The main reason I’m against giving handouts to countries like Greece is that it sends the wrong message. We should not lie to Europe’s socialist misfits about capitalism. The greatest gift we can offer is to help them understand that freedom is not about security or equality; it’s about insecurity and inequality.
We should also teach them that those who think otherwise are responsible for our $12 trillion national debt and a federal budget deficit that is projected to be in the area of $2 trillion as far as the eye can see. Economic security is not a right, but it sure is a formula for disaster.
Unfortunately, progressives right here in our own country do not seem to understand this. This is especially true of so-called limousine liberals. I was reminded of this a couple of weeks ago when a casual acquaintance invited me to a social gathering at his home. After being assured that no members of the Weather Underground, the Communist Party USA, or the White House would be in attendance, I agreed to drop by.
I tend to be a target at limousine-liberal gatherings, and, sure enough, a middle-aged gentleman of means came up to me and, from out of the blue, blurted, “Capitalism is the most evil system ever invented.”
Displaying my finest George Will deadpan expression, I asked how an intelligent, successful gentleman like him had managed to arrive at such a fascinating conclusion. To which he groused, “Under capitalism, the poor are exploited by the rich.” Yikes – it was the ghost of Vladimir Lenin!
Masochist that I am, I asked him to define the terms “rich” and “poor” for me, but he simply waived aside my question as though it were frivolous. My acquaintance’s wife then intervened and admonished us that political discussions were forbidden in her house, thus preventing a Sunday afternoon homicide.
Darn. I didn’t even get a chance to see the expression on his face had I been able to lay this one on him: The gap between the rich and the poor is supposed to increase under capitalism! It’s built into the system.
But also built into the system is the fact that almost everyone is better off under capitalism. Why? Because trickle-down economics really does work.
The U.S. government’s own Census Bureau’s statistics confirm this truth. Average-income figures clearly show that during the Reagan years, almost everyone’s income rose significantly, while during the Carter years, most people got poorer. Does anyone seriously believe that voters kicked Carter out of office and gave Reagan two landslide victories because they were better off under Carter and worse off under Reagan?
In the Reagan years, what was in play was the so-called invisible hand of the marketplace. When people realize they can reap financial rewards by providing better goods and services to others, they work harder and longer hours to do so. As a result, the economy prospers and everyone is better off.
On the other hand, the more government interferes with this natural process, the worse off everyone is. How far mankind has advanced is not a reflection of his true potential; it is his true potential minus government interference. Those who believe that a strong central government is needed to manage a nation’s economy simply do not understand the awesome power of the invisible hand of the marketplace.
Which takes me back to the growing disparity between the rich and the poor (setting aside, for now, the important question of who has the omniscience and moral authority to decide who should be slotted into these two categories in the first place).
In a mythical, totally free society, if everyone were to start with nothing, some people would become “rich” while others would become “poor.” Now, stop and think about that fact for a moment. Wouldn’t natural forces assure that the most successful people would become even more successful over time and thus increase the gap between themselves and those who have not been as successful? After all, they would be using the same talents, efforts and self-discipline that made them more successful in the first place.
Please, let’s set aside childish notions. Of course the gap between the rich and the poor will always increase under capitalism. But that, of and by itself, does not harm anyone. The only problem is the one caused by envious progressive thinkers who have unilaterally decided that such a gap isn’t “fair.” Which, of course, is merely their subjective opinion.
Personally, I don’t think of the increasing gap between the rich and the poor as fair or unfair. It’s simply reality. However, I do believe the fact that successful people tend to become even more successful is fair, provided they achieve their success on a non-coercive basis. Why shouldn’t a person be allowed to become as successful as his talents and hard work will take him?
If we are to return to the roots of our once-cherished freedom, progressive subjectivism must be defeated. Go-along-to-get-along conservatives must come to grips with the reality that compromise does not work. The reason for this is that it encourages a lie, and everyone knows that lies don’t work.
The progressive is, of course, free to think whatever suits him. But he steps over a moral line when he tries to force others to give up their freedom to accommodate his twisted notion regarding one of the most abstract ideas known to man: fairness – which is right up there with “social justice.”
Right now, it is that twisted notion that has the United States about a furlong away from joining Greece as a third-world country on the verge of collapse. The only social justice that makes any sense is for everyone to keep what he earns in a free market.