It’s Christmas, Not Class-based Politics Season

Member Group : Jerry Shenk

Christmas should be a joyous, hopeful season, but too many Americans subordinate hope to politics.

Among the most troubling features of the American left’s message is its incessant, thoughtless, class-based demagoguery. Progressives’ view of the American Dream includes invidious narratives about who’s been cheated, by whom, how badly and why. Much of the essence of their agenda is context-free, emotion-arousing grievance and envy.

It exists, but real third-world poverty is rare in America. So is extravagant wealth. Nonetheless, left-wing messages propagandize the polar extremes. Absolute terms — haves vs. have-nots, 1 percent vs. 99 percent — recognize no middle ground, yet most Americans live somewhere in the middle.

In purely material terms, most lower-earning households today are far better off than sixty years ago when the majority of today’s older people – Democrats and Republicans – were raised modestly in smaller, less comfortable homes with far fewer amenities and conveniences.

Sadly, thoughtless, class-based politics poisons public discourse and diminishes America.

Confiscating the honestly-earned rewards of “more fortunate“ Americans to provide benefits for others, including many who are able-bodied, may seem fair, but it’s wrong. In fact, the American jurisdictions with the greatest income disparities have been governed for generations by liberal Democrats.

Ironically, victimized by lousy schools, harmful social engineering, job-killing policies and political self-interest, people who have been failed by liberal governance are those most likely to turn to government to sustain them. Politicians oblige because dependency provides large, demoralized voting blocs for elected class warriors who promise “free stuff.”

More successful Americans still rely on others who share their lives — families, friends, co-workers, churches, communities — but taxpayer-funded government handouts give recipients a false sense of independence without spiritual anchors: the satisfaction of personal accomplishments, a spirit of mutual obligation and social responsibility. Politicians who promise to solve inequality by expanding social welfare programs and redistributing wealth aren’t serious about solutions. They’re part of the problem.

History, economics and social experience show that the best ways to reduce income inequality, raise the living standards of the middle class and those at the lower end of the economic scale are not with partisan political spectacles or government handouts, but through individual responsibility and policies that grow the economy. Growth, along with the broad opportunities growth engenders, discredits the notion that individual success is a zero-sum game.

The core solutions to closing the income gap are education, work, sound marriages, families, personal responsibility and economic growth.

Equal opportunity is built into the American system. Though the equality of outcomes isn’t guaranteed, any able-bodied, sound-minded person who receives a meaningful education, lives responsibly, works hard and makes good choices can do well.

Generous Americans will always look after those who genuinely cannot help themselves, but responsible, intrinsically-motivated people understand that what enriches life and generates pride, that lasts in people’s lives and sustains them are the things they achieve themselves in an American system that encourages success.

A New Year is approaching. Opportunities abound. There is always hope.

Merry Christmas!