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Rigging the Economy in the Name of 'Fairness'

In his inaugural speech, President Barack Obama famously declared, "We can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect." I share his concern, but I'm even more worried that his solution -- redistributing unearned entitlements while restraining producers -- is what caused the problem in the first place.

The global income gap has already devoured trillions of dollars in foreign aid over the decades, without any sign of improvement. If something isn't working for so long, any rational person would reexamine the theory behind it. Not the champions of equality, however. They continue to demand foreign aid with the moral smugness of someone who owns exclusive rights to the definition of "fairness." But there is a reason why aiding despotic quasi-socialist regimes has never resulted in a prosperous nation.

So far it has only resulted in a bizarre symbiosis between the self-righteous champions of "fairness" in the West and the crooked third-world despots, who have long figured out that "equality" is a great excuse to violate property rights, "fairness" is a license to abuse the law, "justice " legitimizes dictatorial rule, "redistribution of wealth" allows looting, and foreign aid is their reward for doing all of the above and keeping the people hungry.

It couldn't have happened any other way because the enforcement of all such ideas requires a serious intrusion into the people's lives by the omnipresent state, which also must own all of the nation's resources. This makes any president of such a state an ultimate omnipotent ruler of the land and its people. Naturally, in the absence of individual rights, opportunities, and the rule of law, the president's seat becomes a magnet for an endless array of warlords, military thugs, and leaders of nationalistic mobs driven by collective greed and selfishness. Most of these leaders have no idea how to run a country, don't care, and may never have wanted it -- if it weren't also a magic key that makes its master a virtual owner of all the foreign aid, gold, diamonds, or whatever else Western geologists can find in the bowels of the state-owned land. This helps to account for the record number of military coups, civil wars, and bloody atrocities happening in the third world today.

This kind of bloodletting would be greatly curtailed if political elites didn't have control over the ownership and redistribution of the nation's property. Few warlords would want to stage a bloody coup and take over a government whose functions are limited to protecting individual rights and liberties. For that to happen, property must be privately owned by individual citizens and protected by the rule of law from fraud, coercion, violence, and the dictate of the state. Unleashing the powers of capitalism and free markets would make foreign aid unnecessary; it would be replaced by private investments once the opportunities and the rule of law are in place, and a more prosperous population would eventually be able to take care of itself without anyone's help.

But the self-righteous defenders of "fairness" would never allow that to happen. For them it would mean to surrender their "civilizing" influence over the minds of people in favor of "greed," "selfishness," and "evil corporations." It would also entail the loss of their moral authority, and with it, the power to control world affairs, which they presently enjoy.

Note that all the currently warring mobs justify their actions by the desire to take better care of the people, enforce fairness, improve redistribution, and use similar quasi-Marxist rhetoric, which has become a prerequisite for the official recognition of a regime by the "world community." Once in power, they spend their days stealing foreign aid, pilfering the country, looting their neighbors, and fighting off uprisings led by similar thugs who also promise to fight corruption, enforce fairness, and improve redistribution. A sufficient warning sign that the system is failing is the fact that no foreign-aid-sponsored president steps down voluntarily. The greatest fear of all ex-dictators is to become equal with the people they once "cared about" -- poor, powerless, and vulnerable to abuse by any new thug in power.

Granted, the "caring" rhetoric as a disguise for abuse and thuggishness is not limited to third world despots. It exists in any society that accepts rigging the game in the name of "fairness" as its official ideology.

I have seen it in abundance while living in the USSR, but that is what my next chapter will be about.

Coming soon: "How Much for a Forced Global Equality?"