Barack Obama, in defending his 'spread the wealth,' redistributionist tax policies, recently said:
"John McCain and Sarah Palin they call this socialistic. You know I don’t know when, when they decided they wanted to make a virtue out of selfishness."
Isn't just like a socialist to describe your desire to make your own decisions about how to spend the money you've earned as 'selfish'?
What could be more selfish than someone thinking you should give them your money so they can spend it instead of you? Please note - they don't want to redistribute their own funds - no, they want to take your funds and give them away.
It's also a rather popular media ploy - to attack a logical argument with - what did the Clintons call it? - the 'politics of personal destruction.' You are no longer 'good' if you think you can do a better job of spending your funds than the government. Now, you are being 'selfish' if you don't want to give your money to the government so it can give it to someone else, instead.
And this is, indeed, a media ploy, as well as a poor defense against a policy rejected by the majority of Americans. Dictionary.com defines 'selfish' as:
"devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one's own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others"
Under this definition, Obama seems to be saying that Republicans, conservatives and even many Democrats care only for themselves, without regard to our fellow man.
But then, that's in keeping with what Democrats believe. Remember the interview with Ohio Democrat Party Chairman Chris Redfern on NewsTalk 1370 WSPD?
As I wrote on August 27, 2008, the date of the interview:
"When morning show host Fred Lefebvre used his board operator, Don Zellars, as an example of someone who wants to know why he has to pay for other people's homes and food while struggling to pay for his own, Redfern's comment was that Don must feel really good inside knowing he's helping so many people.
Redfern explained that America needs to tax people to provide charitable services through the government because, without forcing people through taxation, most Americans wouldn't help take care of the 'least among us.' When Fred pointed out that Don would be happy to help 'the least among us' if government weren't taking so much of his money first, Redfern said:
"I suspect Don would, but unfortunately, most Americans would not - and if we remove that kind of support, stratagem, then you remove the entire reason for having any kind of projects, programs, initiatives..."
This is the driving philosophy behind calling us selfish - the idea that if government doesn't FORCE us, through the power of law, to 'give,' we wouldn't do it.
However, nothing could be further from the truth. Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University and author of "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism," documents that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives. Brooks found:
-- Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).
-- Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.
-- Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.
-- Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.
-- In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.
-- People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.
Brooks demonstrates a correlation between charitable behavior and "the values that lie beneath" liberal and conservative labels. Two influences on charitable behavior are religion and attitudes about the proper role of government.
You see, conservatives believe the duty to help others is their own - and not something they should abdicate to the government. And because we disagree on the METHOD of caring for others, Obama calls us selfish.
What's truly selfish is that the individuals supporting Obama and this 'share the wealth' philosophy believe they should be given what other people have - just because. I don't have X, you do, therefore, I should be given part of your X. Talk about selfishness and greed!
The biggest tragedy of the politics of selfishness is the emphasis on the money and the spending. By calling conservatives 'selfish' it focuses the discussion on a personal attribute, rather than the proper role of government. The question really isn't 'is a person selfish' because they don't believe in redistributionist tax policies, the proper question we should be asking is this: Is it the proper role of government to take something from a citizen of this country in order to give it to another citizen?
This is not about jointly sharing the costs of such public infrastructures as roads, or about interstate commerce, or even mutual defense of the country and persons. This is about whether or not the property you acquire is free from confiscation by the government in order to gift it to another.
As I said in my Toledo Free Press column, our founders would be appalled:
Ben Franklin said, “When the people find that they can vote themselves money, that will herald the end of the republic.”
Thomas Jefferson wrote, “To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.”
And James Madison said, “Charity is no part of the legislative duty of the government.”
But I suppose Obama, Democrat leaders and others would call them 'selfish' too.