Self-Hating Rich Man

Bill Gates is complaining that capitalism should be doing a better job of bridging the gap between rich and poor. (See “The Wall Street Journal,” front page 1-24-08).

Now what is more annoying than someone who benefits from capitalism suddenly, once achieving great wealth, now feeling not-so-good about capitalism? Gates can now join the ranks of Warren Buffet, the billionaire who stands side-by-side with Hillary Clinton and says rich people should be taxed more, or George Soros, who is obsessed with what he thinks is George W. Bush’s advancement of capitalism. Gates is a disappointment, because more than most other billionaires, he did a lot to advance the course of human progress while making a profit. If ever there was a case study for the principle that self-interested capitalism coincides with the advancement of everyone willing to think and work, then Gates is it. But now, in my eyes, Bill Gates is just another hack for the mixed economy: the “compromise” between the socialism that did everything possible to keep him from rising and the freedom and individual rights that are the moral and economic base of capitalism. I feel sad for the Gates who once was, and who might have been. My respect for him is gone.