Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are angry critics of free markets and rich people. They paint a bleak picture of America as a population of downtrodden, defeated people subjugated by billionaires and capitalism. The record is just the opposite, so one wonders why they and their supporters have this view of our world. The answer is that their anger is driven by envy and a desire to deprive successful people of the fruits of their success, a thing the envious have never achieved. Politicians exploit this primitive emotion for their own political ends which is the power to control us.
“Envy” is “to wish that you had a quality or possession that another person has”. In psychological terms, it refers to an emotion which “occurs when a person lacks another’s [perceived] superior quality, achievement, or possession and either desires it or wishes that the other lacked it“. All major religions condemn envy (as in one of Christianity’s seven deadly sins).
The Wikipedia article cites envy as a major source of unhappiness (“It begins with the almost frantic sense of emptiness inside oneself…”). It is a powerful human emotion and it has the potential to motivate one to harm those who are the object of one’s envy.
The most interesting aspect of envy is that it changes and diminishes with age as we are more accepting of who we are, except for one thing: money. It was the only envious trait that increased with age.
Politicians tap into envy for political ends. Politicians manipulate people to support policies which feed their primitive desire to strike down the rich and successful. This is why envy politics can be so destructive to society—it divides us rather than brings us together; it tears us down.
The leading Progressive presidential candidates are scrambling over each other to exploit envy. To make sure I was not exaggerating their positions, I just read all of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders’ policies. Almost every issue they addressed was based on envy.
The core of their Progressive beliefs is that the game is rigged in favor of the rich and biased against workers, women, people of color, veterans, LGBTQ+, native Americans, convicts, immigrants, tenants, homeowners, the poor, students, farmers, the sick, and the aged. I might have missed some interest groups.
The problem, they say, is greedy capitalists whose debt-fueled corporations produce shoddy, overpriced products, and exploit underpaid, overworked, abused, and mistreated workers. These capitalists, a mere 1% of the population, have a stranglehold on Washington and use their political power to grab 99% of the wealth and squeeze the other 99% of honest hardworking people who futilely struggle against this corrupt system. Capitalists, they say, don’t want you to make a decent living, get an education, receive good medical care, have good housing, have economic security in your old age, or live in a clean environment.
Their solution is that the government, through a vast river of social programs funded by taxing the rich, can cure these problems and create a just, fair economic and political system (which, obviously, isn’t capitalism). As a corollary, they wish to confiscate and redistribute the wealth of the corrupt and disgusting “ultra-rich”.
Here is a snippet from Bernie’s website:
For too long, these greedy corporate CEOs have rigged the tax code, killed market competition, and crushed the lives and power of workers and communities across America. Year after year we’ve seen wages slashed and thousands of workers laid off, all while the richest corporate CEOs pay themselves huge bonuses.
These people hate capitalism, entrepreneurs, successful corporations, and rich (i.e., successful) people. Every one of their policies assumes an evil strawman (capitalism, billionaires, corporations) and imposes draconian rules to control this “corrupt” behavior.
Everything they say about capitalism is wrong. Perhaps you might think this is an arrogant, absurd thing to say, but their analysis of society, the economy, and capitalism is based on falsehoods, statistical manipulation, incorrect historical analysis, and theories that have been proven wrong throughout mankind’s history. Their Progressive policies will destroy our dynamic economy and condemn us to stagnation and poverty.
It makes you question their motives especially when you examine the record of capitalism and free markets. It has only been in the past 200 of the 100,000 years or so of human history that we have escaped mass poverty. If you think about it, poverty has been the natural condition of mankind since we evolved large brains and opposing thumbs.
The magic that happened was what we call capitalism or the free market system: individual liberty, private property, free markets, free trade, capital, entrepreneurship, and tolerance. These forces literally rocketed us into prosperity.
It is a myth that poverty is caused by capitalism, billionaires, and corporations. They are the fount of progress. Wealth is created by entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs who start enterprises that succeed in the marketplace. Jobs didn’t become a billionaire because he forced us to buy iPhones.
It is also a myth that progress is confined to the 1%. The belief that inequality is the cause of poverty is a myth. The whole concept of inequality in a free market society is irrelevant. Everyone in a capitalist society has benefited, even those at the bottom. There would be nothing more destructive to our economic well-being than eliminating billionaires: those who have become successful by meeting the needs of consumers and who have accumulated capital that feeds growth, innovation, and well-being.
Progressive politicians would have you believe that they have the wisdom, knowledge, and ability to govern us and radically change society for the good. All they ask is the power to do that. They assume that we in the private sector are fallible human beings, more prone to error than success. Yet somehow, we are fallible but they aren’t. You would have to be a college professor to believe that.
Here are some things to ponder. There has never been a regime with the powers as vast as those demanded by our Progressive politicians that has eliminated poverty and “inequality”. There has never been a regime with the powers as vast as those demanded by our Progressive politicians that has not degenerated into some form of economic malaise or totalitarianism.
It is important to see Progressive politicians like Bernie and Elizabeth for what they are: angry, envious people. Theirs is a story repeated often in history to the detriment of mankind: a messianic utopian vision that can only be accomplished by the coercive power of government. The more power they have, the less freedom and prosperity we have. If you don’t believe that then it would be hypocritical to not crush your smart phone.
Reprinted from An Independent Mind.