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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?


  1. Excellent essay, CW. Well worth the wait!

    Y'know, I've thought a lot about this, too. It's funny, but Bat Ears's latest "you didn't get there on your own" crapola is just a reiteration of Hillary's "It takes a village" nonsense of a dozen years ago. Same idea, same mantra. Collectivism, plain and simple. Which is the pholosophical underpinning of socialism, of course.

    Interestingly enough, these and other slogans of the American Left are really just minor variations of the dogma espoused by Marx, Lenin and Engels in the leadup to the Russian revolution in 1917. A lot of it is virtually a verbatim regurgitation. Yet they vehemently deny any such observation, denying the truth once again (as is their natural inclination).

    1. Thanks, Brian. I agree – this latest effort is a corollary to “It takes a Village” and just another attempt to foster the notion that some people are entitled to the earnings of others. Romney’s handling of this is essential. If he does it right he can turn the spotlight on Obama’s socialist leanings. I hope he doesn’t blow it.

    2. Yeah. Romney's got to get off the dime, and start really driving these issues home. I have no idea what he's waiting for.

  2. Great Post CW, and thanks for stopping by site so often.

    The Walmart example about your neighbor is very interesting and does show her hypocrisy. I live in a small county in Colorado - about 20 thousand people and two main towns. The liberal town has a wall mart and every kind of fast food chain you can think of. The town is a miniature Boulder (Salida). Our town is mostly conservative and protects mom and pop shops and has no fast food chains or wall mart. Go Figure.

    1. Thanks, Patrick, and it’s my pleasure to come by and see what you’ve been writing about.

      Interesting that you would mention Boulder as I was just there last week. You won’t believe this coincidence – my friend/co-worker from my story above (“I just think people are more important”) was originally from Salida. I don’t think she would have minded a Wal-mart being there, but she would be the type to support a union in the store while still expecting it to keep the same low prices.

    2. We live in a small world. I actually hate going to Salida for anything now. Not that I hate Wal Mart, but the whole artsy district filled with oxygen thieves that do not want to work just turns me off.

    3. "Oxygen thieves." That's funny.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Dude, you removed your own comment?

      What happened? Did you violate your own blog policy?


    2. Hahaha! Well I wrote a reply to Patrick but didn't post it on the "reply" line, so I moved it. Silly, I know.

    3. BTW Brian, not that it really matters but I'm not a dude. You can still call me "dude" if you want to, though. I answer to most anything.

    4. Cool. I'll remember that going forward.

      Sorry 'bout that!

  4. CW;

    Very good post, right on the mark about the liberals.

    I have a VERY liberal relative who will never admit that a conservative could be right. They [the liberals] will keep moving the goalposts.

  5. Thank you. I think I have the same relative. Maybe we are related.

  6. To Jim - your comment went to my email but never posted. Same thing happened last time. I don't know why. Here it is:

    "Hmmmm, would that TH stick in the mud be anyone we know? Maybe someone we could for the sake of argument call CD?

    I recently did some calculating when I had he discussion with a Lib on the whole tax fairness thing and right in the middle of our exchange this whole debate broke out. My first point about fairness was after doing some calculating, adding up licenses, govt. fees, state and local taxes and all federal taxes; I pay 51% I pay 51% of my income to government. That means I work 26 weeks to pay for other peoples food stamps, GM to build VOLTs, GSA employees, Congressmen to have free healthcare for life (and NOT ObamaCare), Stimulus money being sent to China, free cell phones for Welfare recipients, etc... I'm going to add to that (because of this argument) building roads, and paying college professors (CD) just to name a few. This also means that I live like someone who earns 35% less then I do because of the tax bracket. I paid for my own college, I've never gotten or asked for a government loan or subsidy, and the government has never done anything to improve my business (in fact they've done much that has hurt it) and certainly has never done anything to help it.

    So my question is; Why am I so evil when I pay for all of that and why must I be punished by paying more?

    Just one last tid bit of what higher taxes do.
    My last company was doing quite well when we got hit with outrageous regulations and higher taxes. It was so bad that most small didn't survive that first hit. I had a guy who worked for me who has severe disabilities. He wasn't a great worker but had the heart and will that was unquestionably top of the heap. Dependable, prompt, never missed a day of work. I loved the guy. When the regulations hit, I had to cut people; all of them hurt to cut, but that's one I shed tears over. How do you tell someone like that you can't keep him?

    Liberals say that guys like me are cold hearted and greedy while their bleeding hearts and begging hands always demand more."

    1. Great comment and great points, Jim. You are spot on.

  7. Very well done, CW!! My compliments. Wasn't aware of your new post until now and am glad I decided to stroll by - well worth the time.

    Interestingly enough my husband person and I just had a discussion this weekend about 'businesses' and their 'purpose.' My bottom line: the purpose of a business is to generate profit. Period. (I do believe you said the same thing.) W/O profit, the business cannot be sustained for very long. So people need to grow up already (including the sniffler).

    Interestingly enough, I have been under the supervision of those who espouse the leftist/liberal clap trap and guess what? They didn't think twice about stepping on my neck to get ahead. Now that's hypocricy!!

    Oh, and the comments are spot-on here as well.

    1. Well Hi, Mrs. AL!

      Thank you and I’m happy you stopped by.

      The hypocrisy is stunning isn’t it? We could probably solve the problem of liberalism altogether if we could just force them to live according to the standards they demand of everyone else.

    2. Whaaaaaa......????

      I thought the purpose of business was to provide jobs to Joe Sixpack, pay exorbitant taxes to support government's enforcement of anti-business policies, and to provide pensions to people who retire early.

      C'mon... was I wrong?

    3. And while they're at it, let's have them plant a few money trees too.

  8. Hey CW

    A great read, as usual.

    As to your question about whether the liberal failure to grasp reality results from innocent ignorance or deliberate policy, I'd say a little of both. Probably your TH friend and many of those posters I've encountered at Huffington Post fall into the former category. They are ignorant, envious, or both. (I have yet to figure out why they experience such intense angst over corporate profits but so little over the earnings of their favorite pop singers.)

    Among the liberal intelligentsia, its more deliberate. When I first heard the Obama "you didn't build that" speech, it recalled a view I read in the modern progressive bible: A Theory of Justice by John Rawls. Although he builds an elaborate case for individual rights, he seems to take it all away when he turns to economics. He asks why do we distribute economic resources on the basis of merit? He contends that this is simply arbitrary, since no one is responsible for the personal characteristics or merits that he or she possesses. These depend, he argues, on our family, our schools, etc. (Sound eerily familiar?) Consequently, each person's merits or talents--as well as the material goods produced, are in some vague way shared by the community.

    Glad to "see" you are back at the keyboard.

    By the way, I forgot all about TH. Do you go there often? I have visited once in six months, and my security essentials took out a trojan. Have not been back since.

  9. I think you’re right, V.L. The motivations differ depending on whether one is the liberal intelligentsia or your basic democrat. As to their double standard for wealthy entertainers, that’s the kind of contradiction that reveals just how phony their motives are.

    Wow! That John Rawls is something. Let’s hope he never runs for president.

    TH? Yes, I’m having trouble weening myself off it. As nice as it is that everyone here pretty much agrees with me (and me with them), I feel the need for a good fight now and then. What can I say? I’m part Irish.

    Thanks for your kind words and your great comments. I REALLY enjoy your blog and the history you’ve been providing there.