Tag Archives: Envy

Why do so many people vote for the Democrat party?

ECM sent me this article from National Review that explains why so many people vote Democrat.


First, we should recognize that the War on Poverty is now a huge budget item. According to calculations by the Congressional Research Service and the Senate Budget Committee, taxpayers coughed up over $1 trillion in federal and state-provided benefits in 2011. These benefits flow to tens of millions of voters and cover the waterfront, offering low-income Americans everything from cash assistance to food, housing, and medical care, not to mention help with education, transportation, home-heating costs, and child care. Spending on these programs has soared more than 40 percent since 2007. That’s an unsustainable trajectory.

Then we get some facts from a Wall Street Journal article on the topic:

  • The percentage of the American labor force drawing disability benefits from the government has doubled since 1992, from 3 percent to 6 percent. They further note: “The number of workers qualifying for disability since the recession ended in 2009 has grown twice as fast as private employment.”
  • During the last four years, the Obama administration’s aggressive promotion of the food-stamp program has increased the number of recipients by 18.5 million.
  • Unemployment insurance that lasted no longer than 55 weeks in 1980 and 72 weeks in 1992 now can last 99 weeks. Some 40 percent of unemployed workers have been out of work for more than half a year.

And how does it affect voting?:

The Battleground Polls conducted by the Tarrance Group on behalf of George Washington University and Politico make this level of detail readily available. The poll helpfully divides its sample of likely voters into, among other things, those who self-identify as either “low income” or “middle class.”

So, what do we know about these voters?

  • Those who self-identify as “low income” are more likely to be unemployed, frustrated over the state of the economy, and pessimistic over the general direction of our country than are those with higher incomes. Yet the Battleground Poll indicates they are more Why do people likely than those who identify as middle class to believe the country is heading in the right direction (42 percent vs. 35 percent).
  • Do welfare benefits insulate these voters from the sort of economic concerns that plague middle-class voters? Apparently so. Compared with their middle-class counterparts, far fewer low-income voters cite pocketbook issues as their number-one concern (53 percent vs.74 percent). Middle-class voters are, almost by definition, far more likely to pay taxes than low-income voters. Unsurprisingly, they are much more likely to list the economy and the level of spending and deficits as their most important concern (28 percent and 17 percent, respectively) than low-income Americans. Among the latter group, only 20 percent say the economy is most important, and a mere 7 percent worry about spending and deficits. Again, this is not surprising, considering that, for most low-income Americans, government benefits come with no strings attached, and at little or no cost in taxes.
  • In contrast, low-income Americans cite Medicare, Social Security, and education benefits as their number-one issue (29 percent in all) more than twice as frequently as do middle-class voters (only 13 percent).
  • If the receipt of welfare benefits affects voters’ views of the economy and alters the equation they use to judge candidates, one would expect them to give the president high marks for how he has handled the most stagnant and underperforming economy in over half a century. And, indeed, that is the case. By a margin of 51 percent to 37 percent low-income voters prefer Obama over Romney on this measure. They prefer Obama by an even more lopsided margin, 55 percent to 37 percent, on the issue of jobs. In contrast, Romney wins big among middle-class voters on these concerns (56 percent to 41 percent on handling the economy, and 54 percent to 43 percent on jobs).

These people aren’t voting for any high and noble reason. They want money. It’s just greed. Greed is why people vote Democrat.

Elusive Wapiti adds:

It makes sense, really. The 47% vote their pocketbook too… the issue comes from the pocketbook being oriented in the opposite direction. Government largesse fills their wallet, whilst draining the bankbooks of the 53%. They are the “zero liability” voter; they are insulated from the costs of the programs and candidates they vote for… but they are understandably quite concerned with ensuring the payouts continue.

You need to get out there today and vote for Mitt Romney to stop the downward spiral into dependency and bankruptcy that we can see in countries like Greece, Spain and Italy. We can see it happening over there, don’t let it happen here.

Explosion at government-run Amuay refinery, nationalized by Venezuela in 1976

Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?
Are Barack Obama and Hugo Chavez very different?

In the United States, we’ve been seeing some efforts by the Marxist Obama administration to nationalize the auto industry and health care, too. This is what communists favor as the alternative to the free-market system. It makes sense, then, to look at how well the nationalization of assets, especially those owned by foreign-owned private companies, works out in the real world.

Let’s see:

The Creole Petroleum Corporation was an American oil company, formed in 1920 to produce fields on Lake Maracaibo, Venezuela.[1] The company was acquired by Standard Oil of New Jerseyin 1928. Until 1951 Creole Petroleum was the world’s number one oil producer.[2]

In 1950, Creole opened its refinery at Amuay.[3] This is now a part of the Paraguaná Refinery Complex.

The Venezuelan assets of Creole Petroleum Corporation were nationalized along with those of other foreign oil firms on January 1, 1976, becoming part of Lagoven, a Venezuelan government-owned operating company.[4]

And here is the latest triumph of Marxist economics in Venezuela:

A huge explosion rocked Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery early Saturday, killing at least 24 people and injuring more than 80 others in the deadliest disaster in memory for the country’s key oil industry.

Balls of fire rose over the Amuay refinery, one of the largest in the world, in video posted on the Internet by people who were nearby at the time.

At least 86 people were injured, nine of them seriously, Health Minister Eugenia Sader said at a hospital where the wounded were taken. She said 77 people suffered light injuries and were released from the hospital.

Officials said those killed included a 10-year-old boy, but that most of the victims were National Guard troops stationed at the refinery.

Filthy capitalist dogs! Making money on the backs of the poor workers! Making them work in filthy, unsafe – oh, wait. When workers are left free to take their skills to a number of private employers, then those employers are pressured to provide them with better working conditions, wages and benefits. Otherwise the employees leave for better companies. The only problem is that it doesn’t work if all the industries are state-run monopolies. Then, you just get KA-BOOM!

All you have to do to understand economic systems is to compare capitalist Chile with communist Venezuela. The people are the same, and both started out poor. One embraced free trade and privatization, and now that one is rich. The other one gets Chernobyl explosions because they elected a Marxist.

Venezuela’s economic policy is the same economic policy that Barack Obama wants to force on us with his takeover of General Motors, his frequent bailouts, his give-aways to campaign fundraisers, his blocking of free trade deals, his heavy-handed anti-business regulations, and his other intrusions into the private sector. Our entire economy is going KA-BOOM right now because of Marxism.

Related posts

Walter Williams on CEO salaries and celebrity salaries

Walter Williams
Walter Williams

From CNS News.


It turns out that the top 10 CEOs have an average salary of $43 million, which pales in comparison with America’s top 10 celebrities, who earn an average salary of $100 million.

When you recognize that celebrities earn salaries that are some multiples of CEO salaries, you have to ask: Why is it that rich CEOs are demonized and not celebrities? A clue might be found if you asked: Who’s doing the demonizing?

It turns out that the demonizing is led by politicians and leftists with the help of the news media, and like sheep, the public often goes along. Why demonize CEOs? My colleague Dr. Thomas Sowell explained it in his brand-new book, “The Thomas Sowell Reader.” One of his readings, titled “Ivan and Boris – and Us,” starts off with a fable of two poor Russian peasants.

Ivan finds a magic lamp and rubs it, and the jinni grants him one wish. As it turns out, Boris has a goat, but Ivan doesn’t. Ivan’s wish is for Boris’ goat to die. That vision reflects the feelings of too many Americans. If all CEOs worked for nothing, it would mean absolutely little or nothing to the average American’s bottom line.

For politicians, it’s another story: Demonize people whose power you want to usurp. That’s the typical way totalitarians gain power. They give the masses someone to hate. In 18th-century France, it was Maximilien Robespierre’s promoting hatred of the aristocracy that was the key to his acquiring more dictatorial power than the aristocracy had ever had.

In the 20th century, the communists gained power by promoting public hatred of the czars and capitalists. In Germany, Adolf Hitler gained power by promoting hatred of Jews and Bolsheviks. In each case, the power gained led to greater misery and bloodshed than anything the old regime could have done.

Let me be clear: I’m not equating America’s liberals with Robespierre, Josef Stalin and Hitler. I am saying that promoting jealousy, fear and hate is an effective strategy for politicians and their liberal followers to control and micromanage businesses.

Tom sent me this article that shows that raising taxes on the wealthy doesn’t even produce more revenue.


All this nostalgia about the good old days of 70% tax rates makes it sound as though only the highest incomes would face higher tax rates. In reality, there were a dozen tax rates between 48% and 70% during the 1970s… the individual income tax actually brought in less revenue when the highest tax rate was 70% to 91% than it did when the highest tax rate was 28%.

[…]President John F. Kennedy’s across-the-board tax cuts reduced the lowest and highest tax rates to 14% and 70% respectively after 1964, yet revenues (after excluding the 5%-10% surtaxes of 1969-70) rose to 8% of GDP. President Reagan’s across-the-board tax cuts further reduced the lowest and highest tax rates to 11% and 50%, yet revenues rose again to 8.3% of GDP. The 1986 tax reform slashed the top tax rate to 28%, yet revenues dipped trivially to 8.1% of GDP.

Why would a Christian care how much money other people have at all? If you see someone who is poor, help them. If you see someone who needs a gift, give them a gift. The Bible teaches individual charity – you choose who to give your money to and how much to give, after you’ve paid your taxes to Caesar. I think it’s time that we took the Bible seriously on money… there are an awful lot of people sinning by breaking people into groups based on how much money they have – or what the color of their skin is. You do the best you can with what you can earn, and stop being concerned about taking money from people who have more than you do. The purpose of life is not to make everyone happy by making the secular government allocate everyone an equal amount of stuff – how unBiblical.

Contrasting the moral motivations of Christians and humanists

First, consider this article from the LA Times, about a South Korean pastor who takes in abandoned, disabled children.


In a country that prizes physical perfection, Pastor Lee Jong-rak, his eyes opened after caring for his own disabled son, has been taking in unwanted infants, who if not for his drop box would be left in the street.

The drop box is attached to the side of a home in a ragged working-class neighborhood. It is lined with a soft pink and blue blanket, and has a bell that rings when the little door is opened.

Because this depository isn’t for books, it’s for babies — and not just any infants; these children are the unwanted ones, a burden many parents find too terrible to bear.

One is deaf, blind and paralyzed; another has a tiny misshapen head. There’s a baby with Down syndrome, another with cerebral palsy, still another who is quadriplegic, with permanent brain damage.

But to Pastor Lee Jong-rak, they are all perfect. And they have found a home here at the ad hoc orphanage he runs with his wife and small staff. It is the only private center for disabled children in South Korea.

“This is a facility for the protection of life,” reads a hand-scrawled sign outside the drop box. “If you can’t take care of your disabled babies, don’t throw them away or leave them on the street. Bring them here.”

Since 1998, Lee, now 57, has taken in nearly three dozen children — raised them, loved them, sent them to school. He has changed their diapers, tended to their cries in the middle of the night. Today, he has 21 wards: the youngest a 2-month-old, the oldest 18.

His motivation is painfully personal. Twenty-five years ago, Lee’s wife, Chun-ja, gave birth to a baby so disfigured Lee kept the boy from her for a month until he could figure out a way to tell her the unthinkable, explaining only that the child had a serious illness and was rushed to another hospital.

The baby was born with cerebral palsy. A mammoth cyst on his head choked off the blood flow, slowly rendering him brain-damaged. Doctors gave him months to live.

Today he lies on a bed in Lee’s home, his legs splayed at impossible angles, his feet turned back inward. Eyeing the room impassively, he occasionally lets out a snort or sigh, as his parents regularly vacuum his saliva through a tracheal hole in his throat. They call him Eun-man, which means full of God’s grace.

Let’s take a closer look at what counts as morality in a Christian worldview.

Christianity and self-sacrificial personal morality

Well, first of all, the moral activity is proceeding from a true worldview. The worldview of Christian theism is grounded on facts. A scientific case can be made for the existence of God, from the origin of the universe, the cosmic fine-tuning, the origin of life, the Cambrian explosion, habitability and so forth. Second that case can be augmented by philosophical arguments like the ontological argument from reason, the epistemological argument from evil, the moral argument, and so forth. And finally, a historical argument can be made made for the resurrection of Jesus, which shows the self-sacrificial and loving character of God.

Most importantly, the Christian worldview holds that our happiness is not the purpose of life. The purpose of life is to be rightly related to God the Father, and that this knowing God can involve some self-sacrificial suffering. The purpose of life is not for us to feel happy, to be liked by others, or to be concerned about equalizing the distributions of material possessions through government. What is required of Christians is that they sacrifice their own interests on an individual basis and help their neighbors personally, etc. There is little mention of accomplishing good through government, the emphasis is all on personal morality. Any earning, saving and spending that we do is expected to be partly for the goal of helping others directly. We don’t concern ourselves with the decisions that others are making with respect to earning, saving and spending. We don’t care about how rich or poor someone is. We just care about our own ability to earn, save and spend – with the goal of making all of it serve God.

Additionally, we are commanded to give reasons for what we believe, based on good science, good philosophy and good history.

Morality on secular humanism

Now let’s contrast that outward-focused example of good behavior, based on a true worldview, with the “morality” of secular humanism. This article written by Rick Heller, from The Humanist.


If solving the climate change problem were as simple as handing out light bulbs, we’d be all set. This April, three dozen humanists paired up like Mormon missionaries and rang doorbells in Cambridge, Massachusetts—but not to spread a message of faith. Instead, they gave away free energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs to residents who surrendered their old-fashioned incandescent bulbs in exchange. Coming at the conclusion of the American Humanist Association’s 2011 conference, this community service project collected a couple hundred energy-hogging bulbs for reuse in children’s crafts projects.

Technological improvements such as better light bulbs are part of the solution to the climate problem. But events like the 2010 BP oil spill into the Gulf of Mexico and the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima nuclear complex make it hard to place all one’s faith in large-scale engineering projects. Furthermore, Boston College economist Juliet Schor warns that the growth in consumption has been outpacing efficiency improvements. “We get more efficient, but that makes people want to buy more energy, because it’s effectively cheaper,” she told me. “So you have to control the demand.”

But people typically don’t want less; they want more. That may be why some even deny the reality of climate change. What if we could offer the prospect of more satisfaction, but in a different form that was less damaging to the planet? People could have more of what they really want—to feel good—while purchasing fewer things that depend on atmosphere-polluting industries.

First, what is the basis for action in secular humanism? Well, in secular humanism, the universe is an accident, and there is no objective meaning or purpose to the universe as a whole. There is no objective moral law that specifies what humans ought to do in secular humanism. Inalienable human rights are also not grounded because there is no Creator to ground them. However, people have happy feelings, so the humanists have decided that we should maximize happy feelings and call that “morality”. (It’s not clear to me how this would not be competitive, since what makes you happy may not make me happy). Humanists act to maximize their own happiness. (And really, by happiness, I mean self-indulgence, as opposed to the Christian sense of happiness which is more like eudaimonia). Humanists are not acting on the motives of the South Korean pastor to comply with an objective moral standard by serving God self-sacrificially or by imitating Christ’s suffering and obedience.

The global  warming myth as a noble lie

Rick appeals to global warming as a reason why we should constrain our consumption. I agree that people should reduce their consumption voluntarily, and I would incentivize that with tax-free savings accounts, etc. But I don’t think that global warming should be used to persuade people to reduce their consumption, because man-made global warming is a false view. The myth of global warming, (which was the myth of global cooling 30 years ago and will become the myth of global cooling 30 years from now), serves two purposes in the secular humanist mythology.

The first purpose of global warming/cooling mythology is to allow people to substitute easy/fake virtues, like recycling for hard/real virtues, like chastity and fidelity. That way, they can be “moral” without having to really deny themselves, especially in sexual areas. Second, the global cooling/warming mythology allows them to draw the wider public into supporting a political program of wealth redistribution and government control. This means that a person can be moral not by giving away their own money to the poor, but by taxing their productive neighbor in order to redistribute that wealth to favored groups. Note that recycling and redistributing wealth are not the same as being self-controlled or being faithful to your wife or taking care of disabled children. It’s not about personal self-denial.

If you want to understand the dangers of pursuing happy feelings instead of self-sacrificial morality, just think of liberal politicians like Bill Clinton, John Edwards, and Elliott Spitzer. They will rail and rail about the evil rich  in speeches and receive applause from people who envy the rich and covet their wealth. But then they go out and cheat on their wives in private. They major in redistributive rhetoric but minor in personal sexual morality. Their goal is feelings of happiness – not the obligation to do right when it goes against their self-interest. They feel happy when people applaud them for wanting to take money from one group and give it to another.

They get feelings of happiness from indulging in sinful behavior in private. But there is no self-denial and self-sacrifice in the personal realm, especially on sexual issues. The recycling is meant to provide cover for them to reject traditional moral obligations. The public speeches about wealth redistribution also “balance out” the private vices. That’s why Bill Clinton can still claim to be a good person after cheating on his wife – being willing to redistribute the wealth of others made him a good person, he thinks – and he didn’t have to do anything personally self-sacrificial. 

Is mindfulness the answer?

And this is where we get back to Rick’s article. Rick isn’t advocating easy substitute moralities or wealth redistribution as a path to feelings of happiness.  He is trying to get people to generate happy feelings by themselves by reflecting on the wonders of the things they already own or have access to, like roses and fingers and such. He is very clear that he doesn’t want secular humanists to be grateful to God, though. He just wants them to spend more time acknowledging stimulating things that they’ve been ignoring. He hopes that this will cause them to become less interested in consumption and consumerism, because they appreciate what they already have. He wants them to voluntarily constrain their own material consumption, in order to fight global warming/cooling. So what should Christians make of this?

Well, this would be a good idea, I think, because it might remove a lot of the envy that left-wing politicians tap into in order to lead envious people down the road to serfdom. If non-Christians stop being taken in by flowery speeches about wealth redistribution, then we will all be a lot more free and prosperous. It seems to me that it is a lot less harmful for non-Christians to reduce their guilty feelings through “mindfulness” than by supporting passing price controls, minimum wage increases, carbon taxes, and so forth, as a way to get goodies without having to work for them. I don’t think that it provides a rational basis for morality, but it might provide an emotional basis for resisting socialist rhetoric.

It would also be a good idea for us to encourage non-Christians to stop spending so much money. The massive national debt that we are accumulating will be bad for our future freedom and prosperity. It is also bad for future generations who will be saddled with crushing debt. Charitable enterprises like the South Korean pastor’s drop box operation run on private donations. The more we restrain spending and make people immune to the secular left’s envy rhetoric, the less government will spend, and the more money we Christians will have in our pockets for charity. We need to keep what we earn in order to love God effectively. The government will never sponsor something like a William Lane Craig vs. Christopher Hitchens debate. We need to keep more of our own money so that we can fund that debate.

Self-sacrifice as a way of relating to God in Christ

As good as Rick’s idea is, it still doesn’t go as far as Christian morality goes.

Consider what morality is like in the normal Christian life. The normal Christian is always trying to give of his own self and possessions in order to help others – and not because it makes him feel good, but because it really IS objectively good – it is his way of imitating Christ and having a relationship with God based on the experience of acting on God’s value system. It is because we have a Creator and a Designer that we have an obligation to act in a particular way – there is a way we ought to be, in other words.

We don’t need other people to celebrate our speeches to make up for our rebellion and guilt. We don’t need to have “Chastity Pride” marches or “Fidelity Pride” marches or “Taking Care of Disabled Children” marches. We are not trying to feel happy by doing what we do. We already know that what we are doing is good. We don’t need to force people to celebrate our decisions or to make others be like us through public school indoctrination. We get a sense of joy and fulfillment from the relationship with God. It’s not happiness as self-indulgence, it’s human flourishing according to an objective design. We were designed to be in a relationship with God, and that relationship requires enduring suffering, not avoiding it.

Thomas Sowell explains why third-world countries are so poor

Thomas Sowell

Mary sent me this article from TownHall.com.


The idea that the rich have gotten rich by making the poor poor has been an ideological theme that has played well in Third World countries, to explain why they lag so far behind the West.

[…]There is obviously something there with very deep emotional appeal. Moreover, because nothing is easier to find than sins among human beings, there will never be a lack of evil deeds to make that explanation seem plausible.

Because the Western culture has been ascendant in the world in recent centuries, the image of rich white people and poor non-white people has made a deep impression, whether in theories of racial superiority– which were big among “progressives” in the early 20th century– or in theories of exploitation among “progressives” later on.

In a wider view of history, however, it becomes clear that, for centuries before the European ascendancy, Europe lagged far behind China in many achievements. Since neither of them changed much genetically between those times and the later rise of Europe, it is hard to reconcile this role reversal with racial theories.

More important, the Chinese were not to blame for Europe’s problems– which would not be solved until the Europeans themselves finally got their own act together, instead of blaming others. If they had listened to people like Jeremiah Wright, Europe might still be in the Dark Ages.

It is hard to reconcile “exploitation” theories with the facts. While there have been conquered peoples made poorer by their conquerors, especially by Spanish conquerors in the Western Hemisphere, in general most poor countries were poor for reasons that existed before the conquerors arrived. Some Third World countries are poorer today than they were when they were ruled by Western countries, generations ago.

It’s sad, because when I talk to many people from other countries, like Mexico and Greece, they blame the United States for their own bad decisions, instead of imitating United States policies. Maybe if Mexico and Greece stopped blaming others and started trying to imitate the best countries, then they would be more like Chile. A few decades ago, Chile made a decision to re-make their economy to be more American than America. And the result is that they are seeing record economic growth. Prosperity has nothing to do with skin color – just with policies. Chile embraced good economic policies and now they are much richer than before. The main thing to do is to make sure that you have economists in charge, not community organizers. Canada has an economist in charge, and they just scored DOUBLE the GDP growth of the United States. Knowledge matters.