Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Redistribution of Wealth: Something On Which Socialists and Criminals Agree

I don't know which is more disturbing -- that the New York Times roundly applauds ObamaCare because it is such a big move towards the leftist dream of "redistributing" the wealth or that the newspaper, because of its hatred of Ronald Reagan conservatism, is willing to make such bizarre distortions of history as this: "The bill that President Obama signed on Tuesday is the federal government’s biggest attack on economic inequality since inequality began rising more than three decades ago."

Oh, is that when "economic inequality" began rising? Forget the Industrial Revolution, slavery, serfdom, medieval feudalism and the age of the Pharaohs. No, the New York Times is informing us that "economic inequality" is a new phenomenon. Reagan started it.

But to the Times glee, that horrid era is coming to an end thanks to the glorious idealism and stubborn courage of Barack Obama.

Says the newspaper, "This fact helps explain why Mr. Obama was willing to spend so much political capital on the issue, even though it did not appear to be his top priority as a presidential candidate. Beyond the health reform’s effect on the medical system, it is the centerpiece of his deliberate effort to end what historians have called the age of Reagan."

In reality, of course, what Barack Obama wants to end is individual liberty, personal incentive, and responsibility. He interprets equality as sameness and, therefore, he aims to spread the wealth around in ways that destroy the free market and makes everyone both the ward and the servant of government. Redistribute the wealth. Take it from those who have (even if they've earned it through industriousness, talent and sacrifice) and give it to those who have not (even if their lack is due to unwise habits, lack of proficiency or sloth).

And don't be afraid to take it by force if need be. Use all the powers of the coercive State and get it done.

This is the attitude of the criminal. For he too believes in the redistribution of wealth -- and he too is willing to use force.

In times past, both of these schemes (socialism and theft) were regarded as loathsome by all of Western civilization. But we're living in a new world nowadays. And so, even as the State confiscates more of its citizens' property, it senses a compatible spirit with the crooks from the street.

Case in point?

Geneviève Denisty, a Belgian judge, has recently scolded a businessman for leaving a crime-ridden neighborhood even though he had three expensive cars stolen there and was violently kidnapped by armed raiders as his family looked on in horror. In moving away, the judge told him he was acting "unreasonably." In fact, the judge lectured him that the basic fault behind these crimes was his! "It is perhaps not sensible to draw attention to oneself by driving a Jaguar and living in a big house, making an ostentatious display of one's wealth in a poor and damaged region like Charleroi."

Get the idea? The criminals are justified. They were engaging in a little coercive redistribution of wealth of their own. No, as the sophisticated Justice Denisty observes, the foundational felony here is Laurent's. After all, it was he who spent his money in such selfish and unsocial ways, provoking envy among the poor thugs of the Charleroi. How could they be to blame for what happened?

However, as remarkable and troubling as Justice Denisty's ruling is, it only points to where socialism with its redistribution of wealth is heading. Sure, she had the gall to censure Laurent over the kind of car he drove, the kind of house he lived in, even punishing him for moving to another area of the city. But, at this juncture, the judge only gave him guidelines for his lifestyle -- she didn't take away his livelihood itself.

Not yet.

But leftists know full well that it's a pretty small distance from "Should" to "Must." And with what's happening with the U.S. government's takeover of banks, the auto industry, health care and who knows what's next -- not to mention that these massive redistribution of wealth schemes are being praised by the mainstream media -- that step is already well underway.