The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Eat the Rich

Ebola is one of the most frightening viruses that afflict humans. It sometimes hides for years, undetected and silent. But ultimately, it reappears, first quietly, and then with a vengeance. It attacks by finding a host—a human being. It infects the host, feeds off the host, and then, using the despair and chaos that inevitably result as the host begins to die, it spreads to other hosts. The vicious cycle repeats, but not forever. The only thing that stops Ebola is its own vicious efficiency. It destroys so quickly that its spread is limited. It can't move from host to host without eradicating inself—temporarily.

In an odd way, the new clarion call for socialism in the United States has some things in common with the Ebola virus. Like Ebola, socialism needs a host so that it can feed and spread. That host is capitalism, and especially, those who have succeeded in the capitalist system and amassed a body (no pun intended) of wealth that can feed socialist demands. When socialism feeds, it extracts wealth (in the form of taxation or other government mandates) weakening the host (i.e., the economic system that created the wealth) and making it more susceptible to further infection. As the host (i.e., a market economy) begins to die, people suffer and demand even more help from the carrier of the virus (i.e., "big government must help us!"), making it insidious as it infects others. Once the infection has begun, the only thing that stops socialism is its own vicious efficiency. It destroys its host so quickly, that it can no longer feed (i.e., it runs out of other people's money). Venezuela is a recent, tragic example of this phenomenon.

Thankfully, there are no proponents for Ebola, no one to sing its praises. That's not true of the socialist "virus". Hidden just below the surface of public discourse for years, it pops up now and then. Now is one of those times. An array of prominent Democrats and their media allies tell us that socialism is a good thing—not a "virus" at all.

Conservative strategist Karl Rove comments:
It’s not your parents’ Democratic Party anymore.

Once upon a time, Democrats worked to reduce income inequality by raising up those on the bottom of the economic ladder with the government’s help. Even efforts to tax the rich at higher rates to fund these programs were tempered by a desire not to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

That view has been replaced by a deep hostility to wealth. The new outlook is best captured in the Twitter handle of one of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s top aides: “Every billionaire is a policy mistake.”

Ms. Ocasio-Cortez condemns “a system that allows billionaires to exist” while people in Alabama “are still getting ringworm.” Democrats running for president echo her theme. “I want these billionaires to stop being freeloaders,” thunders Sen. Elizabeth Warren.Sen. Bernie Sanders alleges America is “owned and controlled by a small number of multibillionaires whose . . . insatiable greed is having an unbelievable negative impact on the fabric of our country.”

For Democrats like these, rich people’s success makes them morally suspect. They are by definition evil, venal and contemptible.
Rove recounts the many, many billionaires who have created millions of good jobs and donated additional billions to worthy causes, along with the Left's utter hypocrisy of vilifying right-leaning billionaires who support conservative politics while remaining silent or lauding left-leaning billionaires who do the same thing, Then he writes:
Some of us hold a different view about the wealthy. While we don’t believe the rich are due special deference, we also don’t scorn them simply because they have money. We are grateful and not resentful toward those who play by the rules and in the process become financially successful. We appreciate many of the products and jobs they’ve created, the wealth they’ve generated, the charitable causes they fund.

At the end of the 19th century, a young William Allen White—a critic of William Jennings Bryan’s populist Democrats—wrote a column titled “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” There he mocked the wealth-haters, saying the populist felt that “what we need is not more money, but less capital, fewer white shirts and brains. . . . We need several thousand gibbering idiots to scream about” the power of financial titans, because “we don’t care to build up, we wish to tear down.”

Those views led Democrats to four straight presidential defeats, ending only in 1912, when Republicans were split and Democrats tempered their attacks on wealth. They had realized that Americans don’t resent success. Maybe it will take a similar string of electoral losses to restore sanity to today’s wealth-hating Democrats.
One can only hope, because if we look at the long span of recent history, socialism (and its big brother, communism) has caused more death and more human suffering than ebola ever did.