I’ve had an interesting exchange on a discussion group on the Mother Jones website over the past few days, and it made me reflect on the thought processes of the Left. Don’t expect logic out of these people.
The article told us how Walmart is spending $7.6 billion per year buying back its own stock, and the purpose of this activity is to increase the share price. It could take that same $7.6 billion and give its 1.3 million low-wage workers a raise of $5.83 per hour. So to all these Leftists who like to run everyone else’s lives, this sounds like a dream come true – spread some wealth around. When I looked at all the comments on the article, they were filled with rants against profits, corporations, and rich people.
To those who haven’t figured it out, a key foundation of the belief system of the Left is class envy. And the more angry they are, the harder Left they are.
My comments tried to bring some reason into the debate. I pointed out how the profit motive is an integral part of the free market system. And the free market, throughout history, has been the great engine of prosperity for all. I used as an example the ridiculously high cost of hamburgers in Australia ($18), where they have a minimum wage of $16.88/hour. Whereupon a guy named Eric commented: “hm … cheap hamburgers, or human rights.”
You see, these people have to rationalize their envy because if they admitted to themselves that it was envy, they would have a hard time feeling good about themselves. So this Eric tells himself that when he tries to take profits from Walmart, he is battling for human rights. Here is the comment I wrote in response:
“Eric – I don’t understand your comment. Human rights means restraining the power of government to order us around. So when you say human rights, that means you don’t want the government compelling people what to do with their property. When you have a strong, authoritarian government that tells everyone what to do and meddles in the market, that’s when prices get driven up. My son voluntarily chose to go push carts at Walmart for $7.80 an hour. I believe in human rights, a.k.a. liberty, which means I’d rather the government keep their nose out of that arrangement. But some people are confused and think a big, powerful, ubiquitous government means more liberty. Duh, wake up people and think for yourselves. That doesn’t make sense.”
But Eric didn’t want to take his mind in that direction. He countered with some inane comparison to a psycho chaining someone to a bedpost, saying the government should be involved in freeing you. And that somehow relates to Walmart oppressing its workers. He doesn’t want to admit that Walmart’s workers are all free to quit on a moment’s notice – he prefers to think of them as oppressed. He comes up with this to justify his position that increased government power can mean more liberty. It makes absolutely no sense. So the question in my mind is, “What is driving Eric to choose to believe this?” He was surprised when I equated him with the establishment. He wants to think of himself as anti-establishment, but it’s the establishment that is driving this quest for more government power, because they have seats at the table of power. But they don’t share that seat with people like Eric, so what is driving Eric to these beliefs?
I believe that people like Eric honestly see themselves as opposing the establishment, even while they are promoting more power for the establishment. I believe they have simply been stirred up to anger, and that anger is based on envy. And in their anger, they are oblivious to the slow but steady erosion of the civil liberties they profess to uphold.
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