No Free Lunch, No Government Elves, and No Santa Claus

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What Obama said on Dec. 20 after criticizing Congress for not extending “temporary” unemployment insurance: “I think we’re a better country than that. We don’t abandon each other when times are tough.”

And what he did not say: “And I want you to put other people’s money where my mouth is.”

In the contradiction-laden mind of welfare state politicians, there is an undifferentiated MASS called WE as in WE are a COUNTRY. This supposed fact is a distortion of the reality. It ignores people’s individual wills and minds, treating them as mere details that are easily effaced so as to produce the all-important WE. To the extent that there is a WE the country, it is the product of extensive conditioning, political indoctrination, and coercion. By contrast, the people who live in the country called America actually only unite themselves voluntarily with other people partially and on terms that they select.

In one breath, demagogues tell us that this “WE” are ONE along some transcendent dimension (country, nationality, people). This is an emotional appeal. It is neither true nor is there any reason why it should be true or made to be true. In the next breath they tell us that we are not uniform along some other dimension (wealth, employment). For some other unstated reason we are supposed to be uniform along that dimension too.

Some of us are hurting, the demagogues say. The rest of us who are supposedly not hurting are supposed to feel guilty or responsible for the others, but since we supposedly don’t or supposedly fail to be charitable, yet another faction, the nobles in the government, acting with magnanimous nobility and generosity, must step in and not abandon these hurting people. Left unsaid by these demagogues who parade around as noble characters is that they must hurt the ones who are not hurting so as to help the ones that are hurting. In this way, they will bring about the uniformity that for some reason is supposed to be so desirable. They will mold individuals into the undifferentiated mass that they revere. According to other portions of their rhetoric, this is what freedom means and this is what a free country is all about.

The transcendent goal of equality is perfect for demagogues in a democracy because it never can be attained. There are always inequalities along many dimensions, and people always can imagine inequalities. The demagogues can therefore always create an agenda that appeals to voting blocs. But the goal of equality is also perfect for demagogues in non-democracies. They can strive for revolutions on the basis of real or perceived inequalities.

12:51 pm on December 21, 2013
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