A great article: Victor Davis Hanson

“We are all getting poorer in hopes that a few won’t get richer.”

That’s about as clear as it can be stated. To many (including the president), it seems to be a higher priority to limit the wealth of the rich than to increase the wealth of the middle class and poor. As Hanson points out, the underlying assumption is that there is only so much wealth to go around and hence it must be equally shared. This is not true, as history has repeatedly demonstrated. Wealth is dynamic and best created by the ingenuity of free individuals and private enterprise collectively making individual decisions in their own self interest. All of this envy reminds me of a telling quote in the St. Petersburg Times a few years back:

“I see people a lot wealthier than me and a lot poorer than me and I know everyone is getting the same care. And for me, that’s as important as getting my own care.”

The statement was made by a woman in support of health care “reform.” It’s an astounding sentiment. She readily admits the most important goal of health reform is to make sure rich people don’t receive better care than her – and never mind the quality of her own care. If consumers were a group of joggers, her goal would be to slow down the fast runners, not improve the slow runners. We hear a lot about greed in politics. Corporate greed, the greed of the 80′s, greed on Wall Street, the greed of the rich, etc. We never hear about envy – which is destroying this country’s economic prosperity. Put it this way: if Paul Krugman’s entire economic and political philosophy were an automobile, you would open the hood and a see a little rat running on a wheel. The wheel would be called “greed” and the rat would be called “envy.”

Alexis de Tocqueville recognized this human instinct and the prominent role it might play in America’s future. If you read Democracy in America, you will find he was prophetic almost to a fault:

“The passion for equality penetrates on every side into men’s hearts, expands there, and fills them entirely. Tell them not that, by this blind surrender of themselves to an exclusive passion, they risk their dearest interests: they are deaf. Show them not freedom escaping from their grasp whilst they are looking another way: they are blind, or, rather, they can discern but one object to be desired in the universe.”