two americas

“One America does the work, while another America reaps the reward, One America pays the taxes, while another America gets the tax breaks.” [CNN]

John Edwards believes in something he calls ‘two Americas’. It sounds suspiciously like the old class warfare arguments that won Mondale the election in 1984.

Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other -- bourgeoisie and proletariat. [the Communist Manifesto]

Are these the silver bullets that are going to defeat Bush in November? The tired, worn out, rhetoric of class struggle and populist conspiracy theories? Are we really going to be treated to the argument that there is a ruling class which controls and exploits labor and a worker class that is exploited, cheated, and does all the work?

Don't get me wrong, it's the argument I want to have. And at least it would be an honest argument to have in this election. But I fear Kerry is too nuanced to allow any such stark difference to highlight his liberal credentials and ruin his chance to be the ruler of the free world. As evidence of this Kerry spent his time, right before announcing Edwards as his running mate, shooting guns and claiming to believe life begins at conception.

The Democratic Party has responded to GW, 'the merciful and compassionate conservative', by moving further to the left. This is actually a good thing for Republicans overall because Americans are not generally in tune with way liberal's frame the problems of America nor the solutions they propose.

Envy, fear, and greed are the real motivators that are being invoked in Edward's 'two America's' speech. He is promoting egalitarianism, division, and (surprise) that if only the enlightened ones like himself are put in charge that all will be well and there will be no more unequalism.

  • Egalitarianism: the politics of envy and greed. "They have more than you. If you need it, you deserve it." The solution? Tax the rich, give to the poor. Which is just another way of saying, "From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs."
  • Division: the politics of fear. "It's the rich. The rich are holding you down. They are selfishly exploiting you. They have too much power. They are the cause of inequality. They are why you don't have as much as you could have.
  • Progressive Elite: the politics of the revolutionary vanguard. "Only my enlightened leadership can properly divide the spoils and bring peace, prosperity, and equality to this oppressed nation."

There are two America's. But it is two America's divided by ideology rather than by income.

This is the view, enshrined in today's universities, that every issue boils down to a power struggle between social groups determined by "race, class, and gender." The only answer, in this view, is for these allegedly oppressed social groups to rise up-under the guidance of the educated elite-and seize control of the economy. After all, if the individual is helpless to control his own fate, he must rely on "society" to provide for his needs and to protect him with a vast network of government controls. [Robert Tracinski]

Rich richer, poor poorer?

When someone says the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer they want you to believe that the rich are taking money from the poor. This is just not reality.

This claim is purely about relative equality, and has nothing to do with declining standards of living. In real terms, by any standard measurement, the poor in America are richer than they were 200 years ago, 50 years ago, or ten years ago. And yes, the rich are also richer.

Has the standard of living declined in real terms even with this widely touted 'widening income gap' as evidence of capitalist America's unfairness?

Democrats continue to try to motivate through greed and envy and promote policies that would embark us on vast social engineering projects based on their arbitrary interpretation of fairness and equality. They seem to be unable to acknowledge any limit to the power that should be exerted to enforce their interpretations of such fuzzy and impossible goals.

Posted by Eric Simonson at July 8, 2004 2:32 PM