Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

God is a Capitalist

In Opinion on December 9, 2011 at 10:06 pm

And Satan is a Socialist.

President Obama’s recent economic speech was built largely around two ideas.  One was the proposition that the “same rules” should apply to everyone.  He insinuated quite clearly that the rich and powerful have been getting a special deal from the government, resulting in something we’ve heard much about lately, those historically high levels of inequality of income and the wealth gap between the rich and the poor.  That was a good segue to idea number two: his full-throated support for the tax the rich and make them pay their fair share agenda of the progressive caucus of the Democratic Party.

HUH?  Is there any way to know which of those two ideas he actually believes?  Do you think he knows what is cognitive dissonance?  Isn’t one of his ideas a rhetorical trick and the other the real plan he has in mind?

As I’ve learned recently from Frederic Hayek’s The Constitution of Liberty there is no justice or morality in a majority passing into law a set of rules (a tax code) that applies to a minority (the richest X% of the people) and not to the majority (the other (100-X)%.)  In other words, a progressive tax code is immoral, full stop.

“The fundamental principle of socialism is that its is appropriate to use force to organize society, to take from some and give to others. The government has nothing to give. The government is simply a mechanism which has the power to take from some to give to others. It is a way in which some people can spend other peoples’ money for the benefit of a third party – and not so incidentally themselves”.

— The Invisible Hand in Economics and Politics, Milton Friedman, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, 1981, p11

A rational conclusion drawn from those nearly perfectly sound 73 words is: Socialism in all its forms and in any degree is evil.

I do not know of a similarly concise and complete indictment (Mr. Friedman’s, not mine) that would prove an evil nature of capitalism­.  If so, please share it with me, and I’ll reconsider my conviction that capitalism is the only moral way of organizing life, that God is a capitalist.  Until then, I think we know exactly where Mr. Obama stands both morally and politically.  Of course, the left will try their “yeah, we see where those Reagan-Bush years of capitalism got us” arguments; “debt, stagnant incomes, crisis and unemployment.”  I respond that capitalist is NOT an accurate description of a country whose government confiscates and spends 25% of what its citizens produce each year and do so pursuant to a US Tax Code that runs to over 70,000 pages, a Code of Laws of the USA that’s well over 200,000 pages, and a body of rules and regulations that covers millions of pages.

But, back to the speech; Mr. Obama sort of tied all this together with “if we want a strong middle class, then our tax code must reflect our values.”  Really?  A different, better tax code will fix what ails us?

[Yes, he said those exact words.  Makes me wonder:  Writing down our values takes 70,000 pages?!]

I’m not convinced.  More importantly, I can’t get that worked-up over this newfound devil called “inequality.”  Why is it bad?  Why must we fix it?  Can we do so without stealing, without committing socialism?  I don’t think so.

Isn’t inequality actually unavoidabl­e in most human endeavors?  Not everyone can dunk a basketball­, so Michael Jordan is rich.  Not everyone can write novels or make legal arguments so we have John Grisham and David Boies, both wealthy enough to be in the 1%, I’m sure.  Or think Donald Trump, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Michael Jackson, or Prince (aka, the artist formerly known as the artist formerly known as Prince) among others.

Inequality based on the merits – not such a horrible thing then, right?  But inequality that is the result of government granting favors – stealing from Peter to pay Paul – that’s socialism, it’s evil and rightly incites resentment and rebellion­.  But the answer isn’t to punish Peter or Paul; it’s to dismantle the entity that plundered money from Peter to buy Paul’s life from him.



Tomorrow -> Jesus Christ was the first advocate of Ayn Rand’s egoism.

  1. Mr. Abraham,

    You tend to want to impress me with your credentials and your IQ. I’m not. I can judge your wisdom based on what you say and would prefer not to have your resume thrown in the ring at every turn. I’m not interviewing you for a job. Let your words speak for themselves. I won’t bore you with my qualifications. If you think my writing is unintelligent, steer your browser to a different URL.

    I post essays of 400-750 words. They are opinion pieces, never intended as and exhaustive economic or historic treatise. If there is an occasional error, I’d greatly appreciate your correcting the record for me. Your indictment is overbroad and seems to be intended to impugn the veracity of the author or the correctness of the basic point being made by each and every post. If you want to contribute to the discussion by pointing out differences of opinion or errors of a factual nature, please go ahead. I even welcome you to suggest a different understanding of or interpretation of a third-party I may quote or reference in my posts. But, to criticize for the sake of questioning the legitimacy of site, the author or a basic substantive point is both unwelcome and puerile.

    By the way, the Friedman quote was a copy and paste from a reliable source. If there is an error, I would appreciate your citing an accurate source.

    I’m agnostic about religion and used God, Satan and similar language for rhetorical effect. That is not to say that I’m amoral or to suggest that morality is not a factor when one is considering the effect of a public policy – after all, in such a discussion aren’t we trying to determine what produces the most happiness for the most people? Freedom is my answer to that question and I can explain in logical terms that have the added benefit of being factual. That is moral; my view of it is that nothing that is contrary to human nature, nothing that is contrary human freedom is moral.

    Have a nice day.

    • Truce on the resume/IQ point, except it would be best if you resist the urge implicitly to pass judgment on mine as the reason why you’re opinion is more correct.

      I do understand the quote and its context. I have read the book, but did not, I confess to cross check the cut/paste source with the original. You have yet to tell me if I misquoted Mr. Friedman (though you insinuated as much) but now are telling me I’ve taken the quote out of context. So, allow me to turn it around on you: In WHAT context would the quote have a different meaning than the one I ascribe to it in my post AND what is that different meaning? Unless he said in the next paragraph “NOT” I can’t imagine, and didn’t find, any words that contradict the clear meaning of the quote as a stand-alone statement.

      My Peter/Paul plundering anecdote was not (I’m sure you’re aware) presented as an exhausting definition of ‘socialism’ and while I agree that your definition (state ownership . . . ) is accurate, my retort is: What indicia of ownership is more important than control of the disposition of the object/asset in question? The US gov’t may not be taking title to GM, power plants, oil rigs, etc. but is there any difference between owning something and telling its owner what he can/can’t do with it? Call it what you like, it’s not freedom. (By the way, if from now on you’ll resist the urge to parse my words in search of a glitch, I promise to continue to resist that same urge.)

      Since I didn’t ever address those other chapters of Friendman’s text, other than your habit of presuming superiority, you have no way of knowing whether I’m familiar with them. I am. I will defer until another time my views on a negative income tax and ask you to stick to the topic which is the quote I DID use, not any of the ones I didn’t cite. If there is context that would change the (to me) clear meaning of Friedman’s words that I DID quote, elucidate me please. I will pre-emptively suggest that Friedman’s work did not contain any internally inconsistent concepts; his acknowledgment that the government might sometimes be allowed to give money to certain people was, I suggest (based on actually reading the original text, not a snippet thereof from the internet (the mistake you suggest I made by quoting on passage)) a concession to political reality and an exception that was to be made only in rare circumstances, not a general proposition.

      Yes, poverty is complex, ergo my belief that to leave its cure in the hands of the top-heavy, cumbersome, uncreative, unaccountable, one-size must fit all world of the federal state is less likely than almost every other possible means of finding a solution than I can imagine. Can you tell me a non-fantastical, non-fictional, non-humorous means of finding a solution that is LESS likely to find an answer than the federal government?

      Inequality of income is only a problem, in my view, if it is the result of political manipulation. As Hayek and others have opined and explained in detail, unequal outcomes that are the result of differences in strength, skill, effort, luck or any other objective factors are much less susceptible to causing resentment or rebellion than those that result from political favoritism, nepotism and other such powers that are susceptible to manipulations that are within control of an arbitrarily, subjectively chosen few. Is Barack Obama or Newt Gingrich (or your alternative) more or less likely to lead us to a society that leads to outcomes in the former category?

  2. […] where 99 will do is wasteful of human life, and I know of nothing more immoral than that waste.  God IS a Capitalist. Advertisement GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

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