At the Consent of the Government

‘There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody! You built a factory out there? Good for you! But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You built a factory, and it turned into something terrific or a great idea: God bless! Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.’

These are the words of Elizabeth Warren, running for the U.S. Senate in Massachusetts against Senator Scott Brown, who currently holds Ted Kennedy’s old seat.

These are the words of a genuine liberal, and of a bona fide socialist. She might say “keep a big hunk” of your income, which, strictly speaking, isn’t socialism. But the rest of her statements are an indication that nobody who has a great deal of money is morally entitled to it. And if Elizabeth Warren, Ted Kennedy or any other socialist claims even a right to some of your property, then you had better believe that (according to them) you have a right to NONE of it. Any property that you keep is at the behest of the socialist making the proclamation, and for only the time that he or she permits.

Under socialism, the products of your mind and efforts do not belong to you. This is an absolute position. Liberals try to split the difference by saying things like, “Well, so long as you make under $250,000 a year, you’re entitled to your money.” What such liberals are counting on you to ignore is the fact that they, and not you, are deciding what’s yours (or another’s) in the first place. They can claim to be moderate and middle of the road all they want. But to assert or imply that something you created and generated no longer belongs to you IS to assert an absolute principle. There’s nothing ‘centrist’ about it.

This is the error of “centrism.” Centrism is a refusal to take a stand on an absolute principle when others already have. The way that liberals get away with it is by saying, “Well, all that matters is that you’re not extreme.” If Obama wins in 2012, it will be because he convinced people that he’s reasonable while Republicans, supposedly advocates of unhampered capitalism, are ‘extreme’ and therefore wrong. But how is it not extreme for a politician to start deciding what portion of your income (e.g., below $250,000 a year) does belong to you, and what portion does not?

“Your money is mine, not yours,” is the implicit assertion behind every government transfer of wealth. This is true whether the transfer of wealth goes to Social Security, Medicare, aid to foreign governments, the Department of Education, corporate welfare, or even military action not authorized by the Constitution or not desired by a majority of the people. Once the government decides what is and isn’t yours, then all bets are off.

Candidate Elizabeth Warren has the unusual nerve and audacity to claim that there would be no private enterprise without the existence of government projects, such as roads. But what paid for those roads? Taxes, of course. And all taxes come from the private sector. Merely another two seconds of thought would lead Ms. Warren to recognize that without private sector money, there would be no roads. It’s true that without roads, most activities of society would not take place. But so what? If roads are really needed — and they certainly are — then the private sector would surely create and manage those roads, at a profit. The fact that the government steps in and does this for the private sector in no way means the government created those roads. The government had to take money from private sources in order to create those roads. Either way, without a private sector there are no roads — and no government. In fact, without a private, for-profit sector ‘ there is absolutely nothing.

And what’s this about a “social contract”? A “contract” is a voluntary agreement between two parties. Obligations (now in the trillions of dollars) imposed by governments are not voluntary. And the people forced to pay for this “contract” have little or no say in its purposes, content or execution. Ms. Warren’s kind of “contract” is the contract of a robber holding up someone at gunpoint. The robber sets the terms, and they’re most assuredly one-sided. The only difference is that the robber must run from the law, while the socialist in the U.S. Senate IS the law.

Perhaps the greatest evil of our age is that people who assert absolute principles, such as Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and many others, do so under the pretense of being “centrist,” which is supposed to mean reasonable. But you can rest assured that their principles are absolute — and anything but reasonable.