what giving robots the status of “electronic persons” implies. This could give robots a theoretical array of heretofore-human rights. Only days ago, a Japanese robot won 4,000 human votes in the race for mayor in a Tokyo suburb.
The real aim of the European Union, as Craig R. Smith and I explained in our book Money, Morality & The Machine, is to declare robots persons so that they may be individually taxed. This will make it more costly for companies to replace humans; but robots still have the advantages of never getting sick, needing sleep or vacations, going on strike, or loafing.
If robots can do our work by the sweat of their brow, and if something like welfare is available, then, as Rep. Nancy Pelosi says, humans will have the leisure to “become artists,” in the new statist Garden of Eden.
By taxing robots, socialists believe, government would acquire the means to give a free ride to humans displaced in their jobs by robots. We can either enjoy Senator Sanders’ easy-job income, or we can get the Progressive dream of a “Guaranteed Basic Income,” money for nothing. Even some libertarians such as Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute, Smith and I wrote, recognize that up to 81 cents of every dollar spent to help the poor in government programs never gets to the poor. A “Guaranteed Basic Income” could cost much less than welfare by eliminating all the government middlemen who make fat livings off social programs.
What happens to human beings in such a New Eden? This lifelong “retirement” turns them into perpetual government dependents, permanent children who never need – nor are allowed – to grow up, become self-sufficient and mature. Imagine a future where all people are self-absorbed, infantile Millennials still living at age 35 in their parents’ basement, watching MSNBC, becoming increasingly narrow-minded in their myopic confirmation bias, and throwing fits when anyone disagrees with them.
This “New Eden” with its socialist and scientific substitutes for God, is not heaven but a serpent-run hell. If you wonder what the future of humanity is worth here, consider how Britain’s National Health Service snuffed out the life of baby Alfie Evans. Robots will have “rights,” but you will not.
For an amazing interview with veteran think tank futurist Lowell Ponte, contact Sandy Frazier at 1-516-735-5468. For a media copy of Craig R. Smith and Lowell Ponte’s latest book, Money, Morality & The Machine: Smith’s Law in an Unethical, Over-Governed Age, contact David Bradshaw at 1-602-918-3296.