Comments and observations on social and political trends and events.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Spreading the Wealth and Selfishness: 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.

UPDATE: As reported Jack Tapper's ABC blog he quotes how Obama responded recently to McCain's and Palin's charges of Obama being socialistic. His reply followed by Tapper's comment:

"John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this [Obama's policies] socialistic," Obama continued. "You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness."

It's unclear if this was a nod to the Ayn Rand book "The Virtue of Selfishness," with all that the invocation of Rand implies.

It would seem to be, given the themes of Rand's work, what happens when independent achievers are demonized.

Which would fit with this description of those who want to keep their hard-earned tax dollars as "selfish."

Atlas may not be shrugging, but Obama is.

It's interesting as we come into the home stretch to see Obama slipping a bit in his normally well-controlled efforts to disguise his agenda. First was his "spreading the well comment with Joe the plumber." Now this. In any case bravo to Tapper for his catch.

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