Suppose you owned two cars while my neighbor owned none. What if, in a spirit of benevolence, I just took one of your cars out of your driveway and gave it to my (carless) neighbor without your permission? Even though I think I am being generous, I’d still be a thief, wouldn’t I?
You could give one of your cars to my neighbor if you liked. It’s really your decision to make, not mine. That’s the beauty of our property rights. But, it’s still so much easier for me to be generous with your property (than my own) since I didn’t have to work for yours.
Yet, this is exactly what the Obama administration is suggesting when it talks about ‘redistributing the wealth.’ Using government force to take from the “haves” and give to the “have nots” sounds reasonable and fair, but it’s nothing more than sugarcoated theft in a nutshell:
- At Loyola University in 1998, Barack Obama stated, “I actually believe in redistribution.”
- During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, Barack Obama famously told ‘Joe the Plumber’: “I think when you ‘spread the wealth around,’ it’s good for everybody.”
- During the September 2012 Democratic National Convention, Bill Clinton even used the ‘feel-good’ term of, “shared prosperity.”
- During September 2012, Barack Obama released a campaign ad that called for “economic patriotism.”
- During the October 3rd 2012 Presidential Debate, Barack Obama’s closing statement included, “making sure everybody’s getting their fair shot, their fair share.”
- During the October 11th 2012 Vice Presidential Debate, Joe Biden used the term, “level the playing field.”
Time and time again, the Obama administration uses the ‘catch’ phrases of, “redistribution”, “spreading the wealth around”, “shared prosperity”, “economic patriotism”, “fair shot”, “fair share”, and “leveling the playing field” to make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside. So, it is no wander so many Americans are easily seduced into surrendering their own property rights. While Obama points his finger at the “millionaires and billionaires,” his socialistic tactic of “redistribution” actually destroys the precious rights of every American.
You see, what’s worse than me stealing property from you (even to give to someone less fortunate) is when the government does it– because you now have not only lost your property, but you also lost your right to your own property, along with your right to appeal for help in protecting that property. And, once I give the government authority to take your property, it has the power to take mine as well. We both lose our rights.
Property (whether it be a car, land, home, savings, income, etc.) is an extension of one’s life, energy, and ingenuity. Your property is the fruit of your own labor, the creativity of your own hands. So, when the federal government confiscates it (for the sake of “spreading the wealth around”), it’s an attack on life, itself (no matter how good their intentions are). You are the one who worked for it. You have every right to enjoy it, and even share it if you like.
Yet, the “generous” Obama administration seems to think it’s their job to take it away from you at the blink of an eye. That’s why you and I should defend our property rights, no matter how well their “redistribution” scheme is justified.
Here are four things that happen when our If our property rights are not protected:
1. Our incentive to obtain and develop any more property is destroyed.
2. We are deprived of the fruits of our own labor.
3. Gangs could use force and violence to go about taking the good things that we worked hard to attain.
4. Our nation would more likely become a hand-to-mouth survival (third-world country) because accumulation of anything would invite an attack.
It’s no wonder our Founders went to great lengths to secure our property rights. Life and liberty are only secure when our property rights are also secured. Nowhere in their writings is there evidence that they believed in penalizing people for obtaining more wealth than others.
In fact, according to the Founders, one of the worst sins of the government was to exercise forceful taxing powers to take property from one group of people to give it to another.
Yet, we continue to hear President Obama saying things like, “it’s good to spread the wealth around.”
While it’s politically advantageous to proclaim that the government should to take from the “haves” to give to the “have nots,” this fallacy only serves to rob us ALL of our freedom to enjoy our own property. As soon a government starts sticking its nose in our property rights, things don’t usually go so well. Just look at what happened in Hungary in the 1940’s:
When the Communists came into power in Hungary, they confiscated large farms from their owners and gave them to the poor. Of course the poor were delighted at this redistribution. But, when the Communist leaders began seizing that land from the poor to use for communal farms, the poor began crying about their property “rights.” Anyone who protested too loudly not only lost their land, they also lost their lives.
The moment we authorize the government to “redistribute” other people’s wealth, is the moment we also authorize the government to meddle with EVERYBODY’s rights, including our own. That’s why I am adamantly opposed to “redistribution,” no matter how well it’s sugarcoated.
Instead of “redistributing the wealth”, why not return to our Founders’ ideas of compassion? In fact, Benjamin Franklin, who certainly began his life as a “have not,” had a lot to say about government welfare programs and public charities as being counterproductive to compassion. Franklin stated:
I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. In my youth I traveled much, and I observed in different countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.”
In a free society (without government confiscation of wealth), the amount of property people acquire will widely vary. That’s just how it is in a climate of freedom. Some will prosper more than others. This is because people have different abilities, interests, talents, and ambitions.
Yet, the entire principle of “freedom to prosper” is centered on the idea that man’s will to succeed (in a climate of liberty) results in the entire nation prospering together. The United States has proven this to be true. Even the poorest among us have more wealth than some of the wealthiest people in poor nations.
Unfortunately, the government handouts and entitlement programs have already begun to rot our society. Corruption spreads as the “entitlement mentality” expands, and the “spirit of volunteerism” dwindles. Many of us are now sitting and waiting for the Nanny State to fix everything.
Needless to say, this is exactly why the poor and oppressed should be cared for– by anybody BUT the federal government.
As a nation, we have never tolerated the suffering and starvation among our fellow humans. Americans have a long history of helping each other (and other nations) get through difficult times. But, until the past few decades, help was exclusively given by the private sector, churches, communities, or at the state levels.
We should have deep concern for the poor and the needy, no doubt. After all, it is a mandate from God to help the downtrodden. Yet, I believe we should return to formula for compassion the Founders used.
According the book: The Five Thousand Year Leap by Cleon Skousen, here is what the Founders’ writings suggested:
1. To not help the needy completely. Instead, help them to help themselves.
2. Give the poor the satisfaction of ‘earned achievement’ instead of rewarding them without achievement.
3. Allow the poor to climb the “gratitude ladder”-from tents to cabins, cabins to cottages, cottages to comfortable houses.
4. Where emergency help is provided, do not prolong it to the point where it becomes habitual.
5. Strictly enforce the scale of fixed responsibility. The first level of responsibility is with himself; the second is the family; then the church; next the community; finally the county, and in a disaster, the state. Under no circumstances is the federal government to become involved in public welfare. The Founders felt it would corrupt the government and also the poor.
Another mandate from God is: “Thou shall not steal”– which means God also values property rights of individuals. The best way for us to protect these rights is to elect leaders who value them as much as we do. If they fail to defend our rights, it’s time to vote them out the door.
It is no wander Americans are so weary of having such a benevolent leader like Barack Obama at the helm. Every American should feel uneasy when a politician is more concerned about “spreading the wealth around” than protecting the God-given rights of the individual.
On November 6th, we have the opportunity to stand up and defend these rights ourselves. If we choose to sit this election out, we are surrendering them over to those who think they know how to spend our own money better than we do.
The choice this November should be easy for any liberty-loving American.