About This Blog

Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973) was the greatest economist of my time. His greatest works can be accessed here at no charge.

Mises believed that property, freedom and peace are and should be the hallmarks of a satisfying and prosperous society. I agree. Mises proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that the prospect for general and individual prosperity is maximized, indeed, is only possible, if the principle of private property reigns supreme. What's yours is yours. What's mine is mine. When the line between yours and mine is smudged, the door to conflict opens. Without freedom (individual liberty of action) the principle of private property is neutered and the free market, which is the child of property and freedom and the mother of prosperity and satisfaction, cannot exist. Peace is the goal of a prosperous and satisfying society of free individuals, not peace which is purchased by submission to the enemies of property and freedom, but peace which results from the unyielding defense of these principles against all who challenge them.

In this blog I measure American society against the metrics of property, freedom and peace.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Are Progressives Evil?

I had a chat with my wife today. She has an acquaintance that is a crusading Progressive. I’ll call her friend “Irene.”

Irene lives in that hotbed of Progressivism, Madison, Wisconsin. Irene is a friendly soul with an outgoing personality. She works in an office and earns a modest income. She is normal in all respects except that she believes with all her heart that “the rich” quite literally owe her and all her friends a goodly portion of their wealth.

Irene loves Barack Obama with a passion. She campaigned to get him elected. She will work tirelessly to get him re-elected. She believes that “the rich” are selfish. She believes that wealth is largely a matter of luck. She observes an individual with obvious wealth and thinks: There but for the accident of birth go I.

Irene believes, as Obama believes, that at some point “the rich” have more money than they need. She argues, as Obama argues, that there is a dangerous and growing gap between “the rich” and “the poor” in America. She proposes, as Obama proposes, that the wealth gap be narrowed, that taxes on “the rich” must be substantially increased and the proceeds must be “re”-distributed to those less fortunate.

In the course of our conversation about Irene my wife told me she disagrees with Irene’s politics, but that Irene is basically a good person with a good heart. I disagreed. I told my wife I thought Irene was evil. My wife was aghast.

“Evil!” she exclaimed. “Irene is not evil.”


We are living in trying times. Some say we are experiencing another great depression. 10% of Americans are unemployed, and an equal number of people have stopped looking for work. Prices of goods and services are rising; wages are falling.

In a vain effort to “turn the economy around” our Washington rulers are spending money like there is no tomorrow. Borrowing money they don’t have, they are creating skyrocketing public debt. Obama is proposing a magical job creation act that will cost close to half a trillion dollars. He says he wants “the rich” to pay for it.

Irene says opposing the President’s plan is unpatriotic and racist.

In the midst of all this economic turmoil pundits wonder why. Why do “rich” corporations refuse to expand and hire the unemployed? Why is this great, formerly prosperous nation, going belly up?

Barack Obama and his biggest fan, Irene, think they know the answer. Americans must sacrifice more. The rich must sacrifice most of all. Once income is properly re-distributed and the wealth gap is closed, all Americans will equally prosper.

But will they?

In his book “Liberalism” Ludwig von Mises wrote the following:

Those who advocate equality of income distribution overlook the most important point, namely, that the total available for distribution, the annual product of social labor, is not independent of the manner in which it is divided. The fact that that product today is as great as it is, is not a natural or technological phenomenon independent of all social conditions, but entirely the result of our social institutions. Only because inequality of wealth is possible in our social order, only because it stimulates everyone to produce as much as he can and at the lowest cost, does mankind today have at its disposal the total annual wealth now available for consumption. Were this incentive to be destroyed, productivity would be so greatly reduced that the portion that an equal distribution would allot to each individual would be far less than what even the poorest receives today.
Re-read Mises’ prophetic words very carefully.

What Mises is saying is that the very act of re-distributing wealth, i.e., forcing people to give their money to other people via taxation and government spending, destroys the very system that made wealth creation possible in the first place!

This obvious, economic truth is easily observable in socialist countries wherein all wealth is transferred to the central government and re-distributed among the citizens. North Korea, Cuba and the former Soviet Union ran their economies into the ground and their people into the poorhouse by virtue of their ruthless, income re-distribution schemes. In time there was no wealth left in these countries to re-distribute. Reagan called these countries evil empires. And he was right.

Now the same thing is happening in America, but at a more deliberate pace. Could it be that this stubborn depression in America is the direct result of Obama’s (and his predecessor’s) slow but sure income redistribution schemes? Could Mises’ theory be coming true here?

I think so.

My fellow Americans, the economic engine that has made this country and its people the most prosperous on the face of the earth – free market capitalism – is being shut down by Progressives like President Obama, his allies in Congress and his political sycophants in flyover country – like my wife’s friend, Irene.

If the power of these Progressives goes unchecked, if Obama is re-elected, America’s engine of prosperity will be no more. The tough economic conditions we experience now will inevitably become the miserable, shabby existence we witness in Cuba and North Korea.

Which begs the question: Are Progressives truly evil?

If a robber broke into your home, assaulted you, stole your money and permanently disrupted your way of life, you would call that robber evil. If the robber’s friends not only defended his theft but also cheered him on and suggested he rob others, you would consider them evil as well.

We in America are being slowly robbed of our prosperity and our very livelihood by Obama and his cohorts in Congress who persist in their mindless and pandering income redistribution schemes. Envious Progressives like my wife’s friend, Irene, cheer them on and encourage them to tax more and spend more.

I can come to no other conclusion. President Obama is evil. His political allies, like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, are evil. My wife’s friend, Irene, is evil.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying we bring Progressives up on charges or burn them at the stake. I am saying it’s time we call a spade a spade.

The next time I see Irene and she starts piously spouting her redistributionist tripe, I’m going to tell her to her face that the policies she’s advocating are evil. And then I’ll tell her why.

I suggest you tell your Progressive friends the same thing.

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