Saturday, September 28, 2019

"You Didn't Build That!"

Some people build things. Other people do not know how to build anything. They shore up their sagging sense of self-respect by deconstructing what the first group has built.

On the one hand, it’s the Palestinian cause. Compare and contrast what Israel accomplished and what Palestinians accomplished. You might frame the reference in terms of before and after the founding of Israel. You might compare what Israel has accomplished over the past seven decades with what the Palestinians have accomplished.

Oh, the Palestinians have accomplished precisely nothing. In economic and political terms, they are a pathetic basket case. They have sacrificed generations of their children to a lost cause. Their sole contribution to world history has been Islamist terrorism, especially directed against Jews. They have kept the Nazi dream alive. 

For that a myriad of leftists, led by British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, have flocked to their cause.

Naturally, they believe that they are doing it in the name of their honor. Of the honor of their ancestors, the ones who accomplished nothing during the time when they inhabited what is now Israel.

The hoary rules of ancestor worship requires us to give all territories back to their first owners. Of course, the Israelites inhabited what is now called Israel long before there was a Muslim religion. But that does not count. Osama bin Laden wanted to give Andalusia back to the Moors… who owned it until the eleventh century. And some believe that there will be no justice on earth until the United States is returned to the indigenous peoples who inhabited it before the arrival of Hispanic conquistadors, French adventurers and British colonists.

The mere fact that these displaced European built a great country does not count. It’s the injustice and only the injustice that matters. 

As for what you have or now built, consider the rant offered by one Elizabeth Warren, to the effect that capitalists did not build anything. You didn’t build that, intoned the indigenous ranter. As you know, the phrase was first pronounced by Barack Obama. It’s an ego boost, nothing more or less. When your constituents have not built anything of consequence you must tear down or deconstruct what others have built. If not that, you must tell them that they did not really build it. 

Has anyone considered the psychic cost of tearing down pride?

Meantime, Obama and Warren wanted to say-- give them their due-- that no one could have built a great business without national infrastructure… which supposedly was bought by everyone.

Or else, by everyone’s taxes.

This would be a great argument if everyone were paying taxes. As it happens the people who built great businesses or even great shopping malls pay some very serious taxes to various governments. Nearly half the nation, those more inclined to vote for Obama or Warren, do not pay federal taxes.

Now, the American left has embraced socialism. They have found no better way to deconstruct the capitalist economy that others have built. They want to strangle it with regulations and with bureaucratic red tape. And they want to confiscate the wealth of those who have too much money, the better to redistribute it to the poor and disadvantaged. If property is theft, as an old philosopher once said, then those who have more are thieves, deserving of being dispossessed of their wealth.

Now, no one sympathizes with those who have amassed colossal fortunes and who are using said fortunes to promote leftist policies. And yet, when it comes to a wealth tax, the truth remains that France has been taxing wealth for quite some time now. It has produced economic stagnation and a chronic 9% unemployment rate. And then, the best and the brightest of France’s young people are decamping by the hundreds of thousands for more welcoming climes… like in Great Britain. 

Let’s also mention that the rich normally have their money invested in assets. If you choose to confiscate wealth they are going to be obliged to sell their assets. This will naturally bring down the value of the assets that everyone else owns, too. It feels good to confiscate wealth, but it turns out to be bad policy.

The other day two of the founders of Home Depot, Kenneth Langone and Bernie Marcus appeared on the Neil Cavuto Show to take socialists to school. (via Maggie’s Farm) If the nation votes for the Bernie Sanders variety of socialism-- which would also include the Elizabeth Warren school-- there will be no more Home Depots. The regulatory environment will stifle new entrepreneurs. 

Under the new plan there will be limitless promises but no wealth to fund the promises. Rather than allowing people to compete in the marketplace, to win or lose fairly, the new socialists want to make it impossible for anyone to build anything. Then, those who have not built anything of consequence will feel better about themselves. 

And, that’s what we really, really want. Isn’t it?


UbuMaccabee said...

Suffering is rarely the catalyst to wisdom. It just creates more suffering. But there is satisfaction in seeing stupid people suffer. Learn Mandarin quickly so you can be an asset for the new ruling class.

Anonymous said...

Nearly half the nation, those more inclined to vote for Obama or Warren, do not pay federal INCOME taxes. If they work, they certainly do pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.

hayek said...

Socialism will always be with us as envy and resentment are part of the human condition. Evidence of its abject failure is irrelevant to those afflicted.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

As for Social Security and Medicare taxes they are more contributions to a retirement account than a tax. Which is why I said Income Taxes.

Anonymous said...

Sean Hannity does not agree with you.

Anonymous said...

Ah, shuddup Anonymous, Israelis are known to be the best people on the face of this planet. Everything Stuart said about Palestinians is spot on regardless of whether you or Sean Hannity disagree.

Sam L. said...

Anon, just what are Sean Hannity's disagreements, and with whom?