by Brad Nelson
One of the biggest sins these days is to have wealth. Don’t bother telling anybody that you produced that wealth by working hard for it. All that matters is that you have it. By having it, you have more than someone else, which is a sin in the eyes of those who hold equality-of-outcome as the greatest value instead of freedom.
And it’s often assumed that to have wealth, you have committed a serious transgression. The Leftist narrative is that you have obtained it via exploiting others. If you have wealth, you are a bad guy. You are most likely a despoiler or oppressor. You are, to the Marxist mindset, taking what otherwise “the poor” would have.
Many people are very good capitalists in real life even though they reflexively vote Democrat and mouth the slogans of the Left. Many have built a business, own a nice house, a nice car, maybe a boat, membership at a posh club, kids, dog, wife, the whole works. And I begrudge people nothing who have legally obtained these things. In fact, I commend them, for when one takes part in wealth-production, one is helping to lift the entire society. Remember, our “poor” in American live a life equal to, or better than, the kings of just a century ago. A rising tide really does lift all ships.
But the Left does begrudge wealth. And from long experience of being harangued by Leftist busy-bodies, people who have been successful know that they are being political incorrect. They know they are under siege. They are taught in so many ways to feel guilty about their success instead of rightfully proud of it.
With enough of this guilting, you can turn people against themselves. Instead of spreading the message to others on how they, too, can live the American Dream, many who have been successful have given in to political correctness and have joined the chorus of those who denounce wealth. It ssems to be their way of gaining some kind of secular absolution.
But by doing so, they reinforce the Left’s simplistic vision of the world as being explainable as one class of people exploiting another. Large segments of society are thoroughly convinced of this these days. And this is sad because this has robbed them of the American Dream. They believe they can’t succeed. Their energy instead goes toward blaming others and supporting those politicians who promise to plunder “the rich” and hand out “free stuff.”
Odd as it may seem, many people who actually live the American Dream and take part in the wonders of the free market still think as Leftists or at least acquiesce to them (and vote for them). For many, being rich is a sin. “Being rich is bad” has been drummed into our heads now from all quarters. Being rich, as the left would have it, is the invented catch-all cause to explain the flaws of society much like a mother or father of old, in order to keep their kids in line, told them that the bogeyman would get them if they didn’t behave.
And at what level one becomes a part of “the rich” is rarely defined. The Left simply needs “the rich” as an ongoing scapegoat to fulfill their narrow worldview and to use for purposes of demagoguery. Should the Left need more scapegoats to blame and to milk for taxes, they can increase the total number of “the rich” at any time by continually lowering the definition of “rich.”
One of the greatest villains of the Left, and the supposed cause of the housing boom and bust of 2008, are rich CEOs and Wall Street executives. But the real villain was government intrusion into the free market. But don’t bother telling that to those who believe in the narrative that business and “rich people” were to blame. Don’t bother telling them that rich Wall Street executives are usually reliable Democrats. The rich are villains (never hard-working wealth producers) and the poor are victims (never lazy, criminal, or shiftless). That’s all some need to know and all they want to know.
Instead of stewing in the manufactured guilt of having worked hard and been successful, it would be much more useful and kind to educate people on how they, too, can take part in the American Dream. Instead of stoking envy or giving into the Left’s bitter narrative, it would be better to help others obtain the necessary skills in order to pursue their own dreams. It is no kindness to demagogue against “the rich.” If people do not believe that they can improve themselves, and instead believe that the deck is stacked against them, this will crush their hopes. People will tend to, as we see, channel too much of their energies into being a victim and thereby extorting entitlements out of people (which tends to crush wealth production and the standard of living for all).
Those who feel guilty about having achieved the American Dream should therefore think twice before dabbling in “social justice” or any other ideology that explains life via the simplistic formula of Oppressor Class vs. Victim Class. But rather than spreading the good news of capitalism, many capitulate to the guilt that is thrust upon them. They join the Left in denouncing “the rich” and thus try to absolve themselves from the guilt of being fairly well off themselves. Joining in this Marxist-inspired chorus against wealth and wealth producers is their way to gain earthly absolution from their supposed sins.
Guilt induced by honest achievement and hard work is misdirected. The normal state of humanity is poverty. It is not poverty that needs to be explained but wealth creation. And in our freedom-based, free-market world, wealth is created via hard work, risk, innovation, and technology. This is the new fact of life in a world that otherwise once depended upon the acquisition of wealth via plunder, exploitation, or conquest.
How ironic, then, that the so-called “Progressives” are actually taking us back to the regressive past when the primary way to accumulate wealth was to take it from others. And this is what the socialistic entitlement-based societies do. And those who opt for guilt instead of positively spreading the American Dream to others are complicit in the very destruction of that dream. • (744 views)