Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sins of the Systems

Here's something you probably didn't expect. I want you to go here and watch the two minute section of Senator Sanders' filibuster from the other day. Go on, I'll wait.

To the Senator's credit, he's openly a socialist. Were that more socialists in this nation were honest about it!

This two minute section is important, because it concisely sums up the attitude of those on the Left concerning wealth and justice. The rich are crybabies; there is a limit to how much people should own; conservatives and libertarians are guilty of the sin of greed, which is like a drug addiction. Fortunately, there are those statists like Senator Sanders that will try their utmost to impose morality (as the Left sees it) on the people, with force if necessary.

I see things differently, both from the Judea-Christian notion of morality and that of socialists. Greed is no sin; rather, it is the source of all wealth and goods in the world. Should a person be driven to make more money and do so in a way that does not violate the life, liberty, or property of others, then that person has done no wrong to anyone. Indeed, that person has increased the quantity of goods in this world, a praiseworthy act.

The Senator mocks the wealthy as crybabies for wishing to preserve the fruit of their labor. Has Senator Sanders produced the wealth he wishes to redistribute? No. Perhaps if he (and those who support his position) had to work to create the wealth in the first place, they would understand why anyone, rich, poor, or in between, would be angered about being robbed. People work hard for their own good, not for Senator Sanders and his socialist supporters to redistribute that wealth.

When is enough, enough? That is a question each individual must ask themselves and impose upon themselves. It is not a decision for people to make for each other and impose at the point of a gun. That is an open door for abuse. So long as a man wishes to be honestly productive, he should be allowed to be so. If people are voluntarily giving that individual millions of dollars, then clearly that person is creating a good of immense value. Senator Sanders and his followers may believe a magical number exists as to when enough is enough, but they cannot prove where that line lies. Their argument is predicated on the idea that men should only be so productive but no more; after that point, any work should be in the form of slavery, so that any wealth created will go to anyone but the worker who created it. That is injustice. Let men be free to achieve their potential, for God's sake!

Greed created the iPod and the iPhone; heroin did not. Greed created the cars on the road; meth did not. Greed created the computer you are reading on; drugs did not. Greed causes you to go to work in the morning; cocaine has the opposite effect. Greed drives men to produce. Greed, coupled to the rule of law and the respect of property rights, is the engine that moves the human species forward.

I wish I could say that I am so valuable to the human species that people voluntarily gave me millions of dollars for the goods and services I produce. I'm honest enough with myself and with you, the reader, to admit I am not that valuable. I'm also humble enough to realize other people are. I would describe myself as a millionaire with a sense of pride for the amount of happiness I had created for other people.

Greed is not the only deadly sin that can be ascribed to economic systems, Senator. Your socialism is infected by a far worse sin: envy.

Envy is different from greed. Greed is the desire for more. That sin is largely seen as taking one's eye away from the Kingdom of God in favor of the physical world; if you do not believe in the world beyond, this is no sin at all. Envy is different. Envy is when people want the goods of another and believe they deserve it. Envy drives people to the point where they will destroy the good just so that others cannot have it.

Socialism is squarely based on envy. Socialists believe that the rich do not deserve their money, even if it was voluntarily given to them. They demand the power to take from the rich so that the socialists may redistribute wealth they did not create. Why do the rich not deserve their wealth? Why do those who receive the money without working for it deserve it? And who are socialists to know who deserves what? What criteria do they use? What impact does it have on the incentive to create and improve the stock of goods on this planet?

Socialism requires the use of force to redistribute wealth away from producers. The free market does not use force. On that ground alone, the socialist must justify introducing the use of force before doing so. Claiming outrage that another human being could possibly be more valuable than you is not a sufficient reason.

Far too often, those on the Left feel like heroes for taking away from honest producers to give to other people. They are not heroes; they are thieves. Far too often, they toss around the term "deserve" to justify redistributing wealth, though they know nothing about the origins of the wealth, the effort required to create it, or the actual morality of the recipients. They toss around the term "rights" to force obligations on people who never voluntarily accepted them. And they need to stop.

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