Aid, Atonement and Feeding Delusions
Although committed to exhibit proper behavior, your correspondent must notice a few disturbing elephants. This is so even if those that command us how to think place a PC rat to block the view into the foreground. Facing facts might be commanded by common sense: even so, as in the case of the earth being flat, and the sun making rounds around us, reality is easier and safer to ignore than it is to acknowledge it.
The developed world indulges in a Marxist amplified delusion. It explains the lack of success of the failing as a consequence of the criminal feats of the achievers. Those that do well are said to have gained by exploiting the unfortunates. The twisted logic makes lacking achievement into a badge of virtue by branding the “rich” as criminal. “Redistributionary economics” and taxes to “even the playing field,” exploit this tag.
With “redistribution” as a slogan of growing acceptance, we enter the subject of contemporary politics.
A pillar of the project is to correct the mistakes of life (unfair!) and the errors of the market (no reward for the weirdly original!). Supposedly, both conspire not to recompense what should be rewarded and to remunerate what is of little value. Taking from those that do not have it, and giving it to the ones overlooked by fortune, is not a new concept. It recalls Robin Hood who takes to give and who, unlike the redistributors, do not keep what is transacted. Naturally, beyond the yarn, when you encounter Robin Hood in power, he turns out to be more a hood than a benefactor.
Once within a society success becomes a proof of guilt, the ace card is flashed. If successful persons are achievers to the extent that they are the exploiters of decent folks, the matter is raised to the level of “class” and then, from there, to that of nations.
Here the plea. Success is guilt, property is theft, and failure is virtue. Some groups, so the thesis, practice the abuse. To save the helpless victims, the exploiters must be exterminated. Where there is total innocence there must be total guilt. The accused (capitalist, Jews, “class aliens”) being guilty, any means used against them becomes a moral act. That is so even if, normally, that action would be criminal. The inference: the immorality of the victim excuses the perpetrator. Thus, Himmler (Reichsführer SS) talked about the “decency” of his men. This is the blueprint to Auschwitz, the GULAG, North Korean re-education camps, and ISIS’ slaughters.
As we escalate from the guilt of persons to the level of groups — social classes and then nations — we land with modern reaffirmations of the Communist “class struggle” and with the “anti-imperialist” rants of the Greens, “One Worlders,” and “Global Solidarity” advocates. In the following, we shall concentrate on the inequality of outcomes between nations.
In the modern era, the inequality among nations expands. (The “modern era” is a stage that began about 1500, the ending of the Middle Ages.) Traditional explanations attributed discrepancies to race, collective IQ, and climate. Now fashionable theories explain the difference with “colonialism” and with capitalist exploitation. Even if popular, these theories will not hold the water they promise to contain. “Culture,” which includes good governance, the ability to cope with reverses, not to seek equality by demolishing the successful, the tolerance of originality coupled to the appreciation for useful traditions, is part of it. If an amalgam is achieved, the result will be a “successful society.”
It has become stylish to attribute national success to the same factor that is misused to explain the differing wealth of individuals. The listed causes make no mention of virtue or the possible errors of those examined. Everything results from “exploitation” to which the military domination enabled those that masquerade now as successful societies. This contention does more than to overlook how and why the “better cannon” came about. It also skips the cases when poor-in-resources states, located in dangerous neighborhoods, achieved security, integrity and wealth. Briefly put; Luck is seldom accidental and undeserved.
Accepting that the “gainers are cheaters” explains success has consequences. One is that, to atone for past sins, “aid” money is to be handed to the laggards. At the same time, transgressions are to be overlooked and obligations (the Greek debt!) are to be discounted. It is not surprising that the aid since 1945 — except for the “Marshall Plan” — has produced scant results. Penance might make the well-to-do flagellant feel good. Even then, mea culpas will not help the victims of past wrongs. Money given without controlling its use will finance the bad habits that rate among the root causes of retarded development. The absolution purchased will only be an expression of the ruling elites’ gratitude for financing their life-style. Ferraris and matching highways might sweeten the life of these ruling classes. However, irrational disbursements will stifle the emergence of a new order that makes the masses productive and that allows these to break out of poverty and to create self-generated wealth.
Let the plea against uncontrolled alms be concluded by quoting an uncle that had been active in South America for a global firm. His advice: If you encounter a poor shoemaker in the jungle, you can do two things to help him. You can give him a wad of dollars. That gift will ultimately contribute to his ruin because it teaches an invalid lesson. Or you can order a few pairs of shoes. That will help him to overcome.
Ultimately, there are no free lunches. Misplaced generosity that misunderstands the causes of wealth and poverty can make it appear that the rule does not apply. Transitory as such measures might be, their destructive consequence is inevitable. The for free feast will poison the invited guests because its misguiding signals encourage the use erroneous tactics in the pursuit of unachievable goals.
Neither success nor failure is fully accidental. The help that ignores this will only retard autonomous development and thus it will thicken the chains that restrain communities. Those that try to help but do not understand what funds successful societies, will do more than to misspend the money of their tax paying voters. The attempt to do “good” as a penance will hardly bring absolution; however, it will undermine the intended beneficiaries’ ability to close the developmental gap.