Great. Osama bin Laden's son was killed, apparently, in Afghanistan. You know what this means. Nancy Pelosi and President Obama are going to want an investigation performed into why bin Laden was not read his Miranda rights before the bomb fell. But besides that, we all know if we had Cap and Trade and Universal Healthcare, none of this would have been necessary. After all, it's our refusal to implement these things that makes us force the radical Muslim world to hate us. We should be ashamed of ourselves.
I am, of course, being facetious.
The truth is, it was racial profiling. After all, a disproportionate number of Afghans have been killed in our war in Afghanistan, so obviously we're profiling. Bad racist America.
Anyway, I am currently re-reading Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This book takes place at a time when railroads and steel companies defined the nation. It has no car chases, no whodunit murder mysteries, no small town girl's sexual escapades in the big city, but what it does have is a startling resemblence to what is going on today in America. Ayn Rand's Objectivism is a philosophy embraced by those who believe in earning your way, that to be a benefit to society you must produce, that problems cannot be solved by heart alone, but by action. At the same time, it is reviled by those who would take your earnings to distribute them how they see fit, who would stunt your production, no matter the damage to your business or the economy as a whole, in the name of 'fairness' and 'competition' (understand, competition is good, but this is a false claim of competition), who would dictate and demand your charitable givings even if you are already a great philanthropist.
As I read the book again, I am struck by how many things hit home. The steel companies and railroads could be the financial institutions and auto companies of today. The media, in the novel, claims that every report on fact is just one man's opinion, therefore it is useless to report on facts. Hell, Chris Matthews could have said that one himself. But Atlas Shrugged also makes this observation about bureaucrats in Washington:
When you see that in order to produce, you need to
obtain permission from men who produce nothing -
When you see that money is flowing to those
who deal, not in goods, but in favors -
When you see that men get richer by graft and
by pull than by work, and your laws don’t
protect you against them, but protect
them against you -
When you see corruption being rewarded and
honesty becoming a self-sacrifice -
You may know that your society is doomed."
I wish I could have said this about NJ's government or the dealings in D.C. Under this administration and liberal thought, the very concept of earning has become evil. Profits are wrong. Companies are demonized - labelled "Big Business" so that you don't think there are actually people running them who have families to feed, who employ thousands who in turn can feed their families, who create wealth for their stockholders who in turn can feed their families, but so you think of them as giant, faceless, conglomerates that are simply out to rob you blind.
So the result, instead, is the government turning around and robbing these people blind. They take what the "rich" have earned and use it for their own purposes. They say that despite the fact that the top 1% of earners in this country already pay more than 40% of its taxes, it is not enough. The rich need to give us 50%, 60% or more of what they earn. And now, they must also subsidize nationalized healthcare. For what? So that we can pay for illegal immigrants who shouldn't even be here, but impose a terrible burden on our healthcare system? So that young healthy people who don't want health insurance can be forced to carry it? So that we can pay people to counsel the elderly (65 and older) how to die peacefully and stop being such a burden on our system?
Now, I know it's hard to look at this objectively, but I'm not one of these rich people. Looting them, as Rand would call it, would probably somehow end up benefitting me somewhere, so why would I defend them?
Because it's simply not right. When you take emotion out of it - whether it be anger at not having risen to the same level, envy of their wealth, or fear of the possibility of not being able to provide, you get this - plain and simple: theft. You are taking what one man or woman earned through their work, through the value placed on their particular skill (and remember, value in a free market system is based not so much on importance of the skill as it is on the scarcity of a skill - if we had 300 Million people who could play baseball at the level the pros play it, they'd make a hell of a lot less money - conversely, if there were only 100 teachers in the country, their salaries would skyrocket as demand and competition for their services increased), through their ability and giving it away to somebody else who has not earned it, but instead claims they are OWED it.
We have created a society over the past few decades where those who don't succeed, whether because they have not found the right opportunities, do not have the skills, or simply don't want to try, become the victims by pointing fingers and blaming everyone else. There is no personal accountability. The question "What am I doing or not doing that has kept me in this situation?" is never asked. We are content to sit back and wait for the handouts rather than getting up and trying to change our situations.
Now, for those of you who will try to claim that I've had it easy because I'm a white kid from the suburbs, well, I went to college alongside many, many minority students from urban areas(as well as lower income whites or suburban minorities, but I'm specifying the urban minorities to argue the racial advantages I know will be thrown in my face) who made their way there through hardwork and assistance programs. These were people who were not content to point the finger at someone else, but to earn their way.
Once school was over, I had to make it into the workforce based on merit. I had to work hard to prove myself to move up through the ranks, and I did. Yet, even with all that, I was eventually a victim of the bursting of the technology bubble. The company I worked for shut down the east coast offices and I was thrown into a job market with millions of other computer-related professionals at a time when NOBODY was hiring computer-related professionals.
Did I blame the system? The economy? Wall Street? The Government? No. I ended up switching careers. I did what I had to do to make the money I needed to get by. Frankly, I hated the job I took, but I did it to the best of my ability and watched for new oppurtinities. Never did I cry "poor me". Never did I say the rich should be giving me some of their money. Never did I say the government should be feeding me, clothing me, housing me. I didn't turn to drugs or alcohol to escape my problems. I persevered.
Later on, I found myself laid off again. This time, I began to build my own business without hesitation. That never came to fruition because I was made an offer by somebody who knew my work, but I was fully intending to DO SOMETHING to improve my situation rather than wait for somebody to do something FOR me.
Now, maybe I've just been lucky because I'm tall (a new study shows that someone 6' makes 1.5% more than his 5' 10" counterpart..and I'm 6' 2"!), but I like to think my success has been more a product of my hard work. And every day this administration looks to take more from those who produce and give more to those who do not. Of course, here is where I will be misunderstood. I'm not saying damn the poor - they shouldn't have healthcare, let them all get sick and die. No, of course not. What I'm saying is there are ways to make things more affordable and more avaiable without redistribution of wealth. For instance, in all this debate, has anyone even heard Tort reform mentioned? Of course not. Why? Because the legislature is made of lawyers and friends of lawyers who make lots and lots of money off malpractice suits. Tons of frivolous suits are brought to court every day which drive the premiums for malpractice insurance up, which drive the costs passed onto patients up. Here is a shining example of the bureaucrats trying to tell you the idea that they're doing all this for you, but unwilling to sacrifice the money that's lining THEIR pockets (that, legitimate claims aside, is made up of more people trying to take money rather than go out and make money).
So, we will take more money from the "rich". We will tax them. We will increase payroll taxes on business. And when we continue to lose jobs, we'll blame the companies for not making more money to create more jobs, but we'll continue to do everything we can to stifle their profits. Too often people think that companies exist because of the workers, that businesses owe this country jobs. The truth of the matter is, companies exist because somebody had an idea, the money to make that idea tangible, and a market that demanded the product. Could that company run without the workers? Most likely not, but those jobs are a by-product of the owner's desire to go into business to make a profit. At any time, that owner can decide that he or she no longer wishes to make money, take their jobs, and go home. He or she owes us NOTHING except compensation for the work we perform.
Eventually, if we continue to loot from the producers and give to the moochers, more and more people will give up on their efforts and wait for their handouts. Eventually, the producers will be broken in spirit, seeing that those who make no effort get the same thing they get for their countless hours of hard work. They will stop producing. This, folks, is socialism. This is what happens. There must be an incentive to produce and that incentive will never be to have your earnings stolen from you. This path leads to total, comprehensive, government control.
Is that a path you wish to take?
J.E. Braun is the author of Paranoia, a 9/11 survivor's tale. Jim survived 9/11 but his life did not . Follow one man's journey through post-traumatic stress as he attempts to rediscover what once made life worth living. 10% of profits will be donated to the Twin Towers Orphan Fund (www.ttof.org). For more information, visit www.jebraun.com.