The Dems have nothing like the Republican call to restore those American virtues, whose vitality is evident all across the country, from the immigrant store-keeper to Apple’s Steve Jobs––and embodied in the career and success of Mitt Romney. So class warfare, an idea as dead as phrenology, will fill the void. Appeals to envy and resentment of the successful go back a century, and trade on a primitive view of wealth as fixed, a pie that can be divided only so many ways. If your piece is bigger, mine must be smaller. Government power is then needed to re-cut and redistribute the slices so they’re “fair.”
But capitalism has enriched the world and lifted billions out of poverty because it creates wealth out of the endless capital of human ingenuity and hard work. The fairness of capitalism comes from the freedom and opportunity it gives to those with talent and virtue to improve their lot, no matter what their status or condition. It’s a dynamic system that promises not that everybody will become rich, something impossible in a flawed world of flawed human beings. But over time people will have a chance to strive for wealth and make the most of their abilities. If government is to have a role, it should be to make sure there are no impediments to this dynamic process, so that all have a chance to earn the rewards commensurate with their talents and virtues.
Obama and the Dems don’t understand the modern economy. They dislike its autonomy from government control, and the way it rewards talent and hard work, something anathema to radical egalitarians. To them, economic success can only be a consequence of class privilege and the government. Free people and their hard work and inventive creativity don’t expand the economy or create jobs, the government does. The fatcats who resist this truth are protecting their unfair success, and so the have-nots are justified in resenting them and demanding that the government use its power to interfere in the economy, take more and more wealth from its creators, and redistribute it more equally.
Of course, these dirigiste and redistributionist ideas have failed and are failing everywhere they’ve been tried, including in America. They breed dependence, kill incentives to strive for success, create the entitlement mentality, diminish individual autonomy and responsibility, enrich the politically connected, and eventually will kill the capitalist golden goose by strangling it in regulations, deficits, debt, and expanding entitlements. But what else does Obama have to get people to vote for him? He can’t run on $5 trillion in new debt, a new $2.6 trillion entitlement, a $716 billion raid on Medicare, a failed $1 trillion “stimulus,” crony “green” capitalism, bailing out the United Auto Workers, 8.3% unemployment, or 15% underemployment. He can’t run on nonexistent plans to rein in debt, control government spending, and reform metastasizing entitlements. All he has is the rhetoric of “fair share” and “you didn’t build that” to justify taking money from the productive so that it can be redistributed to political clients and cronies.
All these ideological zombies will be wandering around Charlotte next week, stumbling around under the slogan “Forward,” a truly Orwellian word for a party looking backward to the dead past.
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