Obama And 'Punitive Liberalism' Explained

This article by Roger Kimball is a must-read, must-link and must-forward piece.

Kimball outlines the horrible guilt liberals feel when anyone succeeds, and their weird zero-sum attitude that any such success must have come at someone else's expense. There is no math or science to it, it is simply emotional vapors. It leads to anti-rationality: for example, the idea that taxes should be raised simply to punish the rich and successful, even if it generates less revenue for government. It is an appeal to emotion and base envy, is anything but 'fair', and actually works at cross-purposes with the public good. Not surprisingly Obama believes in it wholeheartedly:

ABC’s Charlie Gibson . . . observed that raising taxes led to decreased revenues: “Well, Charlie,” Obama replied, “what I’ve said is that I would look at raising the capital gains tax for purposes of fairness.”

That is liberal economics in a nutshell: put shackles on the wealthy simply so the rest of us don't feel so bad.

3 comments:

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Sakievich said...

Nice succinct article. The more I think about the more I think that one of the reasons that this punitive liberalism is so pervasive in American culture now is it's stance as a proactive movement. One of the things the conservative movement has suffered from is the fact that it seems to be rooted as a defensive movement.

If you are on the defensive constantly, you're always losing ground. Contemporary liberals see themselves as a movement that has specific goals, one of which is defeating their enemy.

Whenever there has been a proactive concentrated conservative movement it has tended towards success. Reagan and the Contract with America are good examples of that. But it seems too often that those that we accept and vote in as our conservative leaders look to capitulate at various points in order to be seen as tolerant or bi-partisan, instead of leading a movement towards a specific set of classically liberal goals and principles.

Bigfoot said...

There is one wrinkle to Punitive Liberalism that both Kimball and you, Ken, appear to overlook. For some reason, although liberals seem to think that the rich (however defined) have somehow gotten that way because of some type of unfairness, or by screwing over somebody else, they also have no apparent problem with any of themselves being rich. Apparently, advocating liberal policies is a plenary indulgence against the sin of being rich.