While neither trying too hard, nor trying too little, we allow ourselves reckless observations about the sensationalism and mind-numbing echoes of a thousand voices screaming at us constantly. Dragged between war, drugs, sex, love, peace, religion, politics, and money, we somehow catch the drift of an overpowering stench. Transparent Eye-balls were gouged out long ago and have been rotting in a corner ever since. Just like Icarus soaring for the sun, we sought to catch the glorious, ethereal rays and boast of our power to the universe. But we didn’t create, or even harness this overpowering spotlight — we were blasted by it and told to reflect it every which way. No filters, no blinders, and no breaks. Pure, unadulterated sunlight, bombasting our brains and airwaves until we had soaked in every square inch of propaganda, only to start oozing it out ourselves.
The Mangy Dogs of Main Street
I was at a political forum last week, and a GOP candidate for president was speaking to a packed hall. Besides the rip-roaring applause, there was booing from two kids who were preaching the gospel truth of free higher education and climate change. I’m in a unique position because I know folks on both sides of the spectrum. Many personal acquaintances are young, kicking into college and the workplace for the first time. My professional life services multi-millionaires on a daily basis
NOT A PROSTITUTE…, and the stories of how they made their millions are about as diverse as you can imagine. Truckdrivers, mailmen, real estate tycoons, and heirs of inheritances — not all of them earned their dollars with blood and sweat, but the vast majority of them did earn their fortune themselves.
Social Justice seeks a shocking disambiguation in the war between classes, where we can simply label all of mankind as haves and have-nots. The rhetoric runs something along the lines of “if you’re poor, you got there because someone didn’t give you a hand. If you’re rich, it’s because you were lucky — now, give up most of that monetary success for someone in need.” The tragedy is that this ethical appeal overwhelms the sensibilities many already possess. This ethos is easily amplified when the individuals making the millions and billions strut their success like Kate Upton in a highschool prom. We feel inferior, we feel underprivileged, and we want to put lipstick on every pig so it feels better about its pen.
The societal solution is an inevitable transfer of wealth and benefit from the bourgeoisie to the proletariat. The two kids at the political forum sang the praises of Bernard Sanders, savior pro tempore of every hack whose success was cut short by student debt, an Audi car payment, and P.F. Chang’s three times a week. I didn’t respond to the mini exposé that Karl 1 and Karl 2 gave me on the need to elevate the poor and bring down the churlish figures swimming in pools of gold (GOVERNMENT GOLD!) on Wall Street – how could I? Asking a poor college student to understand the economics of private property and free exchange is essentially masochistic. It’s asking someone with nothing to toss back the Monopoly “Advance Directly to Go!” card — forsake their $200 — so that they can plod and push their way past Pennsylvania Ave. and hope they don’t end up bankrupt at Park Place.
This quotation from Henry Hazlitt says a good deal about the mentality pushing Sanders, Warren, and others onward in today’s political and societal climate: “Hate the man who is better off than you are. Never under any circumstances admit that his success may be due to his own efforts, to the productive contribution he has made to the whole community. Always attribute his success to the exploitation, the cheating, the more or less open robbery of others.” To be fair, finding this sentiment in America today isn’t unpredictable. Take, for instance, the GOP frontrunner: a narcissistic philanderer whose billions came from business acumen or straight out highway robbery — the jury is still out. Average blokes are tired of seeing cronies who receive hundreds of millions in government handouts, while they themselves are among the poorest of the wealthiest. It blows to have Direct TV in your condo while your neighbor is flying a private jet to Ted talks.
Blowing Your Cover
The problem I have with Sanders and other progressives is that their fundamental assumption about how the wealthy receive a helping hand from the system somehow never enters into their calculation for how they intend to remedy the situation. One need look no farther than Solyndra to understand the careless nature of government. As the arbiter of hundreds of billions in financial disbursements, it’s ironic that the progressive mentality focuses on taxing government-created monopolies and barons, instead of ending the practice of doling out awards in the first place. Sanders doesn’t want to get rid of Trump — he just wants to dilute Trump-ism by spreading the cash
debt around and making sure every Jack and Jill can indulge a little bit more.
The recurring theme of hatred for “elites,” which really just means hatred for those doing better than yourself, simply ends up changing who gets to suck the fat tits of big government. Global warming is a huge threat when a billionaire flies their plane from London to New York, but not when I need to drive from Los Angeles to San Diego and drop-in on a wave. Taxing the population is atrocious when I’m paying for bail-outs of banks, but absolutely justifiable when you’re paying for my education and electric car subsidy.
We got ourselves into this mess by thinking big-shots in Washington could pick winners and losers. FACT CHECK: consult the history books and see how well letting politicians pick winners has worked out (Bellewether is a good one to talk about this at length). You don’t get a Vietnam, or a General
Government Motors without government intervention. My boy Mises saw the signs of the times, and even warned that “The great monopoly problem mankind has to face today is not an outgrowth of the operation of the market economy. It is a product of purposive action on the part of governments. It is not one of the evils inherent in capitalism as the demagogues trumpet. It is, on the contrary, the fruit of policies hostile to capitalism and intent upon sabotaging and destroying its operation.”
I’ll buy that Bernard and others are really interested in helping raise the quality of life for all citizens when they agree that our top priority should be eliminating the nepotism everywhere and anywhere, and then see what’s left on the collection plate afterwards. I once heard a story about a pastor who insisted God wanted the congregation to build a brand new church and take on millions in debt so that they could properly serve food to the homeless nearby, and have an effective after-school ministry to children. The church went under midway through the project due to lack of funds, even while the pastor was collecting a fat paycheck and living in a multi-million dollar home.
As I said previously, it’s not that I don’t understand the motivation of college students clamouring for free internet, free healthcare, free education, and free life. But accepting a promise for free bread while your government tosses five-course meals to friends in high places is bad business, bad government, and bad eating. We’ll all be starving in the end, and, even then, some joker will crassly suggest raiding the pantry one last time. Talk is cheap, until someone gets elected and pays for the oration.