The Left would have us believe there is only a finite amount of wealth and that wealth is tied directly to the monetary supply of the world. This is, of course, entirely false, but it is critical for Conservatives to be able to understand what this argument means, and how to disarm it.
The distinction between wealth and money is subtle, but it is clear. Wealth is the accumulation of material and immaterial things of value within a societal construct. Money is a system through which a currency is used, in varying values, to be bartered with in order to obtain items associated with wealth. Money in and of itself can be an item of wealth, and the accumulation of it is generally accepted as a means of measuring the wealth of an individual within a societal construct.
Human beings have an inescapable compulsion to measure everything around them. We are unable to ignore that there are those with more wealth and those with less. We’re also involuntarily predisposed to compare one another to the whole of society, and individuals against other individuals. These measurements create divisions within a society. Divisions create a basis for jealousy, and when jealousy is allowed to fester these divisions create fissures that can demoralize and destabilize regions, markets, and eventually the entire economic system of a society.
These fissures are why the Left wins the argument when posing these sorts of notions to their Low Information Voters. The idea that wealth and the monetary supply aren’t directly tied to each other, and that the monetary supply can be increased without action from the Government is often too complex a concept to be grasped by those who are easily sated by handout legislation or promises thereof. Its easy to coerce someone into believing there is only a given amount of money in the world, and that the rich have so much of it that the poor will never be able to rise above their situation to claim their share because the class warfare concept incites jealousy against those who have more than another. This is the core premise behind wealth distributive socialism; the rich will never give up their share of the wealth so as to allow the poor to prosper, so Government must take that wealth from the rich and distribute it evenly to the poor. The Left will never concede that the rich gained their wealth through the creation of wealth which didn’t exist before they became successful; allowing for the idea that wealth can be created independently of Government interaction (i.e.: the printing of money or the regulation of markets) destroys the entire belief system the Left would have their voting base subscribe to. Their premise is that that any accumulated wealth was stolen from the whole of society at the time the wealthy became successful, and that their (the Left) just and righteous leadership is the only means of ensuring the playing field is level again.
Another point to make is that the Left sees and portrays the world in terms of “fair share”. This is a fallacy as well, as it implies that there is only so much energy that an individual can expend to influence their livelihood, and since there are those who have taken more than their fair share of that energy from the system the only just and right thing for them to do is give back what they don’t use. Success isn’t directly tied to the value of the possessions and/or wealth one consumes throughout their lives. Instead, mistakenly, wealth is directly associated with material accumulation above and beyond what is necessary for a “middle class” family to survive. Note, I didn’t say “thrive”, but to simply survive. The “middle class” is generally defined as those working class individuals who, through the progression of their working lives, have been able to develop enough personal purchasing power that they are able to take time away from work in order to enjoy that purchasing power. Simply put, if you are not living from paycheck to paycheck, forever tied to an occupation, regardless of its fulfillment and enrichment of your life, and you can take time off without a penalty to your quality of life, you are considered “middle class”. This creates a general societal hatred from those who haven’t been able to leverage their labor output into a career that supports an ability for the pursuit of leisure toward those who have, and even more so, toward those who have leveraged their careers into something more lucrative than a “middle class” existence.
Class warfare is something we, as Conservatives, are generally unable to defend ourselves against. Conservatism typically doesn’t recognize class warfare as a relevant argument when discussing economics because, in the economic systems we support, there are no barriers to upward mobility for those who find themselves at the relative bottom of the economic food chain, as it were, nor are there barriers to failure for those who find themselves at the top. The CEO of Apple today can find themselves unable to pay their mortgage due to failures on their part next month in a truly Free Market Capitalistic economy, the same as the janitor the Apple CEO used to employ could find themselves the CEO of their own billion dollar corporation as time progresses.
The Left has utilized the instruments of Government to reward their friends and punish their enemies. The primary tool is the Progressive Tax Code, which is specifically designed to levy a heavier tax burden on those whose incomes are above certain benchmarks. The argument supporting this type of system is “the rich have enough money, so they are better able to afford to pay their fair share of the Government’s obligations.” That sounds all well and good, unless you’re wealthy. Then it sounds like you’ve been singled out for your success, which is what has generated the money you have access to. According to the Left, if you make more you can afford more, so you should pay more. This ignores barriers that your income creates should you choose to attempt to access many of the Government social safety net systems that your wealth is being confiscated in order to fund. As a wealthy individual, your income taxes are all that the Left are interested in. Your access to means tested wealth redistribution programs designed solely to support those without your means is irrelevant, regardless of the language used to motivate the voting base to cast ballots that condemn you to a lifetime of supporting systems that do not support you.
Jealousy is such a strong emotion. The Left is able to show the stark disparity between the haves and the have-nots by creating a rift between their definition of the socioeconomic lower class and the classes they’ve designated above the poor, thus winning the argument. All the while they’ll hide the truth about what wealth creation really means, because to allow for their Low Information Voter base to understand the true power they hold is to risk the possibility of those voters realizing they do not need to support the Dependency State. The Left’s goal isn’t to tell the truth about how wealth is created, but to mislead the Low Information Voter into conceding their individual rights to the greater whole in return for a promise of normalcy and equality.