Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spreading the Wealth: Obama’s Altruist Trojan Horse

I’ve posted links to Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) because I consistently agree with their editorials. I highly recommend their series titled The Audacity of Socialism. Like most right-of-center publications they properly decry the abuses of liberal policy but fall short of challenging the moral premises behind liberal policy. Therefore it is refreshing to see this quote in the editorial “Defining Problems With Socialism For The Post-Cold War Generation” posted on October 27, 2008.

[Socialists] see capitalism with its profit motive as
vulgar and immoral because it's at odds with altruism — the idea that the
general welfare of society is the proper goal of individuals.

What they fail to realize is society is the greatest
beneficiary of our system of rational self-interest. The poorest of the poor and
the laziest of the lazy still benefit from the genius of the entrepreneur and
the risk-taking of the venture capitalist.

The article starts off also with good advice to McCain: slapping the label socialist onto Obama won’t make nearly as much impact as spelling out the personal consequences of Obama’s socialist policies. To most people, especially the younger generations, the term socialism has no meaning. They would take more offense to saying Obama doesn’t like “Dancing With The Stars.”

Returning back to the first point about the altruist premise behind socialism IBD does fall somewhat into the trap that most conservatives do: saying that the invisible hand of the market ultimately helps people more than government handouts. While I agree this doesn’t go far enough. This answer looks at the recipients, not at those who create values. We also need to reinforce the idea that people own the values they created and obtained. Redistribution inevitably means taking -- by force -- values from people who obtained them by investing their time, energy and resources. Everyone has heard the well known saying that “Time is money.” Well, the reverse is true too: money is time. When someone advocates increasing taxes to pay for their pet redistributionist programs they essentially are laying claim to the time it takes for us to pay for the increased taxes. If you dig deep enough what they are saying is that your life and your time is ultimately not yours.

A lot of issues are packed into the idea of redistribution which I’ll get to shortly. Suffice it to say a moral case can be made against “spreading the wealth around” as Obama would say. Congratulations to IBD for bringing this into the light.

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