The liberal Democrats encourage class warfare between the rich and the poor. They treat these groups as though they were collective masses of humanity, poised against each other, ready to do battle. Their battle cry is Income Inequality, which claims that the Rich Mass steals from the Poor Mass and that only government can step in to equalize them by seizing wealth from The Rich and redistributing it to The Poor. The politicians pose as Robin Hoods. Their Sherwood Forest is the American Economy. But the story they tell is a lie, not because classes do not exist, but because they are a creation of big government. America was formed as a classless society, a meritocracy based on initiative, effort and perseverance in an atmosphere of free capitalism. America has no hereditary class structure, no nobility, aristocracy or landed gentry. Everyone has the free will to pursue chosen goals. But government is naturally self-interested. It feeds on those it governs in order to make its power grow. Thus, classes have gradually been introduced by Government, in order to change the nature of governmental power.
This nation is not divided into vast masses of Rich and Poor juxtaposed against each other. The rich are individual people. So are the poor. The rich are rich separately and independently of each other. So are the poor. Poverty is local. So is wealth. Notwithstanding the immense revenues of big corporations, it is people who produce and enjoy wealth. This is important to recognize and remember. There is a lesson in it. Despite the mantra that society is a vast collective, divided into smaller masses, the truth is that every individual is free to engage in producing wealth. Individual initiative, talent and energy are the basis of enterprise. It is the fuel of the engine that creates wealth. If people have vision and apply their talents to a purpose, they can acquire wealth–sometimes a great deal of it. Only government can interfere with the free exchange of ideas and goods. And it often does!
It is true that people’s circumstances differ, that the starting line is never equal. That’s the nature of the world. People are born into relative wealth or poverty. Initial circumstances create opportunities that differ. But circumstances change according to attitude, intelligence, talent, interest, education, effort, perseverance, and vision. These attributes are the energy that creates opportunities, which in turn create wealth. Opportunities are not a static commodity doled out to a preferred few. Opportunities are made by people with will, perception, and perseverance. Even adverse conditions can be overcome. Everyone can get an education. It takes personal responsibility; but anyone who goes to school, does his homework and pays attention will open up possibilities that ignorance prevents. Moreover, education tends to expand geometrically in an ongoing process of self-education. The captains of industry who built the foundations of wealth in America generally had limited academic education, but replaced this with great vision and energy. They created their own opportunities through their own initiative. This should make the issue of class moot.
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But most people do not seem to understand all of this, because they have been fed the notion that we are a collective society. They buy the mantra of class distinctions based on race and engage in endless misperceptions that minorities are being denied rights. No one denies the historical precedent. Many people have suffered from prejudice–blacks, Irish, Italians, Asians, immigrants in general, who had to struggle to assimilate into the melting pot culture of America.
This struggle still goes on in some minor ways, but the prejudice that once pervaded the nation and kept people down is now more an illusion than a reality. Black people, for example, have made enormous headway in every aspect of American life. What used to be a redress of legitimate grievances has become a cry for preferential treatment. While once minorities were denied opportunities, they now argue for greater welfare benefits. There is no inequality in the distribution of television sets or expensive sneakers, nor is there a legitimate demand for free health care or free food. Nothing is free. It is taken from some and given to others.
Moreover, such treatment is a disincentive to produce wealth. Welfare destroys motivation through chronic dependence. People are discouraged from work when they get free wealth. But, as Margaret Thatcher observed, Socialism no longer works when it runs out of other people’s money. The politicians know this and realize that without the continued production of wealth, they will have nothing to seize. Politicians practice self-interest. They are not statesmen, but snake-oil salesmen; and the poison they vend is the notion that without effort, one can live well. With this pitch, they buy votes to keep them in power. But Government would collapse without wealth to seize. Politicians know this and make deals with cronies in big business.
The real problem now is not income inequality between classes. It is that government itself has replaced the old class system with a Soviet modeled bureaucracy run by an oligarchy of politicians working in crony concert with huge business interests. This is not free capitalism. It is managed competition, a concept first envisioned by J. P. Morgan, who coined the term. It means that government can regulate who competes for wealth.
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But when government becomes so big and pervasive that it neutralizes individual initiative by collectivizing people, shunting them into false categories (minorities, collectives, interest groups), especially when it provides them with imagined entitlements, it has the power to withhold those entitlements with a flip of a switch. In its first hundred and fifty years, America disabused itself of notions of upper and lower classes, and in so doing elevated the great middle class to the highest standard of living in human history. Where once our nation was largely a meritocracy of individuals engaged in vigorous business, invention and achievement, it has now become a nation not of free capitalists who work for their own benefit and accomplishment, trading with each other freely without government interference in society, but a nation of different classes–one of dependence and impotence, the other of feudal corporatism.
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