Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Sacrifice

When any politicians speaks of the "wealthy" as needing to make "sacrifices," you should know several things:

1. The economy is in trouble.
2. Envy is afoot.
3. Statism is on the loose.
4. Terms are being abused, since taxation is not sacrifice; it is forcible extraction.
5. The "wealthy" will be defined arbitrarily, since people's incomes are not a sure indicator of their assets.

4 comments:

Robert Kunda said...

I always find it comical that the plea is coming from people that would be considered "wealthy." But the case is directed at people not in that group.

It's not, "Hey, people with X... here is why you should pay Y," instead it's, "Hey, look at all those people with "X," let's take a little bit away from them."

It's pretty sad. It's playing on the greed of people.... and doing it in a way that "sounds" so selfless (sort of). I wonder why the corporate jet issue is the one that got the most play, perhaps because it's one of the easiest to caricature in the difference between the "classes." The jet issue is funny, too. Does the president fly commercial?

Steve Schuler said...

Well Said, Doug!!!

I doubt if Ayn Rand herself could have offered a more accurate and concise criticism of this malfeasance.

Which reminds me, have you ever considered some of the parallels that can be drawn between the Pharisees of Jesus' time and the Religious Right of today? For example, both had/have an overwhelming focus and concern for maintaining a very pronounced, and religiously justified, division of wealth between the 'haves' and 'have nots'. Perhaps this is a trifling concern, though. I consider the comment made by our former President George W. Bush to an audience at a diamond-studded $800-a-plate dinner when he commented on the wealth on display,

"This is an impressive crowd - the haves and the have-mores," quipped George the Younger. "Some people call you the Elites; I call you my Base."

And, of course, that observation may help shed some much needed light on Michelle Bachmann's emphatic expresson of concern a while back when she passionately declared in an interview, "We're Running Out of Rich People in this Country!"

I suppose we must all 'connect the dots' in accord with our own interpretations of the facts of the matter. But whose construction is closer to the truth?

Douglas Groothuis said...

Steve:

I didn't get any of these ideas from Ayn Rand. I do not believe that selfishness is a virtue.

But I don't believe the state can solve the problems of poverty, nor can it create wealth.

Steve Schuler said...

Doug,

While you do not acknowledge Ayn Rand as the source of your political perspective as expressed in this post many politicians and pundits associated with Conservatism and the Religious Right do so, even enthusiastically.

Ron Johnson, Republican Senator from Wisconsin, described by the Washingotn Post as a "classic conservative" and self-identified as a Lutheran has described Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" as his "foundational book."

Randall Paul, Republican Senator from Kentucky, self identified as a Presbyterian, gives credit to the huge influence that Ayn Rand's philosohphy has had on him and desribes himself as a "fan" of hers.

Paul Ryan, the current House Budget Committee chair a Republican representing Wisconsin who identifies himself as Roman Catholic, has passed out Rand’s novels to staffers and called her the reason he got into politics. In a video on his Facebook page he proclaims,

"Ayn Rand more than anyone else did a fantastic job of explaining the morality of capitalism, the morality of individualism...it is the morality of what is going on right now and how it offends the morality of individuals working toward their own free will...It's that kind of thinking, that kind of writing that is sorely needed right now."


Rush Limbaugh, who needs no introduction, has called Ayn Rand "brilliant". The similarly minded philosophical pundit Glen Beck said, “Ayn Rand, you’ve got to love Ayn Rand. She’s great."

This list could be extended vastly, but to deny that "Randian" philosophy permeates the thinking of the Religious Right and Conservative movements would be pretty difficult to defend.

While, to me at least, the connection between all of the 5 points you made in this post are easily associated with Ayn Rand's thinking it would be much more difficult to find any connection with the teachings of Jesus that would lend support to your position. I suppose that might be part of the reason that some elements of the Christian community have chosen to identify themselves as "Red Letter Christians" in order to emphasize the value they place on the actual teachings of Jesus in overt opposition to some varieties of Christianity that seem to ignore those same teachings in matters political. While I am not in a position to comment on whether or not their perspectives are theologically sound, it does give me a measure of hope knowing that there are still Christians who whole-heartedly support such fundamentally moral concepts as the pursuit economic and social justice by way of governmental activities.

Okay.

No, government or the "state" alone cannot solve the problem of poverty. However it can (and I think should!) provide financial relief to the needy and poor. In the wake of your father's tragic death did you and your mom receive any financial benefits provided through governmental assistance programs like Social Security? Do you think that those payments constituted an unfair or unreasonable burden on the rest of society? One way or another, please let me know.


And no, government can not create wealth. It can be spectacularly effective in redistributing it though. Just consider the war profiteering enjoyed by Halibuton and Kellog, Brown, and Root over the last decade.

Or don't, if it is inconsistent with the political landscape you would prefer to envision...

Steve