March 04, 2009

On the Road to Dystopia: The Theory

As Wall Street continues its long slow slide people are beginning to question if President Obama knows what he is doing. Does it make sense to roll out trillion dollar budgets, raise taxes, and legislate the federal takeover of health care, energy, and education when the economy is in crisis? In a word, Yes. B.HO knows exactly what he is doing. You don't drastically shift the direction of the nation by degrees as Clinton tried to do, you need to be bolder. You need to seize the moment, or crisis if you will, if you are going to join the ranks of the transformational presidents.

The term socialist has been kicked around a lot the last few weeks but I don't believe he is socialist in the normal sense of the word and the difference is probably splitting hairs for anyone not interested in political theory. What I am arguing is that Obama is a student of John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin who espouse the political theory of liberal egalitarianism. Not to say that we should be any less worried about our future here, what he is proposing is still a path to dystopia, but in his mind it is just a smarter, kinder, gentler form of socialism. The following is a piece written in 2001, long before anyone had heard of our president but it puts Mr. Obama's plans into perspective.

... Rawls and Dworkin defend injustice on the basis of the deficiencies of those who benefit from it. The mere fact that some people in a society own less property than others, they claim, is a good reason to try to equalize the difference between them. After all, a just government ought to treat everyone with equal consideration, and, they assert, doing so requires legislation aimed at the equalization of property. This economic egalitarianism goes far beyond the uncontroversial claim that people should have equal political and legal rights. Economic egalitarianism requires depriving the 86 percent of citizens who live above the poverty level of a substantial portion of their legally owned property in order to give it to the 14 percent who live below it.

The impassioned egalitarian rhetoric that asserts this supposed obligation cows many people into acquiescence. But no such obligation exists, and the appeal to it is absurd, because it requires the equalization of the property of rapists and their victims, welfare cheats and taxpayers, spendthrifts and savers. No reasonable person can believe that we are obliged to treat the moral and immoral, the prudent and imprudent, the law-abiding and the criminal with equal consideration. While we may have an obligation to help those who are poor through no fault of their own, it is absurd to suppose that if, as a result of bad choices, people find themselves below the poverty level, then it becomes the obligation of the government to help them by confiscating a considerable portion of the property of everyone else.

Read the whole thing here.

To be continued.....

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