19 Jul 2012

Channeling Ayn Rand

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Jeff Carter points out that the argument made by President Obama in Roanoke, Virginia has been made before: Chapter 9, Page 1.

He didn’t invent iron ore and blast furnaces, did he?”

“Who?”

“Rearden. He didn’t invent smelting and chemistry and air compression. He couldn’t have invented his Metal but for thousands and thousands of other people. His Metal! Why does he think it’s his? Why does he think it’s his invention? Everybody uses the work of everybody else. Nobody ever invents anything.”

She said, puzzled, “But the iron ore and all those other things were there all the time. Why didn’t anybody else make that Metal, but Mr. Rearden did?”

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SDD

Obama has always been a Taker.

I still am occasionally puzzled by what motivates Takers. The ones who have no abilities or ambitions or morals I can understand. They’re simple leeches. It’s the ones who actually work and produce that puzzle me.

My conjecture is that these people are resentful that others don’t value their work as highly as they themselves do. If I’m an art historian, I’ve spent a lot of time in school and probably have worked some long hours at my specialty. I think art is very important. Then I see my neighbor who is, say, a software engineer or a small business owner earning far more than I am. That just doesn’t seem “fair” to me. But, the brutal fact is that other people see what I do as far less valuable (more than likely because there is a surfeit of art history majors out there). Since in a free market I can’t really do much about this “unfairness”, I like it when government confiscates more of the earnings differential between us. It makes me feel relatively more worthy.

What people who feel this way fail to appreciate, however, is the consequence that there will be fewer people endeavoring to create software or start new businesses. Such people are the ones who are adding the most economic value (aka growth) that allows someone to even care about having an art historian. It is the Hank Reardens of the world who enable others to do what they do.



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