The American Right to Be Rich

I don’t know who first started the phrase ‘there’s two kinds of people …’, but it really gets on my nerves. It’s oversimplifying things, and what’s worse, it encourages people to generalize and broadbrush. And then these people are surprised when groups take such behavior further and begin acting like mobs, often racist and xenophobic in their mood.

Imagine that.

I start with that obnoxious twaddle, because it reflects a rather nasty sort of groupthink. And as happens all too often, that kind of mob mentality plays out in politics. It is the bane of democracy, when an emotional swell carries the people to a mad decision. And in the current climate, it’s that recurring poison of class warfare and hatred of success in others. In recent weeks we have seen public attacks of a most unreasonable vituperance against executives of public corporations, banks, and a wide range of successful individuals. While the targeting has been selective – no one seems to ask why it is reasonable to challenge AIG executives for receiving bonuses that they can prove they earned, while ignoring, say, the millions of dollars paid to Freddie Mac and Fannie executives. No one seems to consider it just a tad hypocritical for wealthy politicians like Ted Kennedy and Harry Reid to complain about the wealth of people who actually worked for their money.

And then there is our President, Barack Obama. Obama made $22 million dollars writing books, and somehow believes that qualifies him to tell the rest of us that we’re greedy. Madness is when people start telling us that this is an appropriate moral position, especially when the man telling us how bad it is to be rich, takes such pains to protect his own wealth and make sure his own comforts are provided. I wonder if he’s tweaked the thermometer at the White House down to the levels he told the rest of us to set, yet? Not likely.

Let’s be clear – the problem is not that Obama is rich, it’s that the President of the United States thinks its only OK for some people to be rich, and on that point he is not only wrong, but walking down a morally corrupt path. And he leads a mob of self-righteous morons, who neither comprehend nor care about the moral iniquity of their hatred.

I have a right to be rich. I am not rich, so far as money is concerned, but if I ever become rich, no one has the right to deny me my wealth. You have that same right, to have and hold what is your own, the same as every man. It has been played down as a mean source of motivation to say so, but the American Revolution was fought, in part, to protect wealth from being stolen by men who did nothing to earn it. ‘No taxation without representation’, at its heart, is defense of individual wealth. To pretend that our nation’s forefathers fought and died for the right to create progressive tax rates, set a maximum wage, or for politicians to harass honest individuals simply for personal success is to lie, and there’s no denying it.

That is not to say that I should be miserly, or count it a virtue if I am cold to the needs of others. But virtue comes from choice, just as does evil. What you choose to do defines you, and your worth comes from your deliberate effort. Someone who claims another person should pay his debt is of no account, and so too a man who pays for his dreams with the work and wealth of other people compelled to pay against their will is a thief. It is necessary for government to levy taxes to pay for those needs to which the public has agreed, and to meet those responsibilities specified in the Constitution, but it is theft to take money for advancing a personal agenda and the special interests of one party. If it was even marginally valid to argue morally against the cost of the war in Iraq, then it is many times more imperative to stand against crippling our children’s future in order to give ACORN and the AFL-CIO a stranglehold on industry and the election system. And for government to even hint that someone is morally wrong for financial success is so foul in spirit that it beggars the imagination to come up with strong enough condemnation.

I started by condemning the stratification of whole demographics, and now I return to it. While there are legitimate means of studying group dynamics and cultural mores at work influencing behavior and social interactions, it must be understood that every person is an individual, and their personal condition is the result of both environment and choice; to deny one force is to invalidate the conclusion of your analysis before it starts. Polarization of wealth-hate is in like fashion an exercise of fascism, because the government is commonly brought to bear on a targeted class through no offense of their character. In practice such actions are no different from racially-based or religious persecution, and history offers an appalling record on how deep and vicious such pogroms can become.

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