Sunday, July 22, 2012

Being a Liberal Means Never Having to Face Reality

I was having lunch with a liberal co-worker once when the subject of some corporate policy came up. The company, in order to survive the tough economic times back then, was having to cut back on benefits or take other measures that would negatively impact employees. When she complained about their actions I responded that sometimes companies have to cut their expenses in order to stay competitive and survive. She responded by saying, “(sniff) I just think people are more important.” Back then I was still young enough to be stumped at the obvious contradiction – she thinks people are important but doesn’t realize that if the company fails, those people have no jobs.

It is always amusing to me that liberals demand such a higher standard of behavior for corporations than they do for themselves. Just about every liberal I’ve ever known has been pretty thrifty when it comes to their own money. My co-worker above rarely wanted to eat lunch out and was not an especially good tipper, so perhaps I should have pointed out that the people who work as waiters and waitresses depend on others to eat out and leave good tips so that they can support themselves. Why were these people not “important” to her? If corporations are supposed to think of people before their bottom line, why shouldn’t she have to do the same?

Every liberal I’ve ever met has suffered from the same economic and philosophical hypocrisy. A former neighbor huffed that she could not bring herself to shop at Walmart, yet she had no problem shopping for the lowest price for things like lawn care and pool maintenance so that she could maximize her own personal bottom line the same way Walmart does. Is she unaware that people who mow lawns and clean pools have the same need to earn a living as Walmart employees do?

There’s no use in reminding liberals that corporations exist for one purpose and only one purpose, and that is to provide an economic benefit to its owners and investors. That goal generally requires that they provide a product or service that other people want, so usually they serve the public whether that is their primary intention or not. Liberals seem to be either incapable of understanding this concept or unwilling to take their thinking there lest reality interfere with their need for righteous indignation and finger waggling. Instead they seem to believe that somehow they can enjoy a market-based economic system for the things they buy while at the same time demanding a “different” system for dictating how businesses behave. Go figure.

The adoption of nice-sounding slogans that are untrue and yet uncomfortable to refute is the cornerstone of the Left’s strategy for advancing its agenda of socialism and wealth transfer. Back in August of 2011, Elizabeth Warren, the leftist running against liberal republican Scott Brown for the senate seat in Massachusetts, said, “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own.” In June I was arguing (as I often do) with a self-described “leftist” and long-time blogger at Townhall when he justified his plan for wealth redistribution by saying,”...not everything gained is an individual effort.” And of course just recently Barack Obama was singing the same tune when he said, in essence, that businesses and entrepreneurs really owe their success to government and others who “helped” them along the way. The Left thinks it has struck gold with this argument. Like my old friend’s “I just think people are more important (sniff)”argument, this latest strategy is designed to make the Left appear to be the party of virtue and generosity without ever having to confront reality and defend the policies they would impose on us. The ‘you-didn’t-get-there-on-your-own’ mantra is designed to justify progressive economic policies that redistribute wealth based on the contention that since the wealthy didn’t get there on their own they must “give back” to others. Here is the response I gave my leftist nemesis at TH who said, “...not everything gained is an individual effort.”

“Not everything gained by you is an individual effort either, but I don’t see you volunteering to divvy up your paycheck. Didn’t the bus driver get you to work? Don’t manufacturers provide the materials you use to teach? Didn’t the school provide the facilities you use? What about the gasoline companies that provided the fuel for the bus that got you to work? You couldn’t do what you do without all of these folks but when it comes time to get paid, your salary goes only to you and that’s how you like it.

Your answer to me will be: “The bus driver, the manufacturers, the school and the gas company all get compensated for what they do.” That’s right, they do. And so do all of the people who contribute when, for instance, Boeing builds a plane. The finance people, the engineers, the technicians, the carpet installers, the janitors – they all get paid for their efforts based upon how the free market values their services. That’s the beauty of the free market. It automatically understands how to assign a value to what any one individual contributes, because only a moron would argue that the value added by the designer of the plane is the same as the value added by the guy who sorts bolts or paints the fuselage.”

But hypocrisy, of course, is the natural consequence of relying on fallacious arguments.

The bottom line is this: If “fairness” is what the Left purports to value then the free market already rewards people for their contributions in a way that is much more objective and fair than government bureaucrats ever could hope to do. And of course all conservatives understand that since the wealthy in this nation pay the vast majority of the taxes they already do “give back” – big time. Rather than being taken advantage of, the poor and lower socioeconomic classes have long been benefitting at the expense of the middle and upper economic classes. So gee, it’s almost as if the whole ‘you-didn’t-get-there-on-your-own’ thing was just another sneaky way to transfer wealth from one group of Americans to another.

In the end I am always left struggling with the question of how much of the Left’s failure to grasp reality is innocent ignorance and how much can be attributed to a deliberate, devious strategy to advance the “progressive” agenda.

What do you think?