There’s a principle of too many guardians. If a toddler is playing with their grandparents, and the parents are also in the room, along with several other potential watchful eyes, there’s an assumption that someone else is watching over the child. This can cause a child to go unsupervised and become susceptible to danger.
My proposal this week is similar to the argument for capitalism vs. communism analogous to the classroom. If a teacher redistributes the grades within a class, so that each student received the average grade, a B-, the A students won’t try as hard and the next test and the end result will be a C, and after that an F. If Marxists are permitted to take over capital, fewer people will produce, and the result will be poverty – with no wealth left to redistribute, under the false guise that they’re more prosperous.
In the same way, if I am of the assumption that someone else will do something about someone’s suffering I do less myself. There is no self-cultivation, no concept of self-sacrifice, no responsibility taken for charity and altruism. As a result of the redistribution of charity, we live under the false guise that our society is becoming more charitable when in fact, it’s becoming much less so.
Let us examine the disguise for a moment. 15 years ago, the political right showed care about the human rights abuses of Saddam Hussein and they show it still, today, with the human rights abuses of Iran, but they fail to concern themselves with the human rights abuses of Trump in Yemen.
The left failed to care about the 500,000 children Clinton killed in Iraq or Obama’s human rights abuses in Yemen but now concerns itself with Trump’s separating children from their families at the Mexican border.
People’s ethical concerns aren’t derived from ethical reasoning; the concern is the result of cultural programming.
We’re told what to think on ethics rather than how to think on ethics. We as a society have had our ethics so diluted that we place impeccable trust in the governing officials, or the culture surrounding them (who rhetorically claim to agree with our political positions), that we have ceased to be ethical human beings.
Gone are the mad rushes to war horses to fight Satan himself over issues such as slavery and genocide, or even something such as unjust taxation. These are the days of mildly impolite Sunday afternoon dinners, and social media smear campaigns over first world problems; meanwhile the most serious lack of ethics goes overlooked because of the dilution of ethics.
We close our eyes and assume someone else is looking after it.
There are many answers as to why we just don’t care about the massive injustices we as a society commit. Christian orthodoxy would say it’s a problem with sin. Buddhists and Taoists would claim it’s a problem with attachment. Many of the ancient philosophers would claim it’s rising from our being irrational and not thinking properly. Whatever validity there is to each of these, the fact that there’s ethical dilution from our dependence on the state has to weigh in a little.
The disguise is perfected (in the idea that the state is here to help) since the living conditions of the poor have become much more bearable than they have been in times past.
But, much of the improved living conditions are the direct and indirect result of private sector innovations. We now have a more diversified economy, with more jobs, and the increasing supply of jobs gives increased wages. Computers, washers, air exchangers, pharmaceuticals, and improved agricultural production, have all helped. We think the dilution is working when it’s not the cause of success.
The world needs ethical people, now more than ever. We need people taking responsibility and not passing it onto someone else.
Conservatives often ask me if libertarians were to take over a government, who would protect the manufacturing sector? The answer is their own rhetoric; they will have to produce something worth the price we pay for it.
The left often asks me if libertarians were to take over who will take care of the poor. My answer is, again, their own rhetoric – you will.
When they say libertarian societies won’t take care of the poor what they really mean to say is that they can’t imagine themselves taking care of the poor. We don’t need people with ethical opinions, we need ethical people.
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