December 13, 2009
The Pathology of the Rich Socialist
People such as George Soros and Michael Moore certainly talk a good game, but the next Mother Teresa they are not. Mother Teresa never criticized the free-market system; wealth just wasn't for her. Soros and Moore are quite the opposite. They will never take a vow of poverty and dedicate themselves to helping the poor. They just want our civilization to take a vow of poverty and become poor.
This has caused many to wonder: How can someone preach socialism while being the most rapacious "capitalist" imaginable? Well, I have a theory about this.
It has often been observed that those who preach liberalism the most practice charity the least, and research bears this out. For example, in a piece titled "Bleeding Heart Tightwads," self-proclaimed liberal Nicholas Kristof wrote,
Arthur Brooks, the author of a book on donors to charity, 'Who Really Cares,' cites data that households headed by conservatives give 30 percent more to charity than households headed by liberals. A study by Google found an even greater disproportion: average annual contributions reported by conservatives were almost double those of liberals.
Then there is a fascinating article by Peter Schweizer, titled "Don't listen to the liberals -- Right-wingers really are nicer people, latest research shows." In defense of this thesis, the author presents some scientific findings and then a bit of anecdotal evidence, writing,
Most surprising of all is reputable research showing those on the Left are more interested in money than Right-wingers.
Both the World Values Survey and the General Social Survey reveal that Left-wingers are more likely to rate 'high income' as an important factor in choosing a job, more likely to say "after good health, money is the most important thing," and more likely agree with the statement "there are no right or wrong ways to make money."You don't need to explain that to Doug Urbanski, the former business manager for Left-wing firebrand and documentary-maker Michael Moore. "He [Moore] is more money-obsessed than anyone I have known -- and that's saying a lot," claims Urbanski.
The article also cites one Linda Hirshman, who "tells women not to have more than one baby so they can concentrate on a career. 'Find the money,' she advises."
Additionally, Schweizer reports on studies showing that Leftists are the embodiment of envy. This finding should come as no surprise, despite liberals' propensity to rail against the rich and preach redistribution of wealth. Because, you see, it's not that they care about the downtrodden so much -- it's just that they're just insanely jealous of those who have more than they do.
But what about advocating socialism? Why would these greedy leftists try to kill the goose that lays the golden eggs they crave? To understand this, we have to delve into the psychology of vice.
There is a chasm between the heart and head. It is one thing to know something is wrong; it's quite another to feel it on an emotional level. This is probably why Confucius once said (I'm paraphrasing), "It is not that I do not know what to do; it is that I do not do what I know." The heart is both a terrible master and a terribly alluring one, as its fires so often trump the head's cool logic. It is the demagogue of the mind's elections, whose rhetoric is hard to resist because it just feels so right.
Now, let's talk about that seemingly greedy man, George Soros. As a 14-year-old Jewish boy in Nazi-occupied Budapest, Hungary in 1944, he posed as the godson of a government official who had been bribed to protect him. Soros then accompanied his protector while the man would make his rounds confiscating property from Jews who were being shipped off to death camps. During a 60 Minutes interview with Steve Kroft, Soros said he felt no guilt over this and explained why, stating, "Well, of course I c -- I could be on the other side or I could be the one from whom the thing is being taken away. But there was no sense that I shouldn't be there, because that was -- well, actually, in a funny way, it's just like in markets -- that if I weren't there -- of course, I wasn't doing it, but somebody else would."
It's just like in markets...that's an interesting comment. But what is this similarity of which Soros speaks? Is it just that by his lights, in both situations he had to choose between being the predator and the prey? Well, read two more statements Soros made in the interview. When asked about his mercenary currency trading, he said, "I don't feel guilty. Because I'm engaged in an amoral activity which is not meant to have anything to do with guilt."
An amoral activity or an amoral man?
And when asked whether he deserved the blame for various nations' financial collapses, he replied, "I am basically there to -- to make money. I cannot and do not look at the social consequences of -- of what I do."
No, but he sure looked at the social consequences of what George Bush (whom he called a Nazi in his book) did. But I digress.
It's clear that Soros sees our free-market system as an evil, much like the Nazi system whose death camps he eluded. And I wouldn't be surprised if, just as when he was 14, Soros sees himself as a victim caught in its web (the difference is that in 1944, he actually was a victim, whereas now he is the spider). If he doesn't rape the system, someone else will. Yet he is a victim only of his own greed.
Taking this a bit deeper, it's much like someone in the grip of any vice. It's like a man who just cannot resist the bottle and gets falling-down drunk. He may sometimes have moments of clarity during which he actually hates his vice -- and he may start to hate alcohol itself. At these times he may wish it didn't exist, for then the temptation wouldn't be there. But as long as it does exist, he can't help but partake.
George Soros is a greedy man. Because of this, he cannot be "free" of his vice until the opportunity to make money is gone. He cannot retire, cannot rest, as long as there is another dollar to be made in the evil system. He wishes his "bottle" didn't exist, but as long as it does, he can't help but partake. Thus does he want Profit Prohibition.
This should surprise no one. I once heard of a woman who was told by her Leftist college professor not to give money to charity because it was the government's job. But you see, to liberals, everything is little g's job -- and also its responsibility. In just the way a criminal isn't responsible for his actions because "society made him the way he is," Leftists want the government to fight their temptations for them, and they see a free-market society as being one big occasion of sin. The message is simple: It's not my fault if the government places us in a situation in which we can be immoral. Just as liberals outsource their charitable responsibilities, they outsource their moral ones.
The problem is that it doesn't work. There will always be "the other side" and those "from whom the thing is being taken away." There will always be an "evil system." In communist governments, those in power -- who are more equal than others -- get the new Mercedes, the plush apartment, the fine food, and all the other luxuries any commissar could want. And the George Soroses of the world would always try to be among them, for greed would still lie in their hearts. And it wouldn't be hard for them to rationalize, either. They would simply reason, "If I'm not more equal than others, someone else will be. If I don't do it, someone else will."