Letters 04-20-2000

The reeking stench of this pseudo-progressiveness is what is undermining our democracy. Whining for a handout is the most unbecoming thing a wage earner, or anyone, can do, and even more pitiful than that is someone doing it on his behalf. These are the individuals who blame the wealth gap -- and, in essence, capitalism -- that more minority men are in prison than are attending college, one out of five children live in poverty, and 44 million Americans do not have health coverage. Robert Reich, U.S. Secretary of Labor from 1979 to 1995, Oxford classmate of Bill Clinton, one of the facilitators and strong proponents of the RW "fairness" faÁade called Alan Greenspan, perhaps the economist with the most impact of the 20th century, "the Darth Vader of blue-collar America," missing the fact that we, blue-collar America, are the greatest beneficiaries of Greenspan's policy and knowledge, including his days prior to being appointed Federal Reserve Chairman. Reich also said: "The economy is strong. The share of profits in national output is unsurpassed in almost three decades. . . . But a just society requires more. The fruits of this rich economy must be within the reach of all hardworking Americans."

He and RW would do well to examine what principles this "strong" bull economy is built on. Surely one would not find overpaying for labor one of them. And last I checked, anyone, save those whose civil rights have been revoked, can become anything they want, do anything they want, and accomplish anything they want, including putting limitations on themselves by complaining that their employer should be required to pay him higher wages since he lives in a larger home. I hope this sheds some light on the players and thoughts behind RW and its movement.

I stand in awe of the elements in this country that wish to undermine the very system that has provided nearly every morsel of convenience and livelihood that they ungratefully enjoy every day. In their arrogant endeavor to become the savior of the wage earner, a worker such as myself, they contradict the very laws of economics that will continue to operate whether we adhere to them or not regardless of the political coloring of the reasons not to bide them. If one were to truly believe that he, as a wage-earning employee of Honeywell, for example, were being exploited "unfairly" while its CEO rakes in tens of millions each year, he should either put in an application for the CEO's position and hope for the best, or he should quit, since he believes so deeply that it is he who is in demand. He'll soon find himself either raking in millions as CEO or at home watching Judge Judy reruns until he comes to terms with the cruelly brilliant nature of free market economics.

Is it true that the wealth gap is growing? Yes. Is this a negative side effect of capitalism. Partly. But do we incorporate The Dole to any open palm in order to fix it? Absolutely not. The Dole, when unmasked and pursued to its inevitable end, is nothing short of a fatal disease to any nation. The Dole has been around for centuries, the most well-known of all the promoters of this form of "fairness" being a German philosopher named Karl Marx. Mr. Marx, as we all well know, wrote a book, Das Kapital, a significant, valued contribution to modern sociopolitical schools of thought, espousing equality before freedom. Its overly optimistic aim is to enable a community or nation to realize a supposed state of utopia best known as "communism." I feel safe in assuming that "utopia" would not be the descriptive word of choice we would hear were we to ask any former or current inhabitant of the former Soviet bloc, Cuba, or China how they feel about Marxism. (In all fairness to Marx, these countries never even got past an introductory level of socialism and instead used it to hide their insane versions of totalitarianism and dictatorships.) There is a very valid reason that minds like Aristotle and James Madison reject Marxist ideologies. Freedom must be solidly established as first priority. We cannot ensure that all Americans share in the wealth, we can only ensure that all Americans are provided at least a chance to take the initiative to share in the wealth; the only way to do this is to focus on freedom before focusing on equality. Those who think that paying artificially inflated wages is right simply do not understand the principles upon which our economy operates, and are, in short, suggesting a complete abandonment of our current system. If that is what they want, fine, but don't color it as a reformation of capitalist-America-gone-bad, for it is not. Socialistic elements have their place in a society, even a democratic society, specifically concerning medicine and health care, but, by principle, they do not belong in the economy. There exists a problem, but it cannot be rightfully cured with handouts. So, Responsible Wealth and its comrades are advocating "fairness" and "equality." Fine. I can already hear the first statement that will be uttered by all corporate America nasties, greedy small business owners, all evil seekers of money and all wanna-be socialists everywhere: "You first." It would be in America's best interest if RW and its kind were to exercise a bit of what Raymond Aron, French theoretician and political sociologist, termed "Aristotelian prudence," lest the country of Horatio Alger be replaced by the country of Even Steven. As a member of the working class, I say, to all of those "kindred to the working class": Please, don't do me any favors.

Garrett Sirrine

The Flash responds: Karl Marx? Raymond Aron? Judge Judy? You name-dropper! History is littered with the prematurely exposed bones of autocrats who hoarded wealth while their countrymen starved. I get the impression that Responsible Wealth prefers to discourage the rise of the next Robespierre.

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