Tuesday, April 14, 2009

That 'Fairness' Bugaboo

By Smitty

Lane, over at Crooked Timber weighs in with a post entitled Reducing inequality: what's the problem?

Lane, the problem is that instead of driving for equality of opportunity, you play the standard class warfare cards. There is the graph showing that the (implicitly evil) 1% is getting richer, while everyone else's income stays flat over time.

Then you go on about fairness and the consequences of inequality. Standard tropes, both. We are next treated to the following strange analysis:
As Robert Frank has pointed out, super-high incomes also have led to an arms race in consumption, especially in housing. Spending among the rich has escalated dramatically, encouraging middle- and upper-middle-class households to take on more and more debt in order to keep pace.
Lane, are you a Calvinist? Am I so divinely "encouraged" by what Bill Gates does that I just can't stop until my tragic destiny has me looking like AIG? Way not to encourage free will, maturity, and responsibility there.

"So what should we do? Stay tuned."

Looking forward to a series of posts that argues for more government control. Because if people are not sheep, then they must be reprogrammed as such at all costs. Otherwise, the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx won't be happy.


  1. Sir, you are incredibly correct the newly empowered Left is not interested in equality of opportunity as much as they want the playing field to be 'level'. Of course a level playing field and fairness are extremely ambiguous and subjective which then gives them total control in pursuit of such things. Rush fan? 2112 is simply one of the best albums EVER.

  2. Smitty,

    Coincidentally wrote a little post myself today about how I wish I could purge the words "progressive", "social justice" and "fairness" from existence.

    Have you ever heard a hideously Leftist idea that didn't start (or at least contain) those accursed words?

  3. Plus, how can people be so stupid as to not realize that penalizing the successful hurts us all?

    Who consumes the most? Who invests the most? Who pays the most taxes? Who creates the most wealth? Who gives the most to philanthropic organizations?

    The WEALTHY, you Leftist simpletons.

  4. Lots of afterthoughts!

    leftcoastrebel - follow this link:


    if you want to see Democrats' idea of a level playing field.

    It's a good 'un...

  5. "the problem is that instead of driving for equality of opportunity, you play the standard class warfare cards."

    well i guess this is progress considering that not so long ago Cons were poo-pooing the equality issue altogether. I don't think that anyone has objected to equality of opportunity though most Cons will insist that there is no problem in this area either.
    It occurs to me that the cries of " class warfare" beside being typical knee-jerk reactions from the Right, is the height of sophistry. Seeing what has happened to the economy it is fair to say that if there is "class warfare" then that war has been waged by the precious " one percent" ( or as they like to call themselves " the most productive members of society") on the middle class. It is the interests of the " one percent" and the investor class that is accountable for the mess we are in.
    In a country where 70% of the GDP is consumer based, the consumers are the ones getting the shaft, leaving the " one percent" to pick up the consumer slack which,as we have seen, they are not doing( Hannity can go suck it with his slobbering defense of " the haves", or better put; his spirited defense of his self-interest).
    Trickle-Down economics does not work and only serves to fatten the fat cats. Recent increases in the number of ' one percenters" is due to technological advances and the creation of new markets.Of course this is a good thing and no-one would deny the benefit of capitalism in that respect.
    But when you've got a monetary imbalance the way we have now, something has got to give.
    The GOP to this point has defended the status quo.

    At the risk of starting something I shouldn't, I have a question for Smitty:
    You often quote the good book. What is your take on the passage where Jesus goes ballistic on the money lenders in the temple?
    And what do you make of "usury"?

  6. @Y4E,
    Nobody interprets Jesus like Jesus:
    And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.--John 2:16Over time, the purpose of the the Temple had been perverted. I suppose you could ask if there is a parallel between what had gone on in Jerusalem WRT the Jewish Law and what has gone on in Washington DC WRT the Constitution, but that is problematic on a variety of levels. Can't get much more out of it than "people don't scale well".
    And what do you make of "usury"?I make little indeed. My cousin owes me $160 from a few years ago. I'll be happy to see the principle--forget the interest.
    Less flippantly, as with gun violence and abortion (where is he going with this?) the situation where one is vulnerable to an oppressive lender is usually the fourth or fifth mistake in a litany of crappy decisions--gambling, drugs, rampant irresponsibility. I'm more keen on supporting long-term behavior improvement at a local level than I am on band-aid legislative fixes that perform well at the ballot box and not so much elsewhere.