Friday, September 28, 2012

Who's Entitled?

The Democrats are like a dog with a bone, with Romney's secretly-videotaped speech in which he labeled 47 percent of the American public as non-tax-paying moochers who think they're entitled. As I said previously, this speech is fair game as it comes straight out of the economism playbook, and Romney has made it clear all through this campaign that economism is in fact his religion. (Okay, so maybe he's a Mormon on the side.) But let's for now take a somewhat closer look at this question of just who in our society think they're "entitled."

Academics (those troublemakers again) have recently done several studies about the ethics of the rich vs. regular folks. Here is a blog post based on just one such study:

What these studies find, routinely, is that wealthier research subjects generally are more likely to cheat, and feel more entitled to get ahead, so that any means they need to use to get ahead is all right with them. Yet when we talk in our society, for example, about "entitlement programs," we always seem to talk about programs that aid the poor and middle class; we never seem to treat the wealthy (the cherished "job creators" of the Republicans) as "entitled" folks. These recent research results simply add more evidence of a pervasive double standard, fueled by the ideology of economism, that the rich are different and better than the rest of us.

Now, when I say something like this, I am likely to get the response, why am I picking on the rich? Do I believe that all rich people are rotten? Do I believe that all poor people are angelic?

Well, I happen to believe that some rich people and good and some are bad. I happen to believe that some poor people are virtuous and hard-working and some are bastards. I imagine that most of us, if we thought about it, would believe the same. So why is it even necessary to go through the motions of saying such an obvious truism?

The reason one has to say such things is that economism has had its way with us for so long that its defenders have had an incredibly easy time of it. The rest of us drank the Kool-aid and agreed that what economism preaches is simple common sense and must be true. So they got lazy about thinking of arguments that actually support economism in any substantial way. (That's just as well for their peace of mind, as economism is so full of contradictions, and so thoroughly undermined by real-world evidence, that trying to seriously defend it is a real headache.) So all it takes is a person like me questioning a single feature of the economism's religious ideology, and the defenders go berserk, figuring that anyone so crazy as to doubt economism must be trying to destroy civilization as they know it.

The good news is that finally us crazies are coming out of the woodwork.

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