In his most recent letter, my dad shared some thoughts and asked a really interesting question that I’ve been pondering on for the past few of weeks. I decided to share and respond here, mainly so that I could link to some sites and graphs in my response that I found to be of interest, but also to ensure it’s legible!
Again, I’ve stumbled on an article today that mirrors so many of my thoughts. This is another article of the sort I was planning on trying to write at some point, but Dr. Philipsen has beaten me to it in excellent form.
Jonathan Rowe and David Bollier raise some really good thought-provoking questions in this article about economics, ‘the market’, and its insidious creep into every aspect of our lives. They ask, “Is everything for sale?” It touches on the need to create boundaries on the market’s “relentless creep”.
I heard a funny story from someone about an experience they had while talking to others about socialism. When the topic came up, an elderly woman expressed outrage due to her concern that, “The socialists want to take my kitchen table!”
A libertarian friend once explained his grievances towards socialism or—as he put it: “Taking a man’s property by threatening force if he did not comply in order to benefit those who did not work for it.” To him, socialism meant the theft of the fruits of his labor by taxation or force. He then proceeded to use an allegorical tale to animate his point that was essentially a rehash of The Little Red Hen. It went something like this:
Two men found themselves stranded on a desert island with no provisions. Realizing that they would need food, both struck out to survey the island to see what was available. One headed inland, while the other, David, decided to skirt the coast along the beach. After roaming for a day and a half, he found nothing to eat or of utility along the coast. The beaches of the island were truly devoid of anything that could be used for sustenance. Exhausted, and thirsty, he too realized that heading inland towards the center of the island was perhaps the best hope of finding food and fresh water after all.
In part 1 of this series, I touched on the opinion often pushed by advocates of capitalism that the poor are merely trying to take advantage of or ‘steal’ from the wealthy. This sentiment is used as the rationale for various arguments against any sort of public spending, taxation, welfare etc. It’s used to portray any sort of financial or social obligation not voluntarily or willingly fulfilled by an individual as theft.
Ben Shapiro talks about ‘framing the argument’ in this video while instructing the audience on how to debate ‘the left’. What’s amusing to me is that right after he tells them not to let ‘the left’ frame the argument in certain ways, he then uses the classic ‘framed’ argument of, “Why is it okay for you to steal other people’s money?”