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Jewish World Review
Jan 9, 2012/ 14 Teves, 5772
Coercion and Incentive Are Not Interchangeable Terms
I am a truly evil person. I've come to realize that more and more lately, after reading volumes of commentary from so many "virtuous" people. These are people for whom no sacrifice using someone else's money, time and effort is too great in order to achieve the socialist utopia that is just around the corner, if we all subjugate ourselves to greater good. Screw you, comrades.
Let me explain what motivates the overwhelming amount of people who aren't Mother Theresa. But before I do, let me explain that even saints need benefactors. Charitable work is a wonderful ambition as long as there are people willing to provide the underpinnings of such charity. Oddly enough, a study was done in 2008 by Arthur Brooks, a Syracuse University professor who discovered, much to his chagrin, that "evil" conservatives contribute about 30 percent more to charities than our oh-so-caring liberal counterparts:
"When I started doing research on charity, I expected to find that political liberals who, I believed, genuinely cared more about others than conservatives did would turn out to be the most privately charitable people, he said. "So when my early findings led me to the opposite conclusion, I assumed I had made some sort of technical error. I re-ran analyses. I got new data. Nothing worked. In the end, I had no option but to change my views."
But it gets worse, comrades. Conservatives donated more to charity despite the fact that liberal family incomes were 6 percent higher on average.
None of this should surprise anyone who truly understands the progressive mindset, which can be reduced for these purposes to three words: talk is cheap. And none are cheaper than those who profess to be the doyens of societal generosity underwritten by Other People's Money.
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But I digress. As I watch the ever-increasing devaluation of the concept commonly known as American exceptionalism, I am struck by the inordinate number of clueless people who actually believe that incentive and coercion are interchangeable terms. Everything progressives have inflicted on this nation rests on that utterly incoherent premise. And the icing on this excrement cake is the unbridled arrogance that presumes a handful of government coercers, and their kool-aid drinking enablers in the media and academia, are better informed about what this nation wants and needs than millions upon millions of Americans acting in their own self-interest.
Let me tell you what part of my life I think someone else is entitled to: not even a nano-second's worth of my time, comrades. Not one drop of sweat from my brow that I do not freely choose to make available. And before you get started with mandatory taxation, etc., understand that paying taxes is a voluntary decision on my part emanating from a desire to be a productive member of society. What are you going to do if I decide to put my desire aside and join the legions of self-entitled ne'er-do-wells, comrades?
Frankly, I''m the least of your worries. Another writer more or less isn't likely to put much a monkey wrench in your workers' paradise ambitions. On the other hand, the bet here is pretty soon you're going to have to explain why doctors aren't taking any new patients or why people no longer have the desire to become doctors in the first. Or engineers, or small business owners, or anything else where the heavy hand of government is destroying incentive.
Coercion? Nothing more than totalitarianism with better PR. And the saddest part? Even progressives know it's true, which is why the first thing countless liberal municipalities offer a business threatening to relocate is a tax break.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: a substantial number of productive Americans are, for all intents and purposes, on strike. And despite what progressives continue to believe, no amount of coercion, whether it comes in the form of Obamacare, FinReg, rapacious public sector unions, or any other spirit-sucking entity masquerading itself as "social justice" will ever replace good-old fashioned incentive. In short, it is the essence of human nature.
It's just that simple which is why all the enlightened do-gooders who profess to know so much more than everyone else can't comprehend it.
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01/06/11: Will We Retire Obama --- or the Constitution?
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08/31/09: Drowning in Amorality
08/26/09: The Republican Recovery Program
© 2011, Arnold Ahlert