Saturday, September 24, 2011

What Does Elizabeth Warren Owe?

An excellent example of the basic flaw in the progressive philosophy is the assumption that progressives have the moral authority to make decisions for us. Progressives, as they teach in the universities today, want to ensure that “collectivism” is the preferred form of society and that sacrifice is the highest moral value. With these assumptions in place, they assume the power to make people obey. To accomplish obedience, they have no problem castigating, humiliating and insulting anyone who does not seem to go along.

An excellent expression of this view was given recently by Elizabeth Warren who is considering a run for national office as Senator from the state of Massachusetts:

“I hear all this, you know: "Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever." No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn't have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory, and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

According to Elizabeth Warren, you owe your life and your money to society because someone forced taxpayers (including you) to pay for the roads to do business upon. You owe some of your profits to the government that forced parents to send children to government-run schools – some of whom you had to re-educate because of the abominable job government did of educating them. The government protects you against the “marauding bands” (except for the marauding band of the government) so you should pay forward to the next generation so the government can use your money to force the next kid to sacrifice too. In order to pay forward, you have to be force-fed the idea that we are one big efficient collective operating according to a social contract that someone else has forced upon you. All this good you did with your factory; well, God bless, go ahead, keep a hunk, but don’t forget; you are really a slave to Elizabeth Warren who has decided what your social contract will demand of you. And her virtue consists of what?

I call this flaw in the liberal ideology the "moral authority" fallacy. You see, in reality, we are each autonomous. We are adults with the responsibility to think for ourselves. This is because our lives are determined by the individual choices we make. Our successes, our failures, our pleasures and our pains are all determined by our volitional choices. We take credit for our chosen actions or we take the blame for them. No one else can be blamed for the bad we do and likewise no one else deserves the credit for the good we do. Each individual, in nature, is responsible for himself and no one has the ability, the right or the authority to decide for us. In fact, there has never been a valid argument that "justifies" "moral authority". Neither God nor the gun confer it.

Ms. Warren is saying, look at all the good that collectivism provides for you. You should be grateful for the government's actions and you should continue to give so the next generation can benefit. The problem is that Ms. Warren, as a government appointee, also holds the threat of force in her arsenal of persuasion. All the benefits of government are provided by force and they increase the government's ability to control us. For instance, the roads are used by the military for quick transport. They could be used against citizens. The schools indoctrinate children to the government view rather than teach marketable skills. The police and fire departments could easily be used against the citizens. In fact, citizens pay for these "benefits" to their detriment. There is no end to the "good" that the government can think up and there is no end to the sacrificing that it requires. Will they ever tell you when it is time to stop sacrificing? When it makes you pay more for schools, you have to adjust your life to a loss of income and you lose a little bit of your autonomy...while the schools get worse. Eventually, the number of things the government does for you are so numerous that you have no choices left to make for yourself. You've become a slave to the monster that keeps telling you how lucky you are.

Collectivists like Elizabeth Warren make a huge mistake when they attempt to brow beat us into obedience. They assume that their authority to criticize us has been bestowed upon them by means of their position. That's why they go to great lengths to muster as many university degrees as possible, write as many collectivist books as possible and do everything they can to convince people that their opinions are worthy of being heard. They become bitter after a time because people just won't accept their leadership. For some reason, to them, people are too stupid to realize that progressive professors are smarter than anyone else.

Elizabeth Warren has no right to tell people what they owe to society. She simply has no authority to do it. What gives her the right to appropriate that authority? Even in an election, we can't vote that authority to her because we vote for people who will uphold the Constitution not to enforce a government-defined social contract.

Apparently, Elizabeth Warren does not know that each voter is autonomous.  No one gave her the authority to decide how much the voter owes to society. And the idea that the government is providing all these "values" in an efficient manner is a lie. In fact, her argument is based on a twisted form of circular reasoning. It uses a falsely conceived collectivism to justify more collectivism. She is propagandizing for force in spite of the visible evidence that force is harming society. 

Elizabeth Warren is the kind of overbearing, hateful progressive who can only be appointed to positions in government. Few voters would willingly support her candidacy given her views. Most do not want to be punished for their success. Most feel a shudder of revulsion at the sight of a speaker who tells them they do not deserve anything they have worked for; that they owe their success to those who have not worked for it.

All progressive planners think they have the “brilliance” and intelligence to know what we should do. They think that collectivism is good; and so therefore, they must be good.  Their conclusion is that they, the advocates of sacrifice, are moral and everyone else, especially those whose work and intellect make life possible, are selfish and immoral. The truth is that Elizabeth Warren is not smart enough to tell us how to live, and the failures of the President’s policies are the clue to the failures of the coercive society they are building together. No one has the authority to decide anything for any other autonomous individual especially how much of his earnings he should give up.  

Ms. Warren pretends to be intelligent with impressive university degrees but, in fact, any thug is as smart. The thug at least realizes that all you need in order to make people give up their values is a gun pointed at them.  And Ms. Warren thinks that all you have to do to make people give up their values is to judge them as evil.  Her "gun" is nothing more than falsely-aimed ridicule...and no one has to listen to it.

As I wrote in an article on the morality of capitalism: "Socialist planners think one-dimensionally. First, they don’t realize that their plans (in the forms of regulations and decrees) violate the individual rights of people. They don’t realize that many of these people would prefer not to have their lives interfered with. Secondly, they think they can make a decision, let’s say to keep prices low (because low prices are good) and that this decision will make things better. But they don’t see the other dimension of the decision; they don't see the money losses to those whose prices they are manipulating. Once those losses are felt, both buyer and producer lose. The planner, in his infinite one-dimensionality, refuses to blame his own decision for causing the problem and decides to put profiteers in jail for not sacrificing their profits to the collective."

Elizabeth Warren ignores the fact that all production is a result of human intelligence and independence. Production would be impossible without the freedom of the businessperson to make money. Just as the President told Americans that under his health care plan, they could keep their insurance policies – knowing full well that under his plan, insurance companies would go out of business, Elizabeth Warren is telling businesspeople that they can keep “a hunk” of their profits – knowing full well that in her America, there would be no profits. She ignores the fact that those factories do not come about through the contributions of an enslaved collective but from the innovative mind that seeks to create value. And she ignores the fact that the businessperson builds that factory to make a profit; and he has a right to that profit; all of it.

The businessperson owes nothing to society. In fact, society owes him; it owes him the rationality that judges his products for the real value they bring. Customers don’t say, give us great products and then give us our money back. They say, “Thank you.” They make him rich because he provides value and deserves to be rich. In fact, progressive university professors like Elizabeth Warren owe that businessman their jobs…and they’ve done a poor job of giving value in return.

Morally speaking, the only people who owe anything to society are the non-productive; those people who skate along in life, criticizing and vilifying creative people and demanding that government expropriate more and more to pay for ridiculous programs that bring nothing but waste and fraud.

I would like to suggest that Elizabeth Warren withdraw her candidacy for the Senate, get a job in a factory and learn what it means to be productive…for the first time in her life. If she can qualify for such a job, she may be able to pay back society for the value that businesspeople have given her.

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