In response to Burr Deming's The Awesome Quality of Wealth
For the most part, I don't come across resentment of wealth. Not in public statements, not in private comments made by friends. Resentment of snobbery is another matter. The assumption that financial success is the measurable manifestation of moral superiority is irksome.
I resent those on the liberal side who are quick to cry racism, sexism, etc. But conservatives have a comparable cry: "liberals hate the wealthy!"
Their proof consists of:
Many liberals want to raise taxes on the wealthiest among us. Conservatives often regard this as a form of punishment. We all know that taxes have no other, more basic function.
Many liberals resent the massive raises, golden parachutes, and offshore accounts that some of the wealthy get or have, especially during a poor economy. Conservatives seem to consider this to be none of our business. We all know that how an individual or business chooses to spend its money has no impact on anyone else.
Many liberals resent the prevalence of money in politics, particularly in campaigning. Some conservatives do as well, but when they notice that liberals resent it, they seem to jump to the conclusion that liberals want to deny "free speech" to others. We all know that [redacted by Mr. Deming].
Most liberals support entitlements and the welfare state. Conservative conspiracy theorists, who seem more and more common and accepted, think that liberals or their leaders want to get and keep everyone on the public payroll so that no one is successful. We all know that this is the only reasonable conclusion.
- Some liberals do simply resent just how much the wealthy have in comparison to others. It is difficult, if not impossible, for them to justify that the average CEO in the Fortune 500 is paid 380 times what the average worker makes. Conservatives say that liberals are just envious. We all know from pop psychology that what we resent must be something that we deeply desire.
I have a budding entrepreneurial spirit. I want to become wealthy through honest means and without the government's direct assistance. But that doesn't mean that I am obligated to stay silent about which group is the best to tax, how much others make even during bad times, what they do with their money, how money is used in politics, the need for robust regulations and a sufficient safety net, and wage gaps.
My opinions on these matters do not mean that I hate or envy the wealthy. I hate excess and abuse--just like my traditionally conservative parents, who are no more enamored with the free market and big business than they are with big government.
Ryan's most notable public success can be witnessed at his own site, where the application of reason to the goal of ethical living effectively rules out excess and abuse.
Please visit Secular Ethics.
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The conservative lie that irks me the most is that liberals want to "punish the rich," which is concept conservatives invented and an idea that only ever crosses their minds. Liberals typically don't even think like that.
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