Liberals and the Gift that Keeps Taking
It is misguided because, as Tom Nugent explains today on NRO -- repeat after me -- "tax revenues will fall -- not rise -- when an economy slowed by tax hikes produces lower tax revenues. In all of this, the little guy -- not the rich guy -- is the one who’s going to get hurt.... Windfall profits taxes, higher capital gains taxes, higher maximum personal-income-tax rates, a national sales tax -- each and every one of these tax increases will ultimately hurt the little guy whose lifestyle and livelihood are inextricably attached to the economy."
At the same time they strangle the economy with taxes and thereby hurt "the little guy," leftists treat the profit motive as if it were a morally dubious thing. But as Paul Driessen explains, companies profit because they provide "goods, services and technologies that society needs and values -- legally, ethically, and by offering superior quality, lower cost, greater reliability, outstanding customer care and other benefits, while protecting the environment. It thereby stays in business, earns profits, and rewards investors who made its innovations and products possible." He quotes Milton Friedman's adage that “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits,” and highlights the truism that profitability is "the most fundamental way a company is socially responsible -- to employees, customers, families and communities that have been improved by the company’s actions."
I realize that all of this is common sense unless you happen to be highly educated. In fact, a WSJ editorial this morning points out that high school seniors have more economic common sense than liberal politicians. Unlike other forms of illiteracy, economic illiteracy can be acquired, usually from a tenured carrier.
True charity can never be compulsory. Like any form of love, it must be freely given on pain of self-contradiction. Furthermore, it cannot be motivated merely by the feelings of the giver, but by the objective needs of the recipient, otherwise it becomes an exercise in self-congratulatory narcissism. And recognizing the objective needs of the recipient must take into account his total humanity -- including his spiritual essence -- not merely reduce him to his animal appetites. Otherwise, you can turn the recipient into a sort of half-human cripple.
While charity "consists in abolishing the egocentric distinction between 'me' and the 'other'" and "seeing the 'I' in the 'other' and the 'other' in the 'I'" (Schuon), different egos are at different levels of psychological development, so that to treat all people equally is to efface these important differences and to fail to recognize the humanity of the individual. In its wider context, charity does not only imply "beneficial action in relation to those who need it," but consideration of others’ feelings. Therefore, it is possible to be charitable in a very uncharitable manner.
The Golden Rule is to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, not necessarily as they would have you do unto them. The "doing" must flow from a "knowing," or from consciousness, not merely from one's feelings. As Schuon explains, the corollary of the Golden Rule is that we are not obliged to give our neighbor "what, in our opinion, we would not deserve if we were in his place." In short, in order to recognize what you deserve, you must simultaneously recognize what you most probably deserve good and hard, right in the kisser.
The Raccoon rule is that charity begins by lifting the world one a-hole at a time, beginning with oneself. Or, in the words of Schuon, "The first act of charity is to rid the soul of illusions and passions and thus rid the world of a maleficent being; it is to make a void so that God may fill it and, by this fullness, give Himself."
In ether worlds, charity begins at OMMMMMMMM.