Looting, Wealth and Freedom
At what point does the production of wealth create a moral obligation to be happy about having some of that wealth plundered by the “enlightened progressives?” For years, classical liberals have crafted sensible arguments for the sanctity of private property on moral, economic and practical grounds. These are ignore, no matter how sound they are. One reason I suspect they are ignored is that we are really rich now. Two thoughts on that.
- The classical liberal ideas from the Enlightenment and its predecessors (Spanish scholastic for example) were formulated at a time when nearly everyone in the world was poor, and suffered through a miserable existence. Not only did these ideas “win the day” for the most part, but allowing them to “win the day” led to precisely the amelioration of the worst suffering of mankind in a way that was unimaginable when these arguments were first crafted. If rejecting classical liberalism is done on the grounds of helping the poor, how can critics ignore this history, or worse yet, the “success” of non-liberal attempts to help the poor?
- Which leads me to my question. What is the “magic number” upon which the enlightened progressives argue that “I have enough stuff” (e.g. big enough TVs, enough vacations to Canada, etc.) and can justifiably have my property confiscated at the point of a luger in the name of a more just society? Surely if I am at the point of starvation the enlightened ones would argue that I have a right to someone else’s stuff. And surely if I am Bill Gates the looters claim that everyone else has a claim on my stuff. So there must be some sweet spot in between where I turn from leech to leeched. What is it? Who gets to make that call? Why? And what are the long term impacts for society of adhering to such a rule?
We’ll add to this discussion a great deal in the future, but this is perhaps best done in little bits.