Thursday, January 31, 2013

Liberty and justice for all

I was reading this article on Internet - and as is customary, I grabbed my head with both hands and screamed "How can you people be so stupid?!" But let me go directly to the quotes that show the confusion which is inherent to American so-called "liberalism" and "progressivism"...

A meritocratic society can’t be an entirely egalitarian society, and the principle of limited government recognizes that some injustices can’t be corrected. The challenge of democratic politics is to balance and reconcile these equally indispensable, unavoidably contradictory ideas: on one side liberty, and on the other justice.

In the later part of the article, Clive Crook, the self-described progressive makes it obvious that the type of justice he claims is in conflict with freedom - is the so-called "social justice", and it is clear that he associates justice with equality of result. He never attempts to explain why he believes that justice demands that all people earn same amount of money or achieve equal success. Indeed, it's well understood that justice requires equal treatment under the law - and people of different abilities, treated equally are unlikely to achieve same results. For example, it's obviously absurd to proclaim that the world is unjust because Garry Kasparov was the world chess champion, and not, say, Al Sharpton or Joe Biden. The rules of chess are equally applied to all, and no one stops Al Sharpton from competing in the chess tournament - it is his innate abilities and circumstances of his life which made his participation absurd.

It's also quite obvious that taking at gun point the fruits of labor from one group of people and giving to another is fundamentally unjust. One can support Medicaid, welfare, foodstamps and subsidized housing as acts of mercy - but it's impossible to make a claim that these programs represent an act of justice. Indeed, one could notice that the only type of society that practices justice in any reasonable form is a society where people are left to their devices and allowed to direct their own lives with minimal coercion from the government or fellow citizens.

Liberals often pronounce that no one truly achieves everything in his life due to his own personal efforts. As Barack Obama infamously proclaimed "You did not build that", while the faux-indian Elizabeth Warren muttered that "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own". But this line of reasoning seems to ignore the obvious - while everyone can use roads, and bridges and schools, only very few people actually succeed, while a great majority of people succumb to an average life. So, what did the successful people do differently? This is a question not asked, let alone answered by Obama and Warren. And if people are treated justly - i.e. equally by the state, who would expect equal results from millions of people, each of them an individual, each of them different, each with his own talents, character traits and personal choices? You can certainly complain that God or destiny or Gaia did not give you the talent to create new things or perseverance to work on the project, but it's irrational to blame society for your own deficiencies - and what's worse, it is actually rather counter-productive.

If anything, history shows that any attempts to fight the conceived "injustice" of freedom ends in the loss of both freedom and justice. Even if I ignore the major experiments in "redistributive justice" in USSR, North Korea and China (which ended in the worst possible injustice in the last 1000 years), one can easily see that if anything, all latest experiments in Western Europe and USA for equality of result did not end up in more justice.  For example, America showed a dramatic reversal in the growth of living standards and equality after the major liberal programs (Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, subsidized housing) were put into effect. Obama's proclaimed attempts to "invest in communities" resulted in expected massive handouts of taxpayer money to his donors, political allies and supporters, while the taxpayers were left with tremendous debt obligations and sluggish economy.

The coming bankruptcy of the welfare state both in Europe and US also demonstrates that the attempt to give up freedom in order to gain justice is also unsustainable. It's clear that American society is getting closer and closer to a crisis - when young and relatively few workers will be faced with massive demands for their fruits of labor to pay for the massive federal, state and local debts - while at the same time supporting tens of millions of retired baby-boomers. Ignoring the obvious financial peril, our president is vastly expanding the welfare state, which in turn promises even steeper tax penalties for the future Americans.

In the final analysis, the concept of justice cannot exist in a society without freedom. Any attempt to ignore this fundamental truth will result in the breakdown of society - and America's choice of Barack Obama in 2012 is another step on the path to destruction of this fine country. When tens of millions of people confidently believe that they have a right to take the fruits of labor of other people - be it "millionaires and billionaires" or the families which earn more than an arbitrary sum ($250k or 400k) , and these people are a majority, the fall of the country into the abyss may be inevitable. No freedom, no justice, no prosperity - Live free or die. This is the choice for our country.

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