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    The Will to Create

    Entries in egalitarianism (3)


    Up with Chris Hayes 12/11/2011 -- Egalitarianism

    I watched the first hour of Up with Chris Hayes. It was mostly an attack on Republicans using the debate last night as the material to make their case. Reihan Salam was on the panel, and he weakly attempted to present a a different perspective from the basically progressive perspective delivered by Hayes, Rebecca Traister and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins. Lamkins insisted that Gingrich's recent comments regarding lack of a work ethic among the poor in inner cities were rooted in racism. The Left loves to talk about dog whistles, but their dog whistle claims are actually dog whistles themselves, or more like blaring horns. You can't have a decent debate about poverty when one side is called racist when they offer theories and solutions.

    Most of the conversation was ordinary Leftist spin, but Chris Hayes responded to something Romney said which I found interesting. In the debate Romney praised the efforts of entrepreneurs which have helped raise the living standards of Americans across the board. Hayes didn't explain, but he countered Romney by saying he, Hayes, is an egalitarian. I assume, since Hayes is a big supporter of OWS, that Hayes is talking about the modern liberal/progressive deification of democracy as a path to equality. Equality can mean different things to different people, and, because Hayes has never promoted limited government, I take his egalitarianism as a call for government policy to enforce equality. What kind of equality? If Hayes means that government is responsible for ensuring equal treatment under the law, including the wealthy, and that all people should have the same rights, including the poor, then I'm on board.

    If Hayes believes it's government's responsibility to remove economic inequalities among people, then I have a serious problem. The Progressive statist agenda to remove economic inequalities is not only morally offensive, it has a counter effect that winds up harming the very people Hayes proposes to help. Government economic interventions in the form of picking winners and losers and redistributing wealth suppresses economic growth and creates a situation in which interventions call for more interventions as unintended consequences are created by the interventions. Obamacare is a prime example of interventions calling for more interventions until all the interventions create economic stagnation and high unemployment. While Hayes will say that economic stagnation and high unemployment are caused by lack of demand, the main problem is uncertainty in the economy. Businesses are not sure what their operating expenses will be when Obamacare and other regulations are in full force, and consumers are uncertain  how all the changes will affect their financial situation. Many companies have the cash to innovate, take risks, and offer new products and services, but they will not invest, take the risk and expand unless they are reasonably sure what their operating expenses will be.

    In an environment in which small and medium sized businesses fear that government will confiscate their profits to socially engineer economic equality, they will not take risks. The attempt to establish equality of results destroys equality of opportunity. On a moral basis, government doesn't have the right to take money from some and give to others in an attempt to create economic equality. The fact that so many people in America are okay with redistribution of wealth shows how far we've drifted from "fairness". If wealth producers in the private sector choose to give a part of their wealth to people in need, then that's their choice, but government confiscation and redistribution are wrong on so many levels, it's amazing that so few see how wrong it is. The bottom line, though, is that poor people are ultimately worse off through this type of egalitarianism, although it makes wealthy liberals like Hayes feel righteous.



    Oh, those shrill haters of millionaires&billionaires

    Matt Continetti at the Weekly Standard wrote an article regarding the history of the Koch brothers that didn't frame them as evil capitalist monsters bent on controlling the universe -- Glenn Greenwald became shrill.

    One problem Greenwald has is that, when interviewed by Continetti, Charles Koch said Obama is an egalitarian and has been influenced by Marxist ideas. Greenwald chooses to refute this by showing how much money rich bastards have made since Obama has come into office.

    Since Obama was inaugurated, the Dow Jones has increased more than 50% -- from 8,000 to more than 12,000; the wealthiest recieved a massive tax cut; the top marginal tax rate was three times less than during the Eisenhower years and substantially lower than during the Reagan years; income and wealth inequality are so vast and rising that it is easily at Third World levels; meanwhile, "the share of U.S. taxes paid by corporations has fallen from 30 percent of federal revenue in the 1950s to 6.6 percent in 2009."  During this same time period, the unemployment rate has increased from 7.7% to 8.9%; millions of Americans have had their homes foreclosed; and the number of Americans living below the poverty line increased by many millions, the largest number since the statistic has been recorded.  Can you smell Obama's radical egalitarianism and Marxist anti-business hatred yet?


    Then there are those whom Obama has empowered.  His first chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, is a business-revering corporatist who made close to $20 million in 3 short years as an investment banker, while his second, Bill Daley, served for years as JP Morgan's Midwest Chairman.  His Treasury Secretary is undoubtedly the most loyal and dedicated servant Wall Street has ever had in that position, while Goldman Sachs officials occupy so many key positions in his administration that a former IMF and Salomon Brothers executive condemned what he called "Goldman Sachs's seeming lock on high-level U.S. Treasury jobs."  Obama's former OMB Director recently left to take a multi-million-dollar position with Citigroup.  From the start, Obama's economic policies were shaped by the Wall Street-revering neo-liberal Rubinites who did so much to serve corporate America during the Clinton years.  Meanwhile, the President's choice to head his Council on Jobs and Competitiveness -- General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt -- heads a corporation that "despite $14.2 billion in worldwide profits - including more than $5 billion from U.S. operations - [] did not owe taxes in 2010":  an appointment the White House still defends.

    To Greenwald's credit, he does try to get it right:

    Some of these trends pre-date Obama, but few have been retarded during his presidency, while many have accelerated.   Whether one finds this state of affairs desirable or not, no rational person can describe them as the by-product of a Marxist, business-hating egalitarian.  Quite the opposite.  The political power of America's richest has never been greater, and the level of their responsibility and collective burden has never been less.  Meanwhile, for ordinary Americans, the remaining remnants of their financial security and middle class comforts rapidly erodes.  It's true that the U.S. Government has little regard for the free market:  they intervene constantly in the free market on behalf of the nation's wealthiest and most powerful business interests; it's crony capitalism, corporatism:  government run by corporations (or, as Dick Durbin said of the Congress in which he serves:  "the banks own the place").

    But, then Greenwald goes on to claim that somehow the supposedly pro-business actions of Obama have helped create wealth accumulation, while ignoring the healthcare and energy bills which have not been fully implemented. Anyone who has paid attention to Obama's words and takes his actions regarding policy into account, what he has passed and what he would have passed if he could have (cap and trade), will never mistake him for a gung-ho capitalist and will more likely agree that Marx influenced Obama moreso than Hayek. Greenwald's "evidence" is what's detached from reality, not the normal reaction from the Koch brothers regarding the endless assaults against their character. Greenwald expects the Koch brothers to be superhuman tough-skins, but all they said in the interview, really, is that Obama is definitely not a libertarian, and that the Left is coming unhinged -- not really controversial.

    You would think that Greenwald should understand the difference between someone like Obama protecting and helping selected large corporations in order to advance a progressive agenda and the libertarian, limited government approach supported by the Koch brothers. Just because Obama is using a few corporations to support his progressive plans doesn't mean Obama is business-friendly or has any affinity to free market principles, especially as business relates to fair competition in which small and medium size companies are not stepped on by the protected large corporations. Obama ultimately wants to use the State to implement his full agenda, but he realizes he has to go through corporations to get it done. Surely Greenwald sees this, and would see it if not blinded by his curious disdain for honest men who've made an honest fortune, and share that fortune with many in need.

    Despite all Greenwald's added hyperbole to make the Koch brothers look like whiny, white rich guys complaining the mean Left called them names, then wiping their tears with hundred dollar bills, this cartoon version of the Koch brothers and what they said in the interview reflects more on Greenwald's psychological problem with successful business people than it does with the Koch brothers. 


    Conservative rejection of libertarianism

    It appears that RedState conservatives are doing what I predicted a year ago they would do -- reject libertarians, and misrepresent their ideas. For the most part, I agree with Leon Wolf, conservatives have their own ideas and should have conferences which reflect their ideas, but his attempt to associate libertarianism with modern liberalism and egalitarianism, or to say libertarians want government to act on legalizing gay marriage, is very misleading, and, if it's intentional, then it's an awkward smear job.

    The libertarian position, which Wolf conceded is more in line with true libertarian thought, is that government has no business legislating marriage, but what this has to do egalitarianism, I don't know -- Wolf had to add some non-libertarian positions and assign them to "some" libertarians in order to make the connection. The purely conservative position is definitely not libertarian -- most non-hyphenated libertarians are for limiting government to the basic duties of police, military and courts in order to protect individual rights which allows a society of individuals to freely work out morals and values. Mr. Wolf favors government intervention to legislate values, like obscenity laws. This doesn't mean libertarians are in favor of obscenity, just that society can work all this out on its own. It also doesn't mean a libertarian favors gay marriage when she says it's not the government's business to decide who can and can't get married -- again, it's up to individuals in society to work it out.

    I suppose Mr. Wolf has a point, that so-called libertarians who've adopted the liberaltarian label, a combination of civil libertarianism and liberal statism, are far from the conservative ideal regarding which part of government should be "small", but I doubt they are going to CPAC.

    Mr. Wolf might have to accept that conservatism is changing, and that many conversatives are less concerned with government controlling social issues and more concerned with limiting government power -- does this make them libertarians? Maybe libertarian-mindd conservatives? I don't know, but I don't think that government intervention in social matters is a sine qua non of conservatism.