I think what bothered me most about the previous cartoon was the "worst case/best case" formulation (the privileged scion who thinks he did it all himself vs. the virtuous poor kid who's supposedly doing all the right things but is held back by forces beyond his/her control).That's a classic political ploy: arguing by anecdote and then cherry picking the anecdotes. It's like playing with loaded dice.The comic author is trying to make a point (successful people don't acknowledge their privilege and take more credit for their own success than they deserve/unsuccessful people are beaten at the game of life before they even start playing because the game is rigged).But these are overly broad generalizations that don't fairly portray the full spectrum of outcomes. And, as your cartoon suggests, the success of one individual often creates positive externalities for less fortunate people that they - naturally - don't acknowledge or appreciate either.
And in all fairness to Grim's original post, he didn't argue that either cartoonishly exaggerated portrayal of wealth/privilege was accurate - he said the truth lay somewhere between them (I agree with that assessment).In thinking about this cartoon, it too could have fairly been titled, "You'll never think about privilege in the same way again!" Living in a country where even people who live below the poverty line own abundant consumer goods like cell phones is a form of "unearned privilege" that marginally benefits the poor - who have limited $$ to spend - more than the very wealthy, who could buy cell phones even if they costed a gazillion bucks.That form of privilege is discounted by the inequality warriors, as is the notion that if they make it less profitable/riskier to innovate, there will be fewer jobs and more expensive consumer goods to go around.
"The contrast raises the question: even if you assume productive people are just lucky, does someone else's good luck entitle us to his stuff?"Well when you put it like that Tex, it sounds bad! :PBut that's the heart of the matter. The statist would say that it doesn't entitle you to his stuff, but instead the "lucky" individual has a responsibility to help the less fortunate around him. And that they'll make sure he fulfills that responsibility.It's justification for theft, clearly. But because they believe that since their motives are pure, that makes it ok.
The statist would say that it doesn't entitle you to his stuff...It took me a long time to figure out why so much of Obama's rhetoric is so slippery. He has a way of sounding like he's just being dispassionate and reasonable, while covertly appealing to baser emotions like envy or us-vs.-them tribalism (class hatred).There's always a suggestion lurking below the surface argument - never openly stated, so it can't be addressed explicitly without getting the, "I never actually *said* that - stop being paranoid!" retort. They're not explicitly arguing that anyone is entitled to other people's wealth. They're just saying, "You didn't build that all by yourself" (suggestion: "...therefore, you don't really *own*/didn't earn your wealthy outright, and moreover you ripped off the oppressed underclass, who *have earned* part of your ill-gotten gains).
*ding* *ding* *ding*Winner winner, chicken dinner.
This is why I'm so allergic to the habit of eliding the difference between charity (you give freely from your own pocket) to progressivism (you vote to make the other guy give unfreely from his own pocket). Each of us can give what he chooses from his own wealth. We might have fruitful discussions about how far we should go, what effect it has on us spiritually, how to arouse our compassion, how to decide to whom to give and how in order to do more good than harm, how to increase prosperity so there's more to give and share, etc.Contrast that with campaigns to convince people to vote to make the other guy fund the charity. Now the rhetoric is about what a blinkered, morally dead person you'd have to be to refuse to vote that way. Don't you care about poor people? Don't you realize you could be in need someday? Don't you know you might be in need today if you weren't so darn lucky/privileged/selfish/greedy/insular/racist/materialistic? No, no, we're not trying to say anyone is entitled to your stuff, we're just saying we're entitled to demand that you vote to let us take your stuff by force. It's completely different! And by the way, we're taking credit for the good we're doing with your money, because we're very generous, but we're a little tapped out this week. You guys carry on; we're behind you all the way (with guns). What's the matter, don't you believe in charity?Yeccchh to all aspects of the mindset. "A pig like that: you don't eat it all at once."
Now the rhetoric is about what a blinkered, morally dead person you'd have to be to refuse to vote that way. Don't you care about poor people? Don't you realize you could be in need someday? Don't you know you might be in need today if you weren't so darn lucky/privileged/selfish/greedy/insular/racist/materialistic?Which is classic liberal "treating people as Other/the outgroup, who don't deserve the same respect/considerations as Us/our ingroup".It's odd to me that they complain about this so much and are so offended by the practice, but only when it's directed by The Other at a favored Ingroup. It's *fine* for them to do it to disfavored outgroups b/c... well... they're immoral and have thus earned whatever they get.The same logic's on display with free speech, which must be protected at all costs for fellow travelers (even those with whom they disagree) but must be suppressed when it comes from The Other (their speech doesn't deserve protection b/c it has no value/is harmful).It's all a glorified rationalization for violating your own rules and discriminating against some groups whilst favoring others.
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