Inequality: Locomotive of Progress
Throughout the history of civilization people have been dreaming about a perfect world: full employment, fair distribution of wealth, full satisfaction of material and intellectual needs, and equality—only to discover, to their disappointment, that this utopian system does not exist on this side of the grave.
Given President Obama’s political persuasion, his obsession with inequality should surprise no one. In numerous speeches he has emphasized the alleged dangers of inequality, including his 2012 State of the Union Address, where he elevated the subject into “the defining issue of our time…. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important.” Or, as he recently declared, “The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream.” He has never defined his own interpretation of equality or offered his vision of the American dream.
But to someone who had firsthand experience with Marxism-Leninism and is able to decipher the genuine meaning of the president’s words, the message is loud and clear: in order to preserve the American dream we have to take from the rich and give to everybody else. It is that simple. Unfortunately, Obama’s historical memories do not seem to include the lessons of his Soviet ideological predecessors. How did this magic economic formula work out for them?
To sell the ideology, President Obama and his Democrat supporters insist they have no intention of creating an egalitarian society; they just want to reduce the gap between rich and poor. The elusive meaning of the term “reduce,” however, leaves it open to endless interpretation, especially since they have failed to express their concept in numbers. Should the gap be a thousandfold, a hundredfold, tenfold—where does it stop? Furthermore, whether we shrink the gap a thousandfold or tenfold does not change the philosophical argument. The truth is that as long as there is a gap at all, the Left will try to shrink it down to meet its ultimate objective, so unambiguously expressed in the communist slogan of the Soviet Union: “Economic Equality and Justice for All.”
Economic equality and justice sound so appealing that true believers do not even notice they are mutually exclusive because economic equality is in itself an intrinsically unjust concept. The source of all wealth is the product of man’s God-given ability to innovate. This ability has not been distributed equally. As Aristotle observed 2,400 years ago, “The worst form of inequality is to make unequal things equal.” If society equates the extraordinary contributions of great innovators such as Thomas Edison and Steve Jobs with those of millions of individuals not so gifted and talented, the enormous upward mobility of the last 200 years will immediately cease. Freedom enables people to use their ingenuity to generate wealth, whereas coerced economic equality suppresses the very freedom required to innovate and begets poverty.
This is the reason the magical distribution formula did not work for the Bolsheviks and will not work for the contemporary proponents of the egalitarian dream; liberals, social justice supporters, social democrats, and a few remaining communists, who refused to accept the immutable fact that freedom, inequality, hard work and wealth are interdependent. Capitalism, which embraces all these qualities, created more overall wealth during the last 200 years than was created over the preceding 7,000 years of human civilization. Capitalism elevated the lumpen proletarians (poor laborers), who, according to Karl Marx, had “nothing to lose but their chains,” into a bourgeoisie or middle class, and in doing so, materialized the American Dream.
The president’s policies, such as the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank Act, and new environmental regulations, are supposedly aimed at addressing the “fundamental threat to the American dream.” But regardless of the positive spin Obama uses to sell these policies, they are not about freedom and creation of wealth, which is capitalism; they are about suppression of freedom and redistribution of wealth, which is socialism. Passed over by the public and barely debated in the media, “the defining issue of our time” speech was in fact Obama’s mission statement declaring his strategic imperative: economic equality via distribution of wealth.
In his quest for the egalitarian dream the president may choose to ignore the millennia of Aristotle’s reality, but he cannot change it. Inequality emanating from free enterprise is the ultimate expression of freedom and is the locomotive of progress. It gives poor, rich, and everyone in between something to strive for.
This powerful locomotive has been pulling our economic wagon from the Industrial Revolution through modern-day free-market capitalism toward what Alexander Hamilton described as “Greater perfection and happiness than mankind has yet seen.”
Paradoxically, the Founding Fathers and President Obama both aspired to equality. The Founding Fathers envisioned equality in liberty, while our president is driving the country into equality in poverty.
About the Author:
Alexander G. Markovsky is a Russian émigré. He holds degrees in economics and political science from the University of Marxism-Leninism and MS in structural engineering from Moscow University. He resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter, where he owns a consulting company specialized in management of large international projects.
Alexander G. Markovsky is a contributor to FamilySecurityMatters.org and his essays have appeared on RedState.com and WorldNetDaily.