Wednesday, March 31, 2010


All of the current fashion regarding "spreading the wealth," "redistribution," and the notably gaseous "economic justice" overlooks one unavoidable truth: Human progress involves risks. The economic corrollary to this is that people who take risks that produce benfits to others should be compensated for doing so. This latter concept is not merely a principle of fundamental fairness, it is a pragmatic necessity as well. Why would anyone take fruitless risks, risks for which the rewards are subject to confiscation in the name of political ideology?

These facts give rise to two distinct types of wealth: that which requires someone to run risks to create, and that which does not. A redistributist may have an argument that it is not legitimate for a person to simply harvest resources that should be available to everyone, and amass a great fortune as a result. Compensating others, or the community in general for supplying the infrastructure, etc. to make such wealth possible seems reasonable. However, when a drug company risks millions to develop a drug which might never reach the market , or a venture capitalist supports the developer of some obscure technology that might benefit a great many people, or might lead to loss of the investment, those risk-takers should be entitled to retain the bounty of their risks. We seem to have realized this concept previously; we tax capital gains at a lower rate, and we allow patent protection to inventors. Conversely, we prescribe criminal sanctions for insider traders, who seek to capitalize on low risk transactions at the expense of innocent investors.

"Spreading the wealth" of someone who comes by such wealth as a result of political connections, exploitation of public resources or disproportionate depletion of common resources is far different than confiscating the legitimate gains of someone who through diligence and foresight profited where he might also have come away with nothing at all.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Two of the defining characteristics of leftist thought are 1.) the notion that all misfortune in the world is traceable to the bad charachter of someone, and 2.) that the value of words derives more from how they sound than what they mean.

Leftists are always eager to hunt down those responsible for any undesirable human condition, regardless of whether that condition results from natural disaster, unforeseen consequences of otherwise sound endeavors, or just plain bad luck. Leftists instinctively direct their gripes and complaints toward some flaw in someone's character--greed, or racism, or indifference. All form of human tragedy is avoidable in this view, if only the miscreants that cause it can be monitored securely by a benevolent government agency. Anthropogenic global warming? Why, how could there be any other kind?

Leftists also think that passing credit should be given for notions that sound good, regardless of whether reality confirms that assumption or not. "No human is illegal," "You can't hug a child with nuclear arms," "Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam," "Visualize World Peace," "Dissent is the highest form of Patiotism*," etc. Such vacant sloganeering does not lend itself to reasoned discourse, being so lacking in depth of thought. Leftists then fall back on predictable contingencies: sarcasm, ridicule and bad puns. The main problem with most leftists thought is that it's native habitat is destructive conjecture, rather than the messy and unavoidable challenges of the real world.

*depending on the object of the dissent, of course.