November 21, 2007

The Entitlement Mindset of Rich and Poor

Marc Comtois

A relevant thought for the day from Claremont's Richard Reeb:

Entitlements ought to be understood only as goods or honors that we have earned, not something we think that we, or someone else, ought to have. That necessarily and unavoidably entails taking from one person or group and giving to another. The impolite word for that is theft. It impoverishes the victim and corrupts the beneficiary...

There is no point in being charitable toward what is truly not a charitable, but rather a greedy and a covetous, impulse, this political game called income redistribution. People who advocate it call themselves liberals (or progressives since liberalism got a bad name in the 1980s), but liberal people don’t demonstrate any moral virtue by forcibly taking someone else’s money instead of donating their own.

...the words of the Declaration of Independence clarify the matter: one is entitled only (though this is no small thing) to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, meaning that all must respect, and the government that we establish should secure, the free exercise of those rights.

The pursuit of happiness is not merely following one’s passions or inclinations but making the decisions and forming the habits which sustain one’s life, enhance one’s liberty and attain one’s happiness. None of this is easy, nor can it be, but it is easy to understand: one works to enrich oneself and not a king, aristocrat, dictator or bureaucrat, not to mention citizens who choose not to work and expect you to support them.

The entitlement mentality is so strong and pervasive that both the well off and the poor have fallen prey to it. In this democratic country, it has become a political creed that there is a permanent "underclass" that deserves to be supported. But no less a force are the wealthy farmers, businessmen and bureaucrats whose subsidies, write offs and sinecures fill their pockets and distort the marketplace.

Decent people are rightly critical of what they call "crazy" government programs that waste billions of taxpayers’ dollars. But the recipients of those giveaways are not crazy by any means, except perhaps crazy like a fox.

But maybe the foxes watching the Rhode Island hen house have finally out-foxed themselves.

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Here in Iowa the subsidies have made farmers a very reliable Democrat constituency.

Posted by: The Real Sporer at November 21, 2007 10:25 PM

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