January 7, 2014

On “income inequality”

— which even such supposedly fiscal-minded Republicans, most notably Paul Ryan, have conceded is concerning, I have but this to say: like minimum wage increase arguments, “income inequality” arguments are populist horse shit and, if we had a party that represented the ideals of this country, and wasn’t simply an opposition party solely for the purposes of being an opposition party and awaiting turns in public sentiment (and the paucity of choices) to take their turn at the helm of the unwieldy federal juggernaut, we would’ve buried this particular piece of leftist agitprop easily and from the start.

And the way to do that is unbelievably simple: by identifying what exactly it is that is being argued for. “Income inequality” — once this tactic of rejecting it rather than trying to prove a compassion that is not in any way truly tied to the notion of “fixing” income inequality, is adopted without reservation by a political movement unabashedly tied to free market capitalism — can then be described accurately and in no uncertain terms: it is nothing more than the rebranding of communism, dressed up in the language of rights and “equality” (though equality of outcome, not of opportunity, which is a radical egalitarianist formula that has never ever worked, the dessicated “fruits” from which litter history and even now hang from the dead trees of North Korean economics) for the purposes of making what is soul-crushing, government-enforced police state conformity (from which government workers and the public industries would naturally be exempt, some pigs being more equal than others, and besides, it takes a lot of work to engineer a societal overhaul that enforces uniform misery, for which those who are successful at producing such a workable transition deserve to be specially rewarded for all their intensive mental labor!) into a show of social compassion.

It is not.

Income inequality is wealth redistribution; it provides no incentive for hard work, for industry, for innovation; it is inherently anti-individualistic in that it seeks by diktat to factor out differences in risk, mental acuity, luck, perseverance, specialized skill sets, and most importantly, social value that corresponds to economic value — even as its staunches proponents find ways to adjust what comes to count as “inequality” by rewarding certain preferred industries over others that market forces have made more profitable and viable.

It is central planning and the dehumanizing of the individual. It is a plan by a ruling class to redefine people as controlled economic units — shuttling cubicle zombies — and by so doing, create and enforce homogeneity and remove the human drive from humanity, replacing these drives with resignation to subjugation and the enforced “equality” of people who, because they are different and because they are individuals, are inherently unequal in thousands of ways.

It is in fact this inherently inequality of people that drives liberty and industry. So the trick of the left has been to conflate equality as a condition of outcome with social justice, while demonizing the equality that is designed into our laws and meant to protect and nurture our liberty and pursuit of happiness, namely, equality before the law.

Up is down. Black is White. Chico truly is the Man.

And until we have representatives willing to brazenly and forcefully make the argument — instead of falling back into “us-too”-ism — we’ll continue this leftward drift.

Which, as you all know by now, I believe is by design.

But then, I’m a cynical cuss.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:33am

Comments (24)

  1. Isn’t it interesting that the alienation of man from himself which Marx claimed is caused by the division of labor is peculiarly brought about by the remnant threads of his thought put to work in our politics? Make of failure a virtue — but be certain to hide it in a cloak of mewling morality order that eventually the spoils of power will be yours!

  2. I demand a portion of Shaquille O’Neal’s income stream, because I can play basketball, too.

    Or rather, I could play basketball if the government would just give me a basketball court (and the staff to keep it running) and a few free basketballs. Just because he can play so much better than I is no reason that he should be making more.

    (Isn’t that how the argument goes?)

  3. Income inequality and poverty have nothing to do with each other, even though the former term is use to imply the latter.

    We could all be flat busted and be equal, or we could be drastically unequal but all still doing OK.

    As Jeff said, it’s populist horseshit and a pretext for accumulating ever more power.

  4. I anxiously await Steven’s insights on this matter. I’m sure it will be a hoot.

  5. We could all be flat busted and be equal, or we could be drastically unequal but all still doing OK.

    “Capitalism may be the unequal distribution of wealth, but socialism is the equal distribution of poverty.” — J.K. Galbraith

    “Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
    This is known as ‘bad luck’.” — R.A. Heinlein

  6. As Jeff said, it’s populist horseshit and a pretext for accumulating ever more power.

    Indeed, and there is no place on Earth where there is “income equality”, except, perhaps, a North Korean prison camp.

  7. Jeff wrote: And until we have representatives willing to brazenly and forcefully make the argument — instead of falling back into “us-too”-ism — we’ll continue this leftward drift.

    Indeed. But, until enough people [and a majority is not needed, as the history of America has shown repeatedly] re-embrace Virtue, this will not happen.

    The fault, Dear Jeff, lies not in our political stars, but in ourselves.

    We have — to varying extents — all allowed Leftist Thinking, that reasoning based on a distorted view of the World that forms the basis of our thoughts, to corrupt our Souls, to strip us of some of our Common Sense and Right Reason, to dilute our Moral Imaginations. The disease that is Leftist Thinking has been so invasive and insidious throughout our whole lives that none of us have been immune to it.

    We must find out what Virtue is and work every minute of every day to live it – especially when no one is looking. There must be a Great Awakening Of Virtue if there is to be any hope of efforts achieving success.

  8. Errata: last line should read:

    ‘…if there is to be any hope of our efforts achieving success.’

  9. I can’t wait to see the thrilling matches between the Oakland Okays and the Anaheim Averages, or to catch the amazing conclusion of America’s Got Talent Equivalent To Everyone Else’s.

    I’d just better make sure not to enjoy the spectacles too much, lest hellomynameisdianamoonglampers show up and increase the dosage on my mood stabilizers…

  10. Are the Seminoles going to have to change their name and mascot now? Where’s Bob Costas on this important matter?

  11. Squid, I loved the irony that she was played by Tammy Bruce…

  12. Indeed “Semi” is a very degrading slur as it implies less than whole. I would be ok with them changing their name to the Totalnoles or Wholenoles.

  13. The most obvious case if truly unjust “income inequality” exists among many of the Wall Street financier class, who generate billions in revenue by front-running the Federal Reserve. Addressing that “income inequality” requires balancing the federal budget, paying privately and foreign-held debt, and closing the Federal Reserve. So, that’s probably not the “income inequality” that they’re talking about.

  14. IIRC, Brookings discovered that the inequality owes to the poor not pursuing education, which would vault them into a higher income bracket. The social issues that cause the poor to stop trying to educate themselves is partly the fault of illegal immigration: Hispanics are not Tiger Moms to any degree, and even the ones who come here will likely stay in their unskilled, low-paying jobs — albeit ones that pay better than in Mexico. They are much more content to stay in the trailer home (still better than Mexico) and do not demand that their kids do well in school, stay in school, or refrain from reproducing until they get out of high school, let alone wait until marriage.

    Which, most of the immigrant couples you see? One or both of them left a spouse behind in the old country. Their kids likely do not all have the same parents, and I don’t mean Brady Bunch style — I mean a yours, mine, ours, whoever’s kind of thing. Utter chaos, and no, it’s not a particularly cohesive arrangement.

    Not to mention the under-the-table, lower wages that the immigrants are getting, and who knows whether those are being tallied in the surveys, etc.

  15. Everything was getting better until Obama came along.

  16. I still think it’s amazing that they’ll argue we need to increase food stamps by a trillion dollars, on account of we have the worst poverty in the world, when in fact their measure of poverty doesn’t count food stamps, meaning that the increased expenditures will have zero impact per their own measures.

    It’s a hell of a thing, once the do-gooders get some momentum…

  17. I noticed the Google doodle today links to Zora Neale Hurston. I find this remarkable, in that Hurston was cut out of her contemporary circles for not being down with the prevailing political movement that had blacks migrating from their long affiliation with Republicans and over to the Democrats with the New Deal and its jobs programs.

    But the development of federal jobs programs and welfare during the 1930s moved many African-American leaders to the big-government side. In 1951 Zora Hurston decried such selling out for temporary advantage: “Throughout the New Deal era the relief program was the biggest weapon ever placed in the hands of those who sought power and votes. . . . Dependent upon the Government for their daily bread, men gradually relaxed their watchfulness and submitted to the will of the ‘Little White Father,’ more or less. Once they had weakened that far, it was easy to go on and on voting for more relief, and leaving Government affairs in the hands of a few.”

    Credit to the Google Overlords for recognizing this woman of principle, even if they won’t go out of their way to highlight her role as one of the Original Hobbits, wrecking the Narrative decades before anyone ever heard of Sarah Palin.

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  19. “Income inequality” is horseshit. Calling it that is satisfying, but political success demands something more. appropriate it. Republicans like Ryan damage the cause by legitimizing it. A better response is to loudly call for more meaningful equality. Become champions of legitimate equality. Under the law, sure, but maybe something like what Mickey Kaus talks about here. Equality of respect, social equality, whatever you want to call it. Maybe something snappier.


    This will never be embraced by progressives because redistribution of income, taking income from those who have it, is their goal. But embracing meaningful equality strikes me as a promising approach to countering the fixation on income inequality, beyond heaping opprobrium on it. It may seem too obvious to note to a lot of conservatives, especially religious ones, but it’s an opportunity for the taking.

  20. Zora Neale Hurston was a fascinating person and very good author.

  21. Yeah. I’m looking forward to helping all three of my kids write essays about Ms. Hurston some future March.

  22. My kids wrote about Frederick Douglass. Awesome dude.

    No WEB DuBois essays at our haus.