Uncommon Sense

politics and society are, unfortunately, much the same thing

We must like oppression

Most people agree that money effectively is power. This doesn’t necessarily mean power over others; it could just as easily mean self empowerment – freedom. By this reasoning we can say wealth is freedom, and few would disagree with this premise.

This idea that wealth is freedom is one reason behind the progressive Occupy movement. In the leftwing mindset wealth is not created, it merely exists. And there is a vast but limited quantity of wealth in the world. In this mindset only so much wealth can be distributed, so it should be distributed as equitably as possible. After all, wealth is freedom, and fairness demands we all be equally free.

In the progressive mindset a concentration of wealth in the hands of only a few is tantamount to oppression of the rest of us. The prime imperative of fairness requires this inequitable distribution of wealth to be rectified. So far, this philosophy is at least consistent, making sense with itself even if not with reality. But this is where the philosophy begins to turn on itself. What a leftwing mindset neglects is that if money is power, power is also power.

The power to control other people is not liberty. It may be a “freedom” of the powerful to control others, but to be controlled is not “freedom” except the freedom from the burden of making one’s own decisions. Most of us would acknowledge that, in order for liberty to exist, there must be limits on our individual freedom so that we do not infringe upon the liberty of others. That means government is necessary for liberty to exist.

No one is “anti-government”. Not even anarchists. Anarchists, for what ever reasons, seem to be easily swayed from a supposedly total non-government ideal to a total government ideal. This devotion to absolute freedom is no devotion at all, but merely an excuse for some other agenda, often one they are not even aware of because anarchists seldom bother to think through that far. Even in a world of no government, laws evolve. Clans or gangs form, and a pecking order results. If there is a leader, there is someone telling others what to do. That is not anarchy. True anarchy does not exist among the human species for very long – if at all.

Limited government is not anarchy either, and no one supporting limited government is calling for the dismissal of government. In fact, those favoring limited government do so because they believe too much government results in tyranny. And they’re right. Just as there is such a thing as too little government, so there is such a thing as too much government. That means in order for liberty to exist, there must be limits on what government can do.

But the language used in modern politics doesn’t match the real life situation. Limited government advocates are called names like anti-government. One cannot support limited government (which, by definition, is supporting the existence of government) and be anti-government at the same time. Those making the accusation of “anti-government” pretend to support liberty. This is a remarkable contradiction. Accusing someone else of being anti-government so as to support more government, in the name of freedom.

Power is power. And as the saying goes, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. And how does government accomplish any of the things it does? By exercising power over others. Government is the practice of telling other people what they can and can’t do. When government passes a regulation or law telling you what you can or can’t do, that is a choice taken away from you. Sometimes this is necessary, other times we are told it is necessary when it is really not. Diminishing your choices can be considered diminishing your freedom. That can be necessary when your decisions affect others, but even then laws should require a high standard of justification. Today it seems a majority of our fellow citizens gladly and quietly comply with anything government wishes to do.

In order to do its work, government must also be funded. How does government fund itself? By taxation. What is taxation? Taxation is the confiscation of wealth.

Now, as mentioned before, wealth is freedom. Does this mean taxation is the confiscation of freedom? Yes it does. Money you earned that was taken from you is wealth you no longer have. Confiscating money is also confiscating opportunity. Those advocating more government and higher taxes “on the rich” have no idea they are promoting greater confiscation of freedom from us all. If raising taxes or cutting taxes for “the rich” applied only to “the rich” we might be able to make a different argument. But “the rich” is a political ploy that easily shuts down most people’s capacity to think for themselves, as it is designed to do. The term “the rich” can garner instant emotional support for anything hiding behind the propaganda, without question.

Those advocating higher taxes or more regulation typically suggest that without such government intervention businesses would cause tremendous harm because they are greedy and corrupt. Because government doesn’t have a reputation for being greedy or corrupt, and it never causes any harm, right? We are to believe government does only good things when trying to act on our behalf.

You may like the idea of an Obamaphone provided to other people free by the government, but you may not like actually having one. If you’ve seen one of these free government phones you realize it’s crap. If you spent your own money on a phone you probably would never purchase one like the Obamaphone. You would want something better. The idea that the government is helping us by giving us crap is backwards. We have no idea of the opportunity cost involved in providing poor people with a free sub par phone.

If you’ve ever seen government housing you would probably have the same reaction as you would to the Obamaphone. At first you may feel like a good person for supporting giving housing to the poor, but you would be unlikely to ever purchase similar housing for yourself with your own money. Government programs offer typically sub par services and products to the people.

But in the name of fairness American society sprints leftward toward a progressive utopia, with ever increasing taxes so government can provide us with more sub par crap. Those relying on food assistance, government housing, social security, government education, etc., the many social assistance programs, know very well how trapped people can become by being so dependent on government crap. And we want more sub par handouts, the latest being health care.

We are paying, by force of law, for inadequate government hand outs and some how we consider this a great thing. The idea of allowing people to keep their own wealth is considered dangerous in our society, which contradicts our attitude of letting government have ever increasing power. If concentrated wealth in the hands of a few is a bad thing, why is concentrating both wealth and power in the hands of government such a good thing? We have to get government approval to do so many things in life. We don’t even know how many taxes we pay. Even the IRS can’t keep up with all the tax rules and regulations Congress has passed into law.

The United States government is so massive, and confiscates so much wealth in the form of taxes (not just income taxes) we have no clue how much liberty has been taken away from us (just in the form of money, not to mention in regulations). Liberty, not hand outs, is what makes it possible for people to raise themselves out of poverty. We need not presume poverty is a life long affliction. So one might wonder if liberty or prosperity are really the goal here; perhaps fairness trumps these things, in which case liberty and prosperity are forfeited so society can be made more economically equal.

Progressives tell us they support freedom. And they do, as long as we’re talking about pleasure. The political left seems to favor almost moral anarchy concerning anything related to having fun. But they also want every other aspect of life regulated. While screaming for the freedom to have sex with who ever you want or to put what ever substances you want into your body, on the other hand they want government to regulate or tax your right to make a living, to protect yourself, to travel, to practice religion, what health care you’re entitled to, what food or drink you can consume, and more. We’re even seeing increased regulation of what we are allowed to think and speak. And all this under the guise of fairness.

I don’t call this trend fairness. I call it oppression. For generations now conservatives have been ridiculed as a people who want to control other people’s lives. And there is some truth to that, since one application of a “conservative” mindset holds that regulating oneself is the best form of regulation – if we would bother to do it. But today it is progressives who devote themselves to controlling people. While calling for freedom they are the very champions of oppression, through the mighty hand of government. Progressives call paying taxes an act of patriotism, when in fact it is the confiscation of freedom. They call wanting less regulation of life dangerous and greedy. Somehow how wanting to keep more of your own money is greed, but wanting to take more of your money from you is not greed. Punishing the rich while exempting our rich government and rich politicians and treating them as heros does not match the supposed desire for fairness. Treating success as evil and something that needs to be changed is not a desire for freedom. And what is the recommended agent of change? It is government intervention, which inevitably decreases freedom. Apparently, our society likes oppression, because we demand more of it every day. But let us not call it oppression. It sounds much better if we call it fairness or equality or even social justice.

Get your “Concentrated Power” swag here – wear and share uncommon sense. This message states the following:

Money, effectively, is power. If concentrating wealth in the hands of a few is such a bad thing why is concentrating power in the hands of even fewer such a good thing?

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Filed under: bailout, culture, economy, elitism, entitlements, freedom, funding, government, greed, hypocrisy, ideology, left wing, opinion, philosophy, public policy, regulation, socialism, unintended consequences

2 Responses

  1. […] The logical conclusions of this line of thinking are remarkable among a people who believe themselves to be free and claim to value liberty. This leads us to the issue of concentrating power in the hands of a few, which I’ve already addressed here. […]

  2. […] “moderate” Republicans think they have a winning strategy mainly because Americans largely like oppression. But appealing to concentrated power while pretending to oppose concentrated power is ridiculous, […]

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