Just as falling leaves presage the autumnal season, wealthy progressives falling for progressive Democrats are the bellwether of the quadrennial election season. Microsolutions founder and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban [an earlier version of this post identified Cuban as the Dell founder, he was not – that was Michael Dell- ed]. joins Warren Buffet in hearting Hillary and I noticed today Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz has pledged to give the “I’m With Her” campaign $20 million. Over the past several months we once again have have witnessed perhaps one of the greatest paradoxes of “progressivism”. We have seen:
- Rich people calling for more taxes on themselves.
- Rich and successful left leaning famous people claiming “solidarity” with a “movement” that is motivated by the belief that wealth should be confiscated and redistributed.
- Rich people claiming they are down with the struggle of #blacklivesmatter.
- Rich “progressives” preaching the eco-gospel, yet jetting around globally on private jets.
Which brings us to the paradoxical question: how do the rich “progressives” reconcile their wealth with their collectivist/redistributive beliefs?
I can clearly understand how someone who has nothing could believe that the way for them to have something is to take it from someone else. This has always been the allure of communism – the belief that everyone should be equal, essentially the same, and that we all should be working for the greater good. The problem with this is that someone has to determine what that “greater good” is and the split second that someone or some group takes it upon themselves, the illusion of equality is over. Authority over another implies that the two parties are NOT equal and that one is superior. The world has had the chance to see this play out in a real world laboratory with the supposedly “leaderless” #Occupy “movement”.
There are three classes, commonly described as upper, middle and lower. It occurs to me that this idea of collectivism is more prevalent in the lower and upper than in the middle class – I think that it is because the middle class spends their time working to provide for their families and ambitions and is pressed on a daily basis to manage serious issues. The lower class is clearly the easiest to be susceptible to the siren song of collectivism simply for the reasons stated above – they can more easily rationalize that life is “unfair”, they are the hardest hit and it is the fault of the upper class. That is the message that was attempted to be sent by the #Occupy “movement” (and is echoed by #blacklivesmatter), then amplified and echoed back to them by some of the richest “progressive” Americans – the communist wing of the 1%.
This message is sent to the middle class as well and appears to go largely unheard –they are too busy. So instead of helping the middle class, the “progressives” spend their time trying to bring them down to the lower class via regulation, taxation and legislation rather than lifting them up.
What I cannot reconcile is people who have become wealthy, and there is no doubt that the majority of them worked for it, yet still claim to support communistic/socialistic movements and policies even though the implementation of same would end their way of life. The multimillionaire rap moguls, the actors and actresses, the business people, the politicians – all would become mere cogs in a larger wheel.
If life is truly unfair, and it is truly the fault of the “rich” (which includes the “progressive” rich”), why are there still rich “progressives” walking around? If they truly believe what they are saying, would only increasing taxation on the rich be sufficient? To be true to their words, would they not have to give away everything they have until they have no more than the average #OWSer in Zuccotti Park?
There are few options to reconcile this discontinuity. The “progressive” rich:
- They think that increased taxation can be used as a bribe to the lower class to forestall losing everything to a true communist state – they believe that the masses are stupid enough to be pacified.
- They are truly ignorant of human nature and history – or maybe just ignorant of what collectivism really means in practice.
- They rose to riches without yielding physical value – though inheritance, growing rich fast through some brilliant paradigm shifting idea (google, FaceBook) or possessing a special talent currently valued by society – such as rap music*, acting or sports. One can argue that all these have value but if we removed them from existence, would there be a lasting impact on the creation of food, clothing or shelter – no. That is my yardstick for lasting societal value.
- They believe that they will be protected in this new Utopia and will still be on top.
- Are liars and believe nothing they say and are only motivated by a sense of elitism and selfish pride – they want to be seen as our “betters” or being more “noble” than other citizens. Hypocrites.
Many might say that the rich progressives are simply motivated by a concern for their fellow man and that they just want to see equality. I simply cannot square that logically since they do not self-transfer all their wealth to the lower class, rather they lobby for taxes on others who do not share their beliefs.
The root of it all is that the progressive rich never expect to be harmed by progressivism – even though history shows that most of the rich never survive the glorious revolution.