Leftist Rhetoric vs. Reality
The rhetoric from the Left is intransigent in its denunciation of wealth. As long as someone is wealthy, there is inequality. This is because there has always been and will always be someone who is poor. So the very existence of a rich man serves as a rebuke to the Left’s worldview, and a fly in the social justice ointment.
An example of a false choice offered by Germany’s communists in the 1920’s: the poster reads: “Voters, decide! Do you want the dictatorship of Stinnes, or the dictatorship of the proletarians?”. In other words, no matter how you choose, there’s only dictatorship for you. Stinnes was a winner of the inflationism of the post WW1 era – a prototypical state-capitalist. However, the poster still backfired, as he happened to be highly popular with his workers.
However, Leftists in power behave differently than their rhetoric would lead us to expect. They enact legislation and regulation which actually helps enrich crony businesses, such as big banks. The common refrain is that these politicians are corrupt, and on the take. Wall Street is simply buying their favor.
While this is true to some extent—certainly Wall Street spends a lot on lobbying—it’s not a satisfying answer. How do we fully explain the seeming anomaly between ideas and action on the Left?
A Devious Strategy
It is no anomaly at all. To see why, look at it from the Left’s point of view. It has to be frustrating when the voters reject the policies of Marxism. Unlike in many other parts of the world, the American people do not hate wealth—not yet. If you were a Leftist, how would you go about changing this?
Even today, many Americans if not most of them, feel at a basic gut level that if you work hard you can get rich, and you deserve it. The Left has to find a way to undermine this. The Left wants to migrate Americans to the attitude held in socialist countries: the feeling that if someone is rich then he must be on the take.
Hillary Clinton – a left-wing politician who in stark contrast to her rhetoric, is well known for being funded by Wall Street banks (according to CNN, “Wall Street has made her a millionaire”). As Ludwig von Mises once noted: “The struggle between the two systems of social organization, freedom and totalitarianism, will be decided in the democratic nations at the polls. As things are today, the outcome in the United States will determine the outcome for all other peoples too. As long as this country does not go socialist, socialist victories in other parts of the world are of minor relevance.”
If you wanted to devise a strategy to get the population on board your socialist agenda, I can think of no better way than to create a class of very rich people who get their riches off the backs of the people.
Create thousands of real-life fat cats whose villainy is infamous. Show the people that this is what it means to be rich: to be on the take. That the rich do not produce, but amass a fortune at the expense of others, at your expense. Put that in the public spotlight.
Once the voters believe this, deep down in their hearts, it’s over. The free market is done. Stick a fork in it. Support for the rights of property or contract will fade away. Then, the path is paved for some kind of socialist takeover and totalitarianism.
Image captions by PT
Dr. Keith Weiner is the president of the Gold Standard Institute USA, and CEO of Monetary Metals. Keith is a leading authority in the areas of gold, money, and credit and has made important contributions to the development of trading techniques founded upon the analysis of bid-ask spreads. Keith is a sought after speaker and regularly writes on economics. He is an Objectivist, and has his PhD from the New Austrian School of Economics. He lives with his wife near Phoenix, Arizona.
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