Monday, July 16, 2007

The Zombies Are Coming

Cranmer nicely sums up what is it that's so plain yukky about IDS' superficially reasonable call for 'social justice'. It's the implicit requirement for interventionist government to ram that justice down our throat.

There's more to it than that though. The ever-excellent Cube of the Proletariat points out one problem with this kind of rhetoric. It assumes that the successful are, by definition, guilty of underhand conduct. The problem is not only that, by legitimising the demonisation of the successful, this worldview discourages success but also, as the yin to that yang, it encourages those behaviours that lead to failure. In fact, in so far as this kind of logic suggests there's something inevitable about conflict between serving the public and being successful, far from encouraging social cohesion, this theory would seem to suggest the inevitability of a permanent state of class war between the successful (selfish) and the socially-responsible (losers).

Needless to say, it's kind of strange to see a soi dissant Conservative seeming to endorse one of the central tenets of Marxism, but even that's not it. It's more basic than that. The real defence of the successful isn't just that they pay lots of tax, employ people or do a lot of work for charidee. It's that in a capitalist society, more than any other, simply by doing the things that make them successful, these people serve the greater good. Look at one of the Left's favourite objects of hate: pharmaceutical companies. To survive they simply must produce worthwhile medicines. Does the system always work ? Probably not, but they're still doing more to push medicine forward than any number of GPs knocking off at 17:00 on the dot, and claiming special grants for the equivalent of Ford making sure their cars don't explode.

That's it, that's the thing. The successful have got that way because, in some way, they've given the public what they want, yet under the warped paradigm of social justice, getting filthy rich by the voluntarily exchange of goods and services is somehow perceived as morally inferior to existence as a lifeless, public sector zombie surviving on money forcibly extracted from the worthwhile and productive. To Hell (and a job in the private sector) with that!

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