This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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Leftists Always Want You to Pick Up the Tab
According to the liberal political playbook, greed and self-centered behavior by the affluent are the reasons why life has supposedly become unbearable for middle-class Americans. If only society as a whole, the Left insists, would behave in a more humanitarian, compassionate, and most importantly altruistic manner. It is precisely such deceiving language of self-sacrifice that elevates hypocritical figures to the ivory tower of politics where they are eager to simultaneously virtue signal and spend your hard-earned money.
Short-term memory loss appears to be a common condition in contemporary politics. For example, it was not long time ago, when on the topic of wealth inequality, Democrat President Barack Obama said, “there’s only so much you can eat. There’s only so big a house you can have. There’s only so many nice trips you can take. I mean, it’s enough.”
Ironically the Obamas just purchased a $15 million, 7,000 square-foot mansion from the bastion of “unprivileged” folks on Martha’ Vineyard. The couple is also cashing in on lucrative book deals, virtue-signaling speaking tours. and neo-Gramscian Netflix projects. It seems that calls for wealth equality and altruism per Obama are seldom heard by the loudest advocates of socialism.
Often these self-proclaimed humanitarians begin their pursuit of vague social justice with words of love, compassion, and altruism. They always end up acting against them, or worse, sacrificing other people for these higher values. Altruism, after all, often imposes servitude on others with the figurative justification that one cannot make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.
In today’s victimhood culture, undefined needs are prioritized over achievements.
Furthermore, where there is individual sacrifice for the common good, there is also somebody collecting that sacrifice. When a service is provided to someone in the name of altruism, someone else is receiving that service.
Have you ever seen or heard of those who are the collectors? In other words, the forces represented by those who proclaim that you must live for the sake of others are usually people who are either part of the receiving apparatus or desiring to be the beneficiaries of your forced goodwill. Alas, those who insist that you to give up your rights for some ideal or in the name of the alleged common good are usually those who are eager to exert control over your rights.
Moral Calculations are Impossible Under Altruism
The definitions of altruism have emphasized the role of unselfishness as if selfish behavior is somehow insidious. We are all individuals, however, striving to maximize our own interests first.
For some odd reason, intellectuals within our modern society insist that the needs of others should come first regardless of the level of acomplishment. Consequently, in today’s victimhood culture, undefined needs instead of achievements are considered the barometer of one’s value. No wonder, therefore, that various political figures on the Left have realized that it is easy to acquire political power over others if the pursuit of such is disguised as loving kindness in the name of altruism.
Unfortunately, altruism always sets up unreasonably high standards for humanity. When the results of altruism as a philosophical contradiction inevitably fail to deliver, however, we seldom blame the original premise, but rather imperfect humans. Consequently, our actions need to be controlled further in a social laboratory lead by people like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, or Nicolas Maduro. Seldom do we dare to ask if the moral premise of forced common good is worth pursuing.
If you write a line of zeroes even with an unbelievable amount of force, it still amounts to nothing. This truism accurately reveals the emptiness of the phrase “for the common good.” Because we are not created equal in our abilities, why should a society forcibly punish those with abilities to raise the standard for others?
More importantly, should Bernie Sanders, for example, have the clout to evaluate which needs are more important than others? Does he possess a universal measure or benchmark of need that everyone else is unaware? Has he somehow cracked the mathematical methodology for optimal moral calculation? Of course not.
Instead, Bernie Sanders, out of all other liberal political leaders, apparently has a clear understanding of how altruism exacerbates the conflict between an individual’s self-interest and societal balance: It is implemented by preying on the sense of guilt and inadequacy in the more gullible among us.
How Altruists Spend Your Money
In 1776, Adam Smith articulated the economic foundations of self-interested behavior in his seminal work The Wealth of Nations. And although controversial author Ayn Rand laid the philosophical foundations of selfishness in all of her works, the way altruists spend your money has not been studied as carefully. Apparently, and to our demise, many automatically assume that as long as an entity is spending our tax money for presumed noble purposes, the results are automatically good and do not warrant any performance-based evaluation.
If you dare to question the efficacy of some altruistic, taxpayer-funded spending program, you might be instantly labeled a greedy sociopath or a capitalist narcissist. Most likely both.
In a 2004 interview, 1976 Nobel laureate and influential free- market economist Milton Friedman eloquently explained how people (including the omnipotent Leftist social planners) spend money:
- You spend your own money on yourself – In this case, you try to be most careful with the purchasing process by maximizing value and minimizing cost. After all, you had to sacrifice time (work) to earn the money.
- You spend your own money on someone else – For instance, assume you’re buying a birthday gift for a family member or best friend. You are not as careful with the content of the item, but still focus on minimizing cost. After all, you don’t get to enjoy that gift.
- You spend someone else’s money on yourself — You would not be very concerned about the cost because someone else had to earn that money. However, you do care about the quality and content of what you’re about to purchase.
- You spend someone else’s money on someone else – You’re not concerned one bit about the costs or the content because someone else made the the sacrifice and you won’t benefit from the purchased goods or services.
Altruists tend to ignore the first two methods and exclusively favor the others. Even more troublesome is that altruists forcefully take wealth from others while describing the process of theft as a noble and necessary part of civilized society created by John Locke’s social contract.
Anybody with a little bit of legal experience and knowledge would agree that a contract must be signed voluntarily to qualify as legitimate. Have you ever signed such a contract?
This critique of altruism does not argue that you should avoid helping others or be concerned about the well-being of others. The criticism is directed at those authoritarian altruists who force you to help others against your will. The detrimental dichotomy in altruism proposes a simple question: Do individuals produce equally or unequally? If the latter was true, then altruism’s fundamental premise would be revealed: punish the virtuous and better the individual.
Is that a moral and justifiable course of action to create a virtuous society? It seems that most presidential candidates on the Left think so. Bernie Sanders and his progressive SJW friends have realized that when great individuals cannot be led, they must lead the rest of the society to destroy or redefine what it means to be great.
Unfortunately, they’ve done a great job at it. There is one man, however, who strives everyday to make America great again. Sadly for the thugs and looters in the Democrat Party, he is doing a great job.