Thursday, September 17, 2020

 Week 14: The rich and the poor


Trump and the “Right” love the rich and hate the poor. Biden and the “Left” hate the rich and love the poor. This is the common narrative pushed from almost all corners of the political playing field. With all due respect, it seems that neither is an accurate perception.


Prior to our discussion of preceding statements, permit me to share my utter disdain for the terms “Right” and “Left,” as applied in a political context. They are lazy constructs to divide us, to pit us against one another, and to establish an either-or worldview in which there is no middle ground, no room for deep analysis nor for complex and nuanced beliefs.


Nevertheless, the political class seems comfortable with the either-or worldview. The establishment politicians, who promote this worldview, prostitute themselves (i.e., sacrificing any principles they may have had for the sake of political expediency) for its advancement and perpetuation. Consequently, I will employ these simplistic terms in a narrow manner to refer to the political elite. I will play the game as they have defined it.


Regarding the so-called “Right,” it is true that they love the rich. Generally, those on the “Right” fall into the economic camp of capitalists, some of whom advocate free-market capitalism. They want to establish conditions that make it possible for the machinery of industry to run smoothly and efficiently. They understand that private sector success results in employment and raises people out grinding poverty in a way that government handouts cannot. They also understand that well-being, be it economic or otherwise, is not a fixed pie. Success by one does not come at the expense or failure of another. In fact, in a free-market society, success only comes by way of voluntary exchange and agreement. There is no coercion. 


In this sense, not only do they not hate the poor, their policies are designed to benefit the poor, as well as the rich. Another example is education. As we’ve discussed before, those in most need of help to improve their lot in life are the same people who are forced into failing schools and subject to inefficient healthcare systems. The “Right” seeks to introduce choice and competition into these and similar systems. In areas in which such competition and choice has been made available to people, results have been favorable.


Regarding the so-called “Left,” it is true that they hate the rich. The exception to this general hatred is the rich of the political elite. Often the people who denounce the private sector’s rich have themselves become rich over the course of a long career in office, a topic we recently discussed. Notwithstanding that exception, the “Left” look at the rich as greedy opportunists, who, rather than create value, exploit the worker and take his share of wealth, believing that economic well-being is a fixed pie. To the “Left,” the rich serve as a source of funding for their social engineering experiments, which interestingly fail time and time again. Look at California, Illinois and New York, for example. Companies are fleeing those states’ socialist economies for states that provide a favorable environment for businesses to thrive. Who is hurt in this situation? The people of California, Illinois and New York. They are left with fewer options for employment and are consequently damned to poverty. The political “Left” blames the companies and their greed for this situation rather than their redistributive policies, which effectively – quite effectively – kills the goose that lays the golden egg.


This is where the disingenuous assertion that the “Left” love the poor is shown for what it is: a lie. If the “Left” loved the poor, they would seek ways to lift them out of the terrible poverty that destroys their lives and smothers their hope, such as a quality education, which enriches the mind and spirit, and a robust job market, which provides employment and builds self-esteem. Instead, they offer schools that bear greater resemblance to prisons than to academies, and they offer welfare programs that decimate skills and foster dependency. To the “Left,” the poor are little more than political pawns for tearing down political opponents and for buttressing their own power. There is no love; there is only a twisted form of political utilitarianism.


Again, we’re looking at the gross generalities of the either-or worldview of the political establishment. This is not my worldview, but it is the game that the political class has set up, so some analysis of that game is necessary. 


The problem is that this is not a game! This is your life and mine – we, the citizens, whose lives are not protected by Secret Service bodyguards nor by loopholes, like those used by politicians to exempt themselves from the very laws they impose on us.


Insomuch as we can, I hope each of us will consider the candidates before us and will choose those most likely to mitigate or eliminate the sick, twisted, seditious worldview that we must accept either “Right” or “Left.”

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