Grievance Peddlers & Redistribution Schemes

Grievance Peddlers & Redistribution Schemes

The majority of people today that are mining history for disparities and discriminations are not searching for truth. They are instead searching for opportunities to exploit the sins of the past to justify undermining our society today, or for grievances they can cash in on today at the expense of people and for the benefit of others who were not even born when these sins occurred.

Not only are the motives wrong; almost invariably the methods are as well. Not only are the history and legacy of slavery selectively filtered beyond recognition, but the abolition of slavery as well. The very notion of social justice is at odds with justice. Anytime you must add a modifier to the word ‘Justice’ you are detracting from its definition.

But the very notion of social justice as applied today (correcting for unequal outcomes by government policy) seems ahistorical and misguided. It is being used by political establishments to sell constituents a sense of helpless victimhood for the sake of dividing the country and accumulating political power. (Or perhaps to distract from the fact that liberal economic and crime policies have dominated inner cities for 50-70 years, and have proven in almost every case and in every place to have made things worse).

One notable problem with “leaders” of groups that are lagging (and government aid programs as a whole) is that in order to maintain political relevance they ought not ever actually solve the problems, because they’d be out of a job if they did. Furthermore, there is a tremendous amount of cash to be made peddling race grievances and redistribution schemes.

Even if it could be done, nowhere in the constitution does it say that redistribution is a legitimate role of the federal government. Any given charity is for the deciding of free people. If we look at the results of similar government programs from the past and around the world, the question of whether or not government-dictated redistribution schemes can even be done in a large and culturally diverse society, in any way that is comprehensive and sustainable, is a legitimate one.

Historical Examples

There are countless examples throughout World History of redistribution schemes that have done nothing but drive out the groups that produce wealth. The Huguenots were French Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who were Persecuted by the French Catholic government. They fled the country in the 17th century, creating Huguenot settlements all over Europe, the United States, and Africa.

Prior to the arrival of the Huguenots, there was no watch industry in Switzerland or England, but upon their arrival, London and Switzerland were shortly counted among the most dominant watchmakers in the world. As may be obvious, the economies of these countries benefited from this. At the end of the 15th-century Spain decide to expel all of the jews and essentially confiscate their wealth, so the jews migrated to various places including the Netherlands where they rose to prosperity again. As it were, the economy of the Netherlands improved while that of Spain worsened.

There are also many examples of groups that have become incredibly economically successful in the face of tremendous and overt discrimination because of cultural values such as entrepreneurship, focusing on education, commitment to the family structure, developing a reputation for honesty and hard work, and high levels of trust and cooperation among themselves.

Successful groups have learned to incorporate these values into their own communities. Germans accomplished this in Eastern Europe, as did the Japanese in Peru and the Lebanese in West Africa. Almost no ethnic groups have been oppressed more than the Jews and the Chinese. Yet, because of cultural values, they have been some of the most economically prosperous groups, as minorities, in almost every corner of the world.

Conclusions for Today

When the Asians immigrated to the United States, they also faced tremendous amounts of discrimination and segregation. Today, however, they are disproportionately doing better economically than any other ethnic group in America, including whites. This has gone to the point where Ivy League universities are actively using affirmative action programs to make it more difficult for Asians to get it because they are so over-represented.

The fact is that when you try to tax the producers of wealth to redistribute it, you don’t create more prosperity; more typically the wealth producers migrate to places where wealth can be accumulated. The source of the wealth is not in the money itself but in the skills and knowledge of the producing population.

You can’t tax your way into wealth any more than you can spend your way out of poverty.

This holds true on a community level. Detroit was once a prospering place. However, they pursued policies that drove the prosperous population out, and even though they left the businesses behind the people in Detroit didn’t have the skills to operate them. Detroit has never recovered.

The government can confiscate wealth, but it cannot confiscate the human capital which is the source of wealth creation. If you want to improve the economic wellbeing of a population, you don’t simply redistribute wealth to them. They must develop a culture that invests in skills and knowledge that produces wealth. This means a stable family structure, safe communities, and access to education. An overly generous welfare state, in combination with learned helplessness, subsidies, and poor performance and behaviors produces a cycle of poverty and government dependence.

Ideological Disparities

The Social Justice narrative often over-steps it’s a utility to the point that it becomes an actual impediment to the acquisition of human capital. It sells people a sense of victimization and tells them that the reason they have less is that one group has kept them from having access to the good things in life. If that is the case, why in the world should someone strive through the difficulties of assimilating to a new culture, learning new skills, developing a sense of entrepreneurship?

This, furthermore, is an affront to social cohesion and personal responsibility. It destroys the human spirit that is essential to progress. It is easy to oppress a population dependent on government assistance, and who have been absolved of personal responsibility, but it is almost impossible to oppress a population of stable families who obtain the skills to produce wealth. This is why despite much of the most egregious forms of discrimination against them, Jews have continually resettled in new parts of the world for centuries and have become economically, and thus politically, successful everywhere they have settled.

If we want to look at someone who overcame a legacy of discrimination, there is no better example than Frederick Douglass. Born a slave, he rose to become a wealthy and prominent statesman and thought-leader in a country that was marred by nearly insurmountable prejudice. His contention was simple: the way to prosperity and political influence was not merely through political activism, but by the development of human capital via a no-excuse attitude, dedication to family, education, and relentless moral ethics and work ethic.

Read more about Douglass here.

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