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Sunday, 27 November 2011

Liberally distributed

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing”

This a well-known quote from Karl Rove.  Why, you might ask, would I of all people be quoting someone I detest so much? Well, it's simply that to some extent I agree with him. I believe that with education, and just as importantly with maturity come, for most of us, a kind of mellowing, a realisation that acquisitiveness is not all there is to life. We begin to realise that the question "What should I give some of my hard-earned money to others less fortunate?" should immediately prompt the answer "Because you can." That ought to be enough. However, you'll often find that the right in politics ask the question slightly differently. They ask, "Why should I give more of my heard-earned money to those too lazy to make their own fortunes?"  This is based on the American Dream, more properly known as the American Myth. In this scenario, anyone willing to work hard is practically guaranteed wealth. I like this idea. It seems to me that if this is correct, I can work like stink for a few years and then retire to Florida and soak up the rays.

Wait a minute though. If this is right, how come so many Americans are working at three jobs and still unable to hold body and soul together? Conversely, how come a lot of the wealthiest can sit on their fat cans in the country club, soaking up the gin and getting richer by the minute? Allow me to enlighten you. The American Dream propagated by the right is based on the notion that wealth is infinite. It isn't. We all get a share and some of us, for whatever reason (let's go along with them for a minute and call it hard work), get a bigger share. This means that some of us get a smaller share. It's an inescapable consequence of most economic systems. Nowhere is there the smallest shred of evidence that everyone can get wealthy. Nowhere, unless that is you know differently. I won't hold my breath.

Meanwhile, I'll stick with the idea that being mature means among other things letting social injustice bother me, sparing a thought for those less fortunate and helping when I can. It doesn't make me a saint, it just makes me human. Try it Karl. What am I saying?