Call it cash for clunkers on steroids. Going one step further than paying cash to get polluting clunkers off the road, the Sacramento brain trust now wants to subsidize the cost of buying newer cars for the less fortunate. The program is being described, this is no joke, as “transportation justice”! I believe over time, this problem of older high emission, low mpg vehicles will take care of itself as these vehicles gravitate towards the salvage yard, but there is more to this than meets the eye.
I refer you to the old maxim that government only has money to give away that they first had to take away from someone else- that someone is you! We give out food, shelter, medical care, and a whole host of other subsidies and services to those who can least afford the same, so why shouldn’t we subsidize the cost of a better car while we are at it? Well, I am not against helping those who can’t help themselves, but I am dead set against helping those who continue to be in need simply because they are irresponsible. Of course, the important thing here is that the more subsidies we give out means the greater the dependency we create in a class of people who will have even less incentive over time to become financially independent.
One of the foundational principles of our form of governance in America is rooted in our belief that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. The timeless great debate between our form of government and various forms of egalitarianism, including today’s progressive movement which is promoting this transportation justice scam, has to do with the distinction between equal rights and equal outcomes. An all time classic book that speaks to the distinction between rights and outcomes is Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. Rand completely eviscerated any notion that work could be assigned according to ability, while wealth could be distributed according to need in a free market economy. And, she also completely decimates the notion that a free society could continue to exist in any other economic system than a free market economy.
Another classic book which outlines the inevitable evolution of egalitarian ideology from noble intentions to brutal oppression is George Orwell’s Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others”. Orwell, himself a democratic socialist, wrote this book as an allegorical attack on Joseph Stalin whom he regarded, rightly so, as a brutal dictator. The book brilliantly highlighted the fatal flaw of many political ideologies, that is, it is the nature of power to corrupt. Orwell’s pigs (his allegorical description of ambitious, greedy, and flawed men) become dictators despite their initial commitment to egalitarian purposes.
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The problem at Animal Farm and here in America is when government favors equal outcomes more than equal rights, well, people begin to lose their rights, not the least of which is the right to keep what they earn.
First Published in the Santa Barbara News Press
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