Author Archives: Robert

Diminution of Personal Responsibility

After reading an article by Doug Monroe, a senior editor at Creative Loafing (a lefty rag in Atlanta), I was reminded of the old Southern populism and classism that has recently been obscured by the “redness” that accompanied the election of G.W. Bush.

For well over a century, the South was dominated by the Democrat Party. Remember? You know…there was that whole secession thing, which resulted in war, followed by decades of legalized racial discrimination. Now, it might be a stretch, but one could argue that an impetus for the aforementioned mistreatment of the “non-white” population was, in part, to reduce competition by immorally using “free labor” and denigrating potential competitors. For just as slavery enriched the plantation owners (and their heirs) by eliminating labor costs, segregation during the Industrial Revolution prohibited Blacks (by and large) from accessing education and employment opportunities.

At this point, however, Blacks thrive in the South and in Atlanta in particular. The institutionalized racism has been virtually eradicated. That said though, the class-envy of Southern Democrats is alive and well, as Doug Monroe demagogically illustrates:

In other communities, the crent working for Wal-Mart in 2002. And Wal-Mart's numbers are way out of line when you bring other companies into the picture. The No. 2 company on the list, Publix, had only 734 children of employees on PeachCare. The average PeachCare recipient costs $1,274 a year. If you multiply that by Wal-Mart's 10,261, you get a total of more than $13 million in health care You agree that we shall not be liable to you or to any third party for any modification, suspension or discontinuance of the Web , or any part of portion thereof. costs borne by Georgia taxpayers.

First of all, notice that Mr. Monroe failed to include the total number of Click through the slideshow below for eight of the world’s best luxury hotels and spas offering packages, and wellness retreat centers devoted entirely to healthy, stress-relieving getaways. Publix employees in Georgia. Instead, he simply mentioned the number children benefiting from PeachCare. I suppose the actual ratio, as compared to that of Wal-Mart, was unimportant. Beyond that, the implication that Wal-Mart is obligated to insure its employees, and thereby forcing the state to use public funds for private medical care, is, in a word, ridiculous.

“That is a type of reverse welfare or corporate welfare,” says former Gov. Roy Barnes, now an attorney in Marietta. “I provide insurance for my employees. Why shouldn't [Wal-Mart] be providing it?”

Huh? With a statement like that, is there any wonder why Barnes was the first Democrat Governor to be defeated since Reconstruction?

A union that represents retail workers recently blasted Wal-Mart's deadbeat approach to employee health care at a state Capitol news conference. The United Food and Commercial Workers International is among the many unions whose organizing efforts have been swatted aside by the retail giant.

“The Wal-Mart model is to save as much money as it possibly can for the consumer, but it's saving money on the one hand and taking it out of- junk we didn't need in the first place.

Priceless…lefties salivating at the imagined possibility of the demise of a corporation that employs tens of thousands of “low skilled workers”, so that we can return to the bad-old-days of yesteryear, when healthcare was not even on the radar, unlike say, survival. Furthermore, small-town Southern life was fraught with wide-spread poverty and the subjugation of those not lucky enough to be born white and male. But even though I happen to be both white and male, I advocate progress and personal responsibility…despite my Southern heritage.


Why <span style="font-style:italic;">progressives</span> really aren’t

The so-called progressives of whom I speak are actually collectivists, in that they abhor individualism and individual rights, insofar as such are symbolic of self-reliance. Generally, they think in terms of all-for-one and one-for-all. What’s more, they’re not satisfied with a mutual and voluntary communal arraignment. No, self-styled progressives seek to use the police power of the state to coerce others—those who cherish personal responsibility and freedom from tyranny—to fund their utopian welfare state. There are many such neo-liberal voices; e.g. the usual suspects.

The problem with collectivist ideology—beyond being morally indefensible—is that it does not work in practice. Ultimately, it turns individuals into wards of the state, rather than creating a truly egalitarian society. As pboettke of The Austrian Economists puts it: “When the State oversteps its bounds and constrains or chooses for us, we loose the capacity to live a self-governing life.”

I’m actually an advocate of egalitarianism. That is, I favor full equality for everyone, with respect to individual rights and treatment under law. However, I adamantly oppose the forced equality of stuff, which utilizes wealth redistribution and other such tools that deplete liberty. Roderick T. Long explains it this way:

But to ignore or mask the violence upon which

socioeconomic legislation necessarily rests is to acquiesce in the unconscionable subordination and subjection that such violence embodies. It is to treat those subordinated and subjected as mere means to the ends of those doing the subordinating, and thus to assume a legitimate inequality in power and jurisdiction between the two groups. The libertarian revulsion against such arrogant presumption is ipso facto an egalitarian impulse. Those who feel no such revulsion should not expect their egalitarian credentials to pass unquestioned; they may revere equality in theory, but they fail to recognize it in practice.

Coercion is the means, but what are the ends of nbso progressives? Their purported goal is to achieve a classless society, where poverty is eradicated and—perhaps more importantly—the accumulation of wealth by individuals will cease. A strong centralized government—according to statists—is necessary to bring this to pass. Theoretically, state officials would be democratically elected and utterly selfless. But in practice, such a society inevitably devolves, resulting in two distinct and very unequal classes: the ruling elite and the impoverished masses. To be sure, there are exceptions. Some have slightly more resources (relatively speaking), but like the rest, they are subjects of the state; they are by no means free citizens.

A notable current example is the ironically named Peoples Republic of China, whose Marxian revolution has certainly not lived up to its billing. Such is the subject of a balanced analysis of China’s social experiment at Monthly Review.

The political apparatus that was used to destroy old inequalities had itself given rise to a new set of inequalities. The power of the state was supposed to be wielded in the interests of the working people, to be sure. But in fact, the subordinate working classes were at best to be the dependent beneficiaries of a paternalistic bureaucracy—not to mention that such hard-won benefits can be easily taken away as political circumstances may change, as recent developments in China have so clearly demonstrated.

In a similar vein, Eric points out that free people participating in free markets is a large part of the solution to the problems attendant to disparate socioeconomic classes.

In fact, this continuous characterization of upper, middle and lower class is part of the problem. Our economic system is one of the most classless in the world, although the imposition of socialist and quasi-socialist government programs is having the effect of stratifying the classes more and more firmly.

It would seem, then, that the goals of modern liberals (e.g. state run healthcare, individual transfer payments, increased government pensions, etc.) are actually regressive. For the motivation of America’s founders was to move away from tyranny and towards greater individual liberty and personal responsibility. Therefore, in light of numerous historical examples, true progress is exemplified by increased freedom for individuals, rather than its antithesis, which flows from collectivism.

[cross-posted at Eric’s Grumbles]


Robert: a thumbnail sketch

I, along with my co-contributors, recognize that liberty inheres to the generic viagra individual; liberty is not that which is granted by governments or benevolent rulers. It's as an individual that I think and act, with the full understanding that I, alone, am responsible for the consequences of my thoughts and actions. In light of that, it is incumbent upon me to cultivate a set of core principles—guided by ethics and morals—by which to govern my life. But don’t misunderstand, I’m not speaking of moralism, but rather morality. Among other things, that is what informs my world-view, my political philosophy, etc.

I’m not real fond of any of casino our major political parties, but I have, in the recent past, held my nose and

voted Republican. However, the way things look at present, I’m seriously thinking of voting for gridlock. It may be the best short-term solution to the problem of ever-evaporating individual liberties.

While I happen to be a Christian, I'm somewhat atypical. My beliefs are inconsistent with the religious right, as well as the religious left. In short, I’m not a proselytizer, so suffice it to say: my faith will rarely, if ever,

be the subject of my posts on this particular blog.

I’m happily divorced and the single father of three kids: Kelsey, Levi and Amaris. I’m a residential architect, primarily focusing on the various classical European styles; those of the 17th through the 19th centuries.

One more thing. I just want to emphasize the fact that I own my life…who owns you?

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