Saturday, April 27, 2013

Class Warfare

The idea of class warfare, a term that to some means horror and to some means utopia, comes from the Communist Manifesto.

“The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat.” (Communist Manifesto 1848 part two.)

The Manifesto states that there must be war between the haves and the have-nots, battles in the streets, riots, and burning down of buildings. The idea is that those who are successful must either redistribute their wealth to those who are not, or must pay the consequences for it in social revolutions.
The idea of redistribution of wealth and even of land is as old and perhaps even older than the Greek Republic, when in the 500s B.C. the reformer Solon was asked to redistribute the wealth of the rich to those less fortunate.
In modern America, Columnist Richard Reeves said yesterday “…there is indeed raging class war in the United States.”
The class warfare mentality states that those who have nothing should take it from those who do, as seen in the poem Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling.

they promised abundance for all/By robbing selective Peter/To give to collective Paul.

While there are those who genuinely acquire wealth through unlawful and unjust means, and thus should be punished, many rich men, corporations or families became wealthy through hard work and wise investment. It has been seen that even giving everyone a fresh start does not work.
Solon was not the first Greek reformer, less than 40 years before, another one, Draco, had tried reformation and things were still bad when Solon came on the scene. In fact, over the next 90 years there would be two more major reformations of Athens. However, all four of them stopped short of redistributing land, as they realized that success was not the issue, greed was.
The United States has been a land of equal opportunity, not equal outcome. We do not guarantee that you will be successful, you may start the next Wal-Mart or Google, or you may lose your shirt in the next dot-com collapse. This should not inspire bitterness at the consumers or at those who did succeed. We should understand that capitalism allows the best to survive in the market, there are still opportunities to be employees for those that fail as employers. One of the four market place freedoms1 is the freedom to fail, and many make full use of it.

Andrew C. Abbott

1: These four freedoms are: Freedom to buy, freedom to sell, freedom to try, freedom to fail.

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