Upward Wealth Redistribution and Other Nutty Liberal Ideas

Another infuriated and not quite coherent liberal writes in to Dr. Michael Hurd the following:

Obama seeks to redistribute the wealth… upward. I understand you have reasons for your opinions. As a doctor you really do appeal to subjective emotion. Take the title of your article, “Rosie O’Donnell and the Terrorists She Loves.” Does she really love terrorists? This is the kind of libel that is acceptable and without liability. I’m fine with that but such sensationalism degrades professionalism in my view. I am flexible but will never allow myself to write some things because my principles prevent it. I just received my J.D.

Businesses can make you do things. They’re called private security contractors, and privatized forces will and have put down anti-capitalist and anti-western resistance. So there you go.

Dr. Hurd replies:

Redistribute wealth “upward”? What does that mean?

Under unhampered capitalism — not crony capitalism, like we have now, but unhampered capitalism — the standard of living rises for all. Jobs are continuously created, government intervention is nonexistent and the profit motive rules. Downturns are temporary and rare, not the norm (or even permanent) as they have now become, under intensive government regulation and redistribution.

Under Obama’s policy, or under the policy of any government interventionist, “upward wealth” occurs

only for people who benefit from the government payoffs, created by the portions of the private sector which are still productive and profitable. Consider the local economy of Washington D.C. That city is reportedly thriving, because government growth has been spectacular compared to the rest of the country due to all the tax money being poured into the federal government “operations.” Business owners — restaurant owners, store owners — in the D.C. area do better than other parts of the country, because of the resulting spending.

But government did not create this boom in the Washington area. The Washington area benefits from the sideways redistribution of wealth created by Obama and his pro-Big Government, pro-spending forces in Congress.

Sideways redistribution is inherently unjust. It requires the forced confiscation of income from some members of the population so that politically favored groups may have the money instead. “A rising tide lifts all boats” does not apply to the Obama philosophy of redistribution. Nor does it apply to other forms of crony capitalism, such as that of Republicans, who transfer money to favored groups, or who grant relief from regulations and laws to some favored groups but not to less politically popular others. None of this is unhampered capitalism. When it comes to productivity and fairness, you cannot beat unhampered capitalism. If only either major political party grasped what it was, much less was willing to unleash it.

As for my comments about Rosie O’Donnell, did you read my article in question? If you had, you would have seen me argue against O’Donnell’s insistence that terrorists such as Osama bin Laden (had he lived) be given due process under the law. People with her view claim to love the principle of due process more than they hate any particular criminal. That’s a valid argument when talking about someone who is a conventional criminal, even a violent one. But when a criminal is like a Hitler, or a bin Laden, and seeks to obliterate the very system of justice — even civilization itself — upon which that principle depends, what rights does such a war criminal actually have under the law? By that standard, the United States had no moral right to fight the Nazis, and for that matter no moral right to overthrow the British back in 1776.

I maintain that it’s quite fair to call someone who defends terrorists in this way a lover of terrorists. People with this view should not be allowed to get away with their evasion and denial. When you protect someone, you’re showing love and support for them. You can deny that’s what you’re doing, but it’s still what you’re doing. I don’t see what my being a “doctor” (the actual term is psychotherapist) has to do with that one way or the other. Is the argument I’m making made more or less true by the presence or absence of any particular credential? Nonsense. An argument is true or false based on the facts and reasons which support or refute it. I would think that as a J.D. you would know that.

I’m willing to bet that if you read the viewpoints of a doctor or psychotherapist whose views were consistent with yours, you’d have no problem at all with the fact of who’s saying them. In fact, I bet anything you’d tell your friends and associates, “I’ve found this really cool doctor. He argues in favor of the views I support. Read him!” I doubt very much you’d say, “This guy makes a lot of sense. I love what he has to say, and agree with every word of it. But he’s a doctor, and doctors shouldn’t express their opinions in this way. So don’t read him.” Get real, if only for a teeny tiny second of your life, will you?

As for your claim that businesses can “make” you do things, that’s absolutely and self-evidently false. No business can make you do anything. A business, by definition, is one who seeks voluntary, paying customers to purchase a product or service. Anyone who initiates force (or who defrauds you) is a criminal, in violation of the law. Government is absolutely needed to prosecute criminals, based on rational proof of their crimes, of course. I don’t know which “private security contractors” you’re referring to. Perhaps you mean those who legally or illegally make money at warfare. That’s a completely separate area. You can’t use the existence of war profiteers to justify hampering or outlawing legitimate, private and voluntary business. Nor can you use the government’s choice to hire for-profit companies to help fight a war be a reason to oppose unhampered capitalism on principle, as Obama does.

The only people with force and guns, aside from criminals, is the government. We must have a government, but we must have a government devoted exclusively to the right of the individual to be free of force. The moment government starts initiating force against one citizen for the sake of another — for the “common welfare” or any other rationalization — freedom flies out the window. That’s what you should be up in arms about; not the existence of people willing to please their customers — voluntarily and peacefully — for a profit. So there you go.