Confucius on Class Warfare

In a country well governed, poverty is something to be ashamed of. In a country badly governed, wealth is something to be ashamed of.

— Confucius

In a country well-governed, the government stays out of the economy — and all private affairs — and only punishes people who initiate physical force against others. By definition, everyone is free to achieve enough wealth to survive, and no wealth of any amount was achieved by force or fraud. (Charity and voluntary giving are not against the law, by the way. Government wealth transfers are.)

In a country badly governed, government has manipulated and rewarded people through government favors. Government rationalizes its unearned and unjust power by “shaming” the wealthy, the productive and successful — and rewarding or encouraging the unable, the unwilling and the lazy.

As a result of this government-sanctioned shaming, all wealth is now suspect. This isn’t the fault of wealth-making per se, and it isn’t the fault of those who achieved their wealth honestly and through effort. It’s the fault of the government, who creates widespread suspicion, even paranoia, through the attempt to keep people down and keep the government’s power strong. (In American terms, this is a bipartisan effort, evidenced by the fact that both parties have increased non-defense spending by the billions, and despite tough talk neither major political party ever has, or ever will, cut anything.)

There is no class warfare in a free society. Everyone is free to achieve and accumulate wealth to the best of his or her ability. Government does not play favorites and does not rig the results. Government simply arrests and prosecutes killers, thieves and cheats, and also upholds voluntary contracts among free individuals. Special interest pressure groups have no power, because a limited government will not listen to any of their appeals for handouts or special favors. Under the law, everyone is equal. Class, race, gender — none of this matters, not politically.

Contrast such a free society with what we have today. Decide for yourself if what we have is actually “freedom,” and if all the dysfunction is — in reality — the result of “too much” freedom.


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