This is the first in a series of occasional posts in which I will muse upon things that our progressive brothers and sisters take as a given, and why they are so wrong.
Greed. This is one of the big arrows in the prog's ad hominem quiver. "Why are you conservatives so greedy?". "Corporations are greedy.". "The greed of the 1% keeps us sterling OWS 99%ers poor! Wah!". And so on, and so on, and so on. Let's examine this, shall we?
Conservatives are far more greedy than progressivesReally? The core of our philosophy is the right of the individual to keep the fruits of their labors. We're not the ones who seek to take more and more money from other people in order to "do good". We don't think that it's right to redistribute wealth by force in the name of "social justice". Conservatives believe "Keep it, you earned it" while progressives say "Gimmie, I can use it better than you can, you don't deserve it, I do". Conservatism is a philosophy of greed while progressives are altruists? In a pig's eye. Greedy conservatives even give more to charity than kind hearted progressives. Which philosophy encourages greed again?
Greed is good?Good old Gordon Gecko. The famous "Greed is good" diatribe, liberal Hollywood's distortion of the words of Milton Friedman, deployed to make the business community look like heartless bastards. The thing is, most conservatives, listening to that speech, find it hard to discount it completely, because it comes so close to expressing the core principles that we believe. Seeing our hesitation, the prog pounces: "HA! You DO think greed is good! Greedy right wing bastard!" and then uses this straw man to dismiss our arguments. Greed is not "good", because greed implies the desire to possess something not earned, something that one is not entitled to. In the climactic paragraph, Gecko says "greed-for lack of a better word-is good". Well, I have a better word, several in fact. If billionaire Gecko could have spent $4.95 on a thesaurus, he might have come out with something that every conservative would embrace and defend without hesitation. Try this:
"Ambition is right. Desire works. Drive clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. An individual's desire to better them self, in all of its forms -- in life, financially, in love, in knowledge -- has marked the upward surge of mankind. And that drive -- you mark my words -- will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA."
Same basic speech, same basic words, but now it's a clear statement of conservative principle that I would be proud to claim as my own. This is tactic # 5 in the progressive playbook: Distort the clear meaning of words to muddy the argument. So, if greed is not good, what is it?
Greed is naturalGreed is part of the flawed human condition. Everyone is greedy to a greater or lesser extent. Some people are greedy for money. Some for power. Some for love, some for recognition, some for fame, some for Hummel figurines. Some for all of these things, some for none. The fact of the matter is that greed lives in the human heart, and all of the wailing and moaning in the world won't change that one simple fact. Even progs recognize this, though they're loath to admit it, which brings us to the final point on our journey.
Greed must be constrainedAnd here's where the prog goes completely off the rails, although he winds up in the
same place he always does. His solution to containing greed is to empower the government. More rules, more laws, more regulations. Tighter and tighter control. Gotta reign in those evil conservatives, those nasty corporations, those distasteful free thinking individuals. Tighten the screws, lock down the hatches, Mr. Spock, we need governmentwarp factor 10! You can blow this all out of the water with one simple question, and in so doing the only answer left to the prog is the same sad one that's been repeated throughout human history. "Mr. Prog", you will ask, "What makes you think that people in government are any less greedy that people outside of government?"
Stammering will ensue, but if he's real hard core, he'll give you the only answer left to him: Well, government can train greed out of people. Yup, all we need is total control, we'll teach children not to be greedy, we'll stigmatize greed right out of the human condition. In other words, the solution is to create the New Soviet Man, again. As soon as humans stop being human, why, it'll be Nirvana. Anyone who has studied history knows how that ends.
The conservative knows that in order to constrain greed, we need a system that does it naturally. Fortunately, we have just such a system: The free market. Corporations and governments may both be inclined towards greed, but the market naturally punishes corporations for indulging. How long would Wal-Mart stay in business if it made a habit of screwing its customers, priced its goods exorbitantly or really abused its employees the way leftists want you to believe that it does? Not long. Everybody would go to Target. The market naturally restrains greed. Government, on the other hand, protects greed. Over 1000 vets died so that government workers in Phoenix could get their bonus checks. Nobody went to jail, nobody has even lost their job. Can you honestly say that a corporation that callously killed 1000 folks would walk away unscathed? Of course not. That corporation would be out of business (spare me cigarette companies please, they provide something that an individual uses to kill himself. Different situation altogether. Guns too), people would stop patronizing them. Let me say it again: The market naturally restrains greed. Government, on the other hand, protects greed. Progs believe the opposite.
And that right there is what progs know about greed that just isn't so.
Sunday, July 06, 2014
Things Progressives Know That Just Aren't So, Part I - Greed [WeirdDave]