Friday, April 5, 2013

The Worship of Need: The Path to Communism

In answer to a previous letter-to-the-editor by John Caffrey, Tax the Rich--which I replied to on-line--another letter writer, Barbara Mierisch, penned a nice rebuttal titled Capital Gains. Caffrey held that need should be the standard for tax policy. Mierisch responded forcefully: 

I’m concerned about “Tax the rich” (letter, Jan 16.), which suggests no one needs a home for $14 million or above while there are people who need food and clothing. It led me to wonder who actually are “the rich,” because everything is relative. 
Are they people with assets beyond what are basic to survival? Perhaps the state should establish a bureau that is more aggressive than the IRS, with the power to evaluate, seize and redistribute assets. 
It might start with a benchmark for determining who are “the rich,” and quickly work down to include the financially solvent in that category. After all, who needs a one-family home with three bedrooms and two baths when some people must live in government-subsidized three-room apartments? 
When we start evaluating and condemning the spending choices of people who have greater assets than what others think they should have, we are embarking on a slippery economic slope, comrades, which has been unsuccessfully traveled before. 
Barbara Mierisch, West Orange

I left the following supportive comments:

Bravo, Barbara Mierisch! Well said. 

We have indeed seen this before. I would only add that that which you do not name--Marxian communism--was not only unsuccessful, but ended in the deaths of at least tens of millions, and the impoverishment of hundreds of millions more.

Sadly, the ideological premises underlying John Caffrey's "Tax the Rich" letter is becoming ever more deeply entrenched in our society, and reaches straight to America's political top. A nation of individual rights and justice cannot survive in a culture that accepts the idea that need is a moral claim on the wealth of others. Any ideology that enshrines theft as a moral ideal will, if left unchecked, lead any society that accepts it to ruin and mass slaughter. The logic of the premise leaves room for no exceptions.

Related Reading:

Justice, not Need, is the Proper Standard for Government Tax Policy

The Left's Egalitarian Trap

Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand's Ideas Can End Big Government, by Yaron Brook and Don Watkins

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