The Politics of Privilege

Carina Driscoll has privilege.  Daughter of Jane Sanders, and step-daughter of Bernie Sanders, she is running for Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, where her step-father was mayor before becoming a socialist Senator.  The way Bernie Sanders discusses privilege, one would think that Carina’s privilege comes from being white, along with the wealth of the Sanders’ family.  I don’t consider that ‘privilege’ however, as to a degree, the natural advantages bestowed by parents on children is fair.  We are not a society of individuals so much as a society of families, and it is only natural for parents to try to give their children a boost ahead in life, to the degree that they are able.  But Carina Driscoll has another form of privilege: when her mother was President of Burlington College, Carina Driscoll owned a woodworking school, and Burlington College funneled over $500,000 into Carina Driscoll’s business while Jane Sanders ran Burlington College bankrupt.  Bankrupting the college you run while giving your daughter a half million dollars of that college’s money, and suffering no consequences, is something I would call privilege.

Chelsea Clinton has privilege.  Her parents, who amassed a $200 million fortune while working in government service, were able to send her to Stanford, Oxford, Columbia University, and the University of New York.  Her first job was as a ‘special correspondent’ for NBC – a position that carried no obligation to work, but had an annual salary of $500,000.  Chelsea Clinton left NBC to work on the Clinton Foundation, which pays her over $900,000 a year, and she has amassed a net worth of $15 million.  To the degree that the Clintons were corrupt, and that the money the Clintons used to forward Chelsea Clinton’s education and career are based on that corruption, Chelsea Clinton has privilege.

I’ll leave the Obama children alone for now, as they are still young.  I will not accuse them of having privilege until or unless their parents do something corrupt to forward their careers.  I will however mention that Barrack Obama sent his children to private schools, while continuously throttling the school voucher programs that could have allowed poor families do the same.

Elizabeth Warren has two children, and a net worth of $8 million.  Nancy Pelosi has five children, and a net worth of $120 million.  It is not hard to find examples of these two prominent Democrats using their political power (and the connections they create through that) to both boost their personal fortunes, and to propel their children forward.

There is nothing wrong with a parent working hard to forward the interests of their children, sending their children to the best schools that they are able to send them, and giving their children some of their wealth to help their children become established.  When politicians use political influence to do the same thing, that’s corruption, and when a child is propelled forward by corrupt means, it is wrong, and that can fairly be called privilege.

Socialists claim to be for the working classes, but time and time again, socialist leaders set themselves apart from the working classes, and use their political power to ensure that their children never have to have to be a part of the working masses either.  Socialists also destroy the profit mechanisms that make it possible to emerge from the working classes.  Joseph Stalin made sure all of his four children were taken care of (though one did die after being captured by the Germans, as an officer in WWII).  Hugo Chavez’ children are among the ruling class of Venezuela today – well insulated from the starvation felt by the masses in Venezuela.  Fidel Castro’s children are well taken care of as a part of the ruling elite in Cuba.  The list goes on and on – the desire to help one’s children is natural and healthy, but whereas under free markets, everyone has the ability to profit from their own efforts (and to use some of that profit to improve the starting points of their children), under socialism, economic power comes from political power, separating society into but two classes: Lord, and serf.  The Lord class becomes hereditary, just as it was under feudalism, and nobody can become a Lord unless the Lords bestow that honor upon them.  As for the masses?  ‘Let them eat cake’.

I would defy anyone to find me any examples of socialist leaders – including prominent socialist politicians in the United States – who had children and did not use whatever political power they had to forward the interests of their children.  Socialists complain about ‘privilege’ in a free market system, where the only ‘privilege’ a child receives is earned by their parents, and at the same time, socialists bestow privilege upon their children through political corruption.  Propelling one’s children forward with wealth earned through hard work and determination does not deny others the ability to do the same for their children, but socialism really is a zero-sum game, in which politicians use political power to give their children advantages nobody else has any means of achieving.  Socialism is not built on the creation of wealth, but rather on envy of those who do not create it against those who do.  Socialism is a lie.

One of the great ironies of socialism is that socialists are just as apt to be corrupt as are capitalists, but unlike capitalists, socialists can forward themselves and their families’ interests through the power of force.  Hugo Chavez did not get rich by building a better widget than anyone else, so that others were happy to give Hugo Chavez their money.  Hugo Chavez, rather, sent government agents to collect whatever earnings other people in Venezuela had, and then he kept that money for himself and his family.  Show me a poor socialist, and I’ll show you a socialist who is not in power.  The world has never seen a socialist in power who shared the plight of his or her people, and the notion that Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, or any other socialist currently seeking power (all people who have already shown a willingness to use political power for self gain and the gain of their children) would suddenly make their children follow the same rules everyone else has to follow – rules for serfs – is laughable.

We all see the faults of free market capitalism.  Some people are greedy, and in a free market, some earn more than others.  A few, in free markets, earn phenomenal sums of wealth, with no requirement to give any of their wealth to others in society, who for whatever reasons have earned less.  Somehow, the adherent to socialism pretends that if we get rid of the ability to accrue wealth, greed too goes away, but that has never happened anywhere, at any time in human history.  Rather, what we see are the socialist ruling class using the power of force to enrich themselves, at the expense of everyone else.  We see this over and over again, wherever socialism is tried.  Add to that the fact that socialism has killed more people than has smallpox, and socialism stops looking altruistic.

The failures in economics are neither found in free markets, nor in socialism, but in the people who live and breathe under either system.  The question becomes one of which imperfect system is better – the one in which some can become remarkably wealthy but in which there are no artificial barriers preventing anyone else from accumulating wealth, or the one built on barriers to wealth where the ruling class has all the wealth as well as the power to keep the serfs in line.

Carina Driscoll can go with socialism, given that her mother and step-father have ensured that she will be one of the privileged Lords.  What will you go with?


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