Why Do Wealthy People Support Liberal Causes?
I have often asked myself why do so many wealthy people support liberal causes? This is the flip-side of the usual election-year frustration of the liberals with the working classes’ clinging to their guns and religion. In this presidential election year, as in 2008, the Democratic Party, who claim with less and less credibility to be the champions of the poor, have far more money to spend than the Republican Party, who are said to be the party of the greedy upper classes; how could this be?
The simple answer is this: wealthy liberals blatantly use social liberalism and big government regulation to protect their relative position in society. Big government regulation and taxation thwarts the economic mobility of those trying to move up, allowing the elites to remain elite, while still seeming pious for all their apparent efforts to help the little people.
Note that their idea of political action deals always with outcomes, never with principles: they see the federal government as a charitable organization, or a tool which they can use to reshape society. I’m not impugning motives-this is what they openly profess. Conservatives have an ideal government in mind, one that sticks to the principles of the Founders; liberals have an ideal society in mind, and they will tinker with the government until it creates it.
It’s not hard to find examples-wealthy liberals who fortify their positions with their Robin Hood policies are in the news every day. One we’re all sick of hearing about is multibillionaire investor Warren Buffet, who supports raising capital gains and dividend taxes, despite having made his fortune this way. While I respect Warren Buffett, and do not begrudge him his wealth and success, he makes a highly disingenuous case for some very destructive policies. Not only has Buffett made the moral argument that it is “fair” or just to impose an alternative minimum tax of 30% on millionaires, but he has misrepresented both the salary of his secretary (who has allowed herself to be enlisted for his and the president’s political purposes), and about the total percentage tax that he actually pays. What could explain such bizarre behavior from an octogenarian billionaire? Why would a self-made man want to punish success and reward failure?
The answer is that he is already a billionaire. Were he still climbing the ladder, rather than merely trying to maintain his vast wealth, he might have a different view of “fairness.” I would be curious to see what his views were decades ago. It is simply laughable, and deserving of ridicule, that fairness requires that we make an already highly progressive tax system even more progressive than it already is, rather than flattening the tax so that all pay the same portion of their wealth. No one even reasonably acquainted with the facts can maintain that our government doesn’t plunder the wealthy enough; it would require an ulterior motive for such a ludicrous belief.
Here's another example of limousine socialism: Goldman Sachs partners and the president of JP Morgan Chase, of which both institutions have veterans in the Obama administration, both gave strong initial support for the highly partisan, expensive and expansive Dodd-Frank regulation of the financial sector. Their banks are too big to fail: they can afford the roster of lawyers it takes to navigate the regulatory typhoon created by this legislation.
But it is much harder for their smaller competitors to afford these costs. Partners of major Wall Street law firms and the American Bar Association consistently support liberal politicians advocating additional regulation requiring more legal services. It is a universal observation of the philosophers that a nation with many laws is not a good nation, but it is also the universal observation of the lawyers that such a nation is ripe for devouring.
It is in their financial interest to create laws that the layman cannot understand or interpret. It’s not, of course, in the interest of the country—who else thinks it’s a good idea that we not know what we’re supposed to be doing?
In Florida, it is almost impossible for a 50 year old doctor or dentist from another state to get a license to practice. These license requirements are not for patients but are intended to protect existing professionals from competition, the very thing that would help patients by expanding their options and lowering prices.
Rich liberal environmentalists do not appreciate the irony when they propose gas miserly cars for the 99% but fly to environmental conferences in private jets like Al Gore or Barack Obama (in Air Force One, which costs six-figures per hour to run). They want to stop oil drilling and promote green technology with government subsidies to their political supporters in the industry. Few will publicly acknowledge, as Energy Secretary Chu has done, that the best way to increase the use of green technology is to increase the price of gas to $10!
The cost of their policies falls heavily on the poor, and the environmentalists urgently want to shift the blame for this onto greedy corporations and other bogeymen. At the same time, the environmentalists disavow the effectiveness of the market in letting price determine investment in green technology. It is not coincidental that developing countries put a low priority on the environment: they want to become rich enough to join the wealthy countries, who are meanwhile preaching environmentalism.
Politics of Resentment
Blaming others is so easy
Have you ever owned slaves? I haven’t. After years researching my ancestry in America and in Ireland going back to the mid-nineteenth century, I found no evidence that McLaughlins, Haggertys, Sullivans, McDonnells, Fitzgeralds, or any other branch of my family were slaveholders. Rather, many were near-slaves of British landlords. I feel no guilt about what happened to black slaves in America up to 1865, nor should I.
Neither do I feel any responsibility for discrimination against blacks in America during the 20th century. Catholics (which all my ancestors were) suffered from discrimination under British rule in Ireland until 1922. It continued until the 1980s or so, where the McLaughlin branch comes from in Ulster, but I don’t resent British people or Unionist protestants in Northern Ireland today, nor should I. It would only hurt me if I did.
That’s history - water under the bridge and over the dam. Virtually every race or ethnic group has suffered at one time or another. American blacks don’t have a monopoly on that. Some of my relatives here in America have suffered from discrimination against white males in the form of “Affirmative Action,” though it hasn’t been an obstacle for me that I’m aware of. I've written about all this in more depth here in a column titled "Heterosexual White Guy."
Growing up in greater Boston during the late 20th century, I was infused with resentment of the British. Rather than look in the mirror, my extended family routinely blamed them for whatever difficulties or lack of progress we perceived in ourselves. That resentment was quite readily transferred to Yankee Protestants even after Massachusetts government was virtually taken over by us Boston-Irish-Catholic-Democrats at almost every level and John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected president. Then it was transferred to “the rich” where it remains ubiquitous in today’s Democrat Party. It wasn’t rational, but that’s how it was among the people with whom I grew up, and I was infected.
Overcoming that was a long process and I’m finally rid of it, but I haven’t forgotten how it was to think and feel that way. It helps me understand the Democrat Party’s appeal as well as the Obama campaign’s reelection strategy. Both still beat the same drum while America circles the drain under their leadership.
It’s all so clear to me lately as, down in Florida, I watch the “Reverends” Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson parrot the same tired victim language along with their fellow race pimps Louis Farrakhan and the New Black Panthers. Blame and resentment are their stock-in-trade. “All our problems stem from white racism and exploitation by ‘the rich,’ not from our own behavior or our own choices.” It’s their mantra.
America is stuck because too many black Americans wallow in victimhood while millions of other Americans feel guilty being white. Together, they comprise Obama’s base. His campaign rode that base to victory in 2008 and is revving up to ride it again in 2012. Both the “Occupy” movement and the orchestrated outrage over the Trayvon Martin death may both be understood in that context.
The Obama campaign nearly went off the rails in 2008 when the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago released a DVD of sermons by Barack Obama’s spiritual mentor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. First picked up by ABC News, it then went viral. “The world is controlled by rich, white people” bellowed Wright from his pulpit as other blacks in his congregation stood and ritually chanted agreement. That was just one of a series of outrageous things this reactionary, race-mongering hypocrite spewed from his Chicago church. Though Obama earlier claimed he’d attended Wright’s church for twenty years, he subsequently claimed never to have heard any of that vile filth and was shocked when he learned about it.
If ABC and the rest of the Mainstream Media hadn’t helped Obama smooth over and then close the lid on this Pandora’s box of campaign-killing material - and if Senator John McCain hadn’t ordered his operatives not to use it against his opponent - much more would have come out and there wouldn’t be a President Obama.
When he was thirty, Obama led a demonstration at Harvard in support of Marxist Professor Derrick Bell, who wrote at the time: “The whole [classical] liberal worldview of private rights and public sovereignty mediated by the rule of law needed to be exploded." Bell believed the U.S. Constitution was racist and was reportedly invited to speak at Wright’s church. Obama was a true believer in all that too, but he’s been able to smooth-talk it over and mitigate political damage.
His lapdog U.S. media have given him a free pass up to now and are cooperating fully in Florida as the “Reverends” Jackson and Sharpton whip up another racial frenzy before all the facts are in.
Remember Sharpton and Tawana Brawley? Remember the Duke Lacrosse team? Remember Obama said the Cambridge Police “acted stupidly” when another of his black Harvard professors had a snit? When he said last week that, “If I had a son, he would look like Trayvon,” he was clearly implying that Martin was killed because he was black.
Remember, this is the Barack Obama who said: “White folks’ greed runs a world in need.” The president is in full campaign mode, stirring up resentment on one hand and pretending to transcend it on the other.
Or am I, like Obama’s grandmother, just thinking like a “typical white person”?
American Muslims who don't fit the Liberal Media Stereotype
When a group of us -- American Muslims -- went to New York City to voice the concerns of the silent majority and support the law enforcement there, we were confronted by the mainstream media's unabashed hostility.
I was surprised at how some of them practically harassed us, rather than wanting to know our opinions. They were argumentative and seemed to resent us for siding with the NYPD; they clearly had a highly suspicious attitude toward us Muslims, who were not falling in line with the pronouncements of those who echo the edict handed down from their local pulpit and did not represent those Muslims who prefer to represent themselves as perpetual victims.
In reality, a large majority of American Muslims want to live in peace and not be the bearers of some outdated Cold-War anti-American agenda. That silent majority, whose voices have been hijacked and misrepresented by Islamists, have no problem with law enforcement and have never been spied on or harassed by anyone. And even if they were vetted, one has to realize that at a time of war, if one has nothing to hide, these are the norms that under the rule of law need to be respected or observed. Organizations that are known lobbies of the Islamists' formula, like CAIR, MPAC, ISNA, NIAC, etc., promote themselves and claim to speak for that silent majority.
As a matter of fact, the only time I had two policemen come to my house was when an Islamist woman had sent them. I had told her, in the shopping center parking lot, not to beat up on her little girl and not to force her to wear hijab.
When I saw The Five on March 6, I was amazed at Bob Beckel's rejection of our group and message. "There were only 43 people, that was a complete set up, it was a public relations move, brining these guys," Beckel said with a dismissive attitude.
What this arbiter of political correctness is clearly unaware of is that his labels are irrelevant here and that he cannot use us to rationalize his weltanshauung. We were not set up, and we were not just hired extras. We are all educated and thinking people who will not be used by either Mr. Beckel or the hijackers of Islam in order to fit into a prefab social and ideological pigeonhole. Thanks to the U.S. Constitution, we are free to speak our minds in America and organize genuine grassroots organization that celebrates the diverse American Muslim community, and counters those very Islamists and their apologists who reject the heterogeneity of Muslims, rather than some runaway unilateral dominion run by elitist insiders.
I suggest that Mr. Beckel and the rest of the media who disagree with our position do some research on the crowd that was purportedly "set up by NYPD," as Beckel put it. Visit our site and read our biographies and get to know the real patriotic American Muslims.
If it is acceptable for Mr. Beckel to confront or take issue with the American ultra-conservative Christian establishment, then why are we as Muslims prohibited from arguing that very point in the Muslim community? Our question is: can't Muslims be progressives or intellectuals? Can't there be any secular, non-practicing, or liberal Muslims? Must we all be extremist radicals at war with the Western culture and way of life? Can't there be any gays among the Muslim men and women? Can't there be patriotic Muslims who are not totally submissive to or defined entirely by their religion, and who have a palpable appreciation for freedom, democracy, and the civil rule of law? And we should all go along with the propaganda war that has been perpetrated by the petro-funded Islamist organizations and their media supporters.
We have come to America from three different continents, 57 different countries, many different races of people, different languages, different cultures and historical backgrounds and many different sects of Islam. American Muslims are as diverse as American Christians are.
Muslims have come to America for the same reasons as other immigrants: economic prosperity and freedom. Many of us have fled the same radical Islamists who are now here with the same anti-American agendas, and this democracy has given them the power to speak.
American Muslims are Democrats, Republicans, or independents. They are mostly educated and fiercely independent, and no one can set them up. We came to America to get away from the Islamist dictatorships, and we now want to be left alone.
MO: Court strikes down proposed voter ID amendment: "A Cole County judge on Thursday struck down a proposed amendment to the Missouri Constitution that would have required voters to show photo identification at the polls. Cole County Circuit Judge Pat Joyce ruled that the summary that would have appeared on the ballot was 'insufficient and unfair' and pointed to two reasons for her ruling."
Reproduce or pay a tax: The next ObamaCare: "The Solicitor General (the government’s top lawyer) will argue that there really is a baby market with adoptions. That market is so pressing that people are forced to go overseas for babies. But the real problem is that low birth rates (below replacement level) mean fewer and fewer workers paying for those on Social Security and Medicare. Solution: penalize those of childbearing age (men and women) who have fewer than 2.1 children (replacement level)"
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