The Party of Takers

America’s abundance was created not by public sacrifices to the common good, but by the productive genius of free men who pursued their own personal interests and the making of their own private fortunes. They did not starve the people to pay for America’s industrialization. They gave the people better jobs, higher wages, and cheaper goods with every new machine they invented, with every scientific discovery or technological advance — and thus the whole country was moving forward and profiting, not suffering, every step of the way.

-Ayn Rand

Capitalism is the moral system through which we as citizens are able to improve our lives and the lives of those we care about. It is the greatest of equalizers and the greatest system of rewarding ingenuity and long hours. Government can equalize but it does so in a way that forces equalization onto a market in a manner which does not coincide with reality. It happens around us constantly. We watch subsidies create false prices, we watch lending practices create false value and we watch citizens act as if they don’t need to be responsible, the government will cover their risks.

Capitalism is the great equalizer which puts your risk squarely on you. If you want to go out on a limb, so to speak, be prepared to catch yourself. As a result, fewer people who are ill-prepared to catch themselves will venture out on the limb. However, when statism commands that we all support the limb of the masses, it inevitably breaks and those occupying it care not that they were the ones responsible so long as someone else is holding the net.

In the world of capitalist limbs, you may venture onto it and you may be rewarded for your risk which moves you up the tree. You probably spent more time carefully planning your risk in a way which wouldn’t cripple you should it fail. The government will not be there to catch you so you should probably only risk what you can afford and not expect society to make up for your shortcomings.

Capitalism is the moral system which does not force my risk onto your wallet. It is the system which encourages independence, not dependence. It is the system which gives you an ability to better yourself by your own hand at your own ability.

Can the same be said for a “compassionate” government which attempts to provide opportunities? Does increasing dependence on subsidized living encourage innovation? Should I bother to improve my skills, expand my knowledge or be concerned that the risk I’m engaged in is too great for me to bare should I fail when I know I will not be responsible in the end? Is it moral for a government to demonize aspects of society for the so-called improvement of the collective? We take and take as if the pile is endless.

The concept of moving forward is often distorted today. For too many, the concept of forward equates to a larger statist role in the economy and in everyday life. We move forward, allegedly, to improve our lives by deteriorating the lives of those we envy. Hopefully we don’t deteriorate it too much or we won’t have a pile to keep taking from.

We used to have a mindset which enabled us to rise above the pettiness of class warfare. We used to believe that one class shouldn’t demonize another, we should simply work to move up in life if we so choose. If we choose not to or our circumstances don’t allow us to, it didn’t used to be someone else’s fault.

Government is a force for equalization, that is true. At some point, we will have succeeded in equally lowering standards for everyone as to ensure not a single person enjoys one advantage or luxury over another. If for some unknown reason, success still lingers, we can simply outlaw it.