Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The definition of theft has been stolen


But then I read this thing. And it reminded me why right-leaning libertarians are often their own worst case against their cases.

Matt Walsh calls himself "a heartless SOB" and "a cold blooded scoundrel" early on, but at the end suggests that charity should be up to the individual. In other words, his ideal solution is that people like him should give only from the hearts that they don't have. That sounds sustainable.

He calls all taxation "theft." But you can't have society without it. Taxes pay for public works. If that money also keeps people from starving to death, I'm fine with that. Not because I want them to vote Democrat, but because I'm a compassionate human being. Walsh radically overestimates how much someone like me is appalled by my tax money helping others in times of need.

Walsh claims to have been down and out and claims to care "deeply" for poor people. If that's the case, then he should know that poor people (and most non-poor people as well) don't think the way he does. When people are starving, they aren't going to find much nourishment in eating the well-massaged pages of Ayn Rand books. I'm not starving and it still seems appalling.

That's a problem with Walsh's view in general — it's vacuum-packed philosophy for a well-nourished, upper-class classroom. When you're starving, you're much less likely to consider any form of help to be evil. You tend to feel the same way if you possess empathy in general.

The only way this worldview works is if everyone were on the same plane and a rising subset of that group decided to be downtrodden just for the fun of it. That would make them a disruptive group that refused to play by the rules. And they would deserve such scorn.

But that isn't the case. At least, not with them. That scorn belongs elsewhere at the moment.

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