Walter Williams is part of a growing African American population that is growing weary of the politics of envy. He writes with passion and clarity about the issues facing the nation.
Wednesday, March 03, 2010
Who Poses the Gre
ater Thre at?
Walter E. Williams
ates is the world's richest person, but wh atkind of power does he have over you? Can he force your kid to go to a school you do not want him to attend? Can he deny you the right to braid hair in your home for a living? It turns out th ata local politician, who might deny us the right to earn a living and dict ates which school our kid attends, has far gre ater power over our lives than any rich person. Rich people can gain power over us, but to do so, they must get permission from our elected represent atives atthe federal, st ate or local levels. For example, I might wish to purchase sugar from a Caribbean producer, but 's sugar lobby pays congressmen hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to impose sugar import tariffs and quotas, forcing me and every other American to purchase their more expensive sugar. America
Politicians love pitting us against the rich. All by themselves, the rich have absolutely no power over us. To rip us off, they need the might of Congress to rig the economic game. It's a slick political sleight-of-hand where politicians and their allies amongst the intellectuals, talking heads and the news media get us caught up in the politics of envy as part of their agenda for gre
ater control over our lives.
The sugar lobby is just one example among thousands. Just ask yourself: Who were the major recipients of the billions of taxpayer bailout dollars, the so-called Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP)? The top recipients of TARP handouts included companies such as Citibank, AIG, Goldman Sachs and General Motors. Their top management are paid tens of millions dollars to run companies th
atwere on the verge of bankruptcy, were it not for billions of dollars in taxpayer money. Politicians preach the politics of envy whilst reaching into the ordinary man's pockets, through the IRS, and handing it over to their favorite rich people and others who make large contributions to their election efforts.
The bottom line is th
atit is politicians first and their supporters amongst intellectuals who pose the gre atest thre atto liberty. Dr. Thomas Sowell amply demonstr ates this in his brand-new book, "Intellectuals and Society," in which he points out th at: "Scarcely a mass-murdering dict ator of the twentieth century was without his intellectual supporters, not simply in his own country, but also in foreign democracies ... Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler all had their admirers, defenders and apologists among the intelligentsia in Western democr atic n ations, despite the fact th atthese dict ators each ended up killing people of their own country on a scale unprecedented even by despotic regimes th atpreceded them."
While American politicians and intellectuals have not reached the depths of tyrants such as Lenin, Stalin, Mao and Hitler, they share a common vision. [Unless you take into account the genocide that is the abortion industry. mps] Tyrants denounce free markets and voluntary exchange. They are the chief supporters of reduced priv
ate property rights, reduced rights to profits, and they are anti-competition and pro-monopoly. They are pro-control and coercion, by the st ate. These Americans who run Washington, and their intellectual supporters, believe they have superior wisdom and gre ater intelligence than the masses. They believe they have been ordained to forcibly impose th atwisdom on the rest of us. Like any other tyrant, they have wh atthey consider good reasons for restricting the freedom of others. A tyrant's primary agenda calls for the elimin ation or attenu ation of the market. Why? Markets imply voluntary exchange and tyrants do trust th atpeople behaving voluntarily will do wh atthe tyrant thinks they should do. Therefore, they seek to replace the market with economic planning and regul ation, which is little more than the forcible superseding of other people's plans by the powerful elite.
We Americans have forgotten founder Thomas Paine's warning th
at"Government, even in its best st ate, is but a necessary evil; in its worst st ate, an intolerable one.”
Dr. Williams serves on the faculty of
as John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics and is the author of More Liberty Means Less Government: Our Founders Knew This Well. George Mason University