The Republicans always have a hard time offering a counter-argument to the Democrats’ favorite message of “fairness,” and it is easy to see why. Recently, I had the pleasure to speak with Don Smith of the Don Smith Show to discuss my new book. Because it was relevant to the book and the time, he had asked me about fairness.
Although fairness is a catchy and unfortunately powerful one-word slogan, it is not easily answered or debunked without providing a detailed explanation. This argument is not only wrong, but it is immoral and despotic, which inherently becomes dangerous to any society let alone a free society. In our society today, admittedly, there is a good deal of unfair structural conditions, but it wasn’t always this way, and does not have to be such a formidable restriction on us today.
It is true that some citizens are more prosperous than others, and it is also true that politicians exploit our innate envy, but success for a much deeper and profound reason cannot be chastised – it must be celebrated. Let me provide an explanation.
Thomas Jefferson frequently referred to a “natural aristocracy” juxtaposed to the “artificial aristocracy” that infected the governments of Europe, which our Founding Fathers meant for society to recognize in order to later provide and serve the greater good. These were individuals of immense virtue and talent, whom of which utilized those faculties to become successful; and yes, that meant that they would typically become wealthy – often very wealthy.
But this was, and should still be, a cause for celebration not resentment. Unlike the artificial aristocracy, their wealth freed them of monetary incentive during a tenure in public service, while their virtue allowed for them to make correct decisions despite popular misguided public sentiment. An excerpt from my book, “Our Virtuous Republic” explains:
The spoils of their talents, education, and hard work, came in the form of economic independence; upon examination, “the lessons of history indicated that without an economically independent, educated, leisured order of society standing securely and permanently above the petty selfishness and multitudes” which exist in pure democracy and collectivism.¹ Members of society at such a station, coupled with “psychological freedom,” can better provide public service absent monetary ambition.² Private success was not envied or criticized, it was celebrated, just so long as the individual remained committed to the principle of community and satisfied their civic obligations.
In other words, this is the difference between ending up with a public servant such as Benjamin Franklin, whom of which took not a dime from taxpayer-funded salary in service to his community, or ending up with “artificial” leaders such as Anthony Wiener. I use the former congressman because of the current events, however, you can take your pick. The greater point is that one candidate to be a public servant is indebted to nobody, is self-sufficient, believes in the truth of justice, and wavers not in the face of popular pressure.
On the hand, the other owes his life and career to another, and folds like a cheap suit to ensure his own survival despite what is right or wrong. This is a man who is little able to preserve and protect freedom because he, himself, is not free. He is merely one of the “most abject slaves” who are indebted to others.³ He has little choice but to win elections by pinning his fellow-citizens against each other with arguments such as the perceived “fairness” or injustice of society.
The natural aristocrat is “psychologically free,” serves only truth, and abides by his own sense of what may or may not be for the greater good of the whole of society. He is independent in his own need, thus he spends his time – when not serving others in his public office – challenging himself and his talents to produce marvels such as the lightning rod and a safer, cheaper means for the poor to heat their homes. Of course, I speak of the Franklin Stove, both of which he again took not one dime in royalties for their production.
Progressives, no doubt, will cry that the wealthy are not providing their civic duty to their community, and to this I answer, neither is government. Whatever services they provide now will cause great pain later, for which they will have no answer to remedy. Furthermore, whatever shrinking from civic duty is occurring among the wealthy is the product of removing the obligation to one’s community through big government and secularization – but that is a whole other column (actually it is a whole other book if you get my point).
What has Anthony Wiener contributed to his fellow-citizens? How often does he follow his own moral compass against popular pressure for the greater good of the whole of society? This is a man who cannot even follow his moral compass for the greater good of his own family. Thus, how much can we assume he will care for the people as Mayor of New York City? But he can certainly fall back on the fairness argument and attack the wealthy and successful – or Benjamin Franklin.
¹ Bailyn, Bernard. The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution. pg. 284 Cambridge, MA: Belknap of Harvard University Press, 1992
² Reference to virtuous or “self-actualized” individuals as described by the humanist psychologist, Abraham Maslow, who possess the ability to make their own moral decisions in spite of contrary popular opinion or cultural norms.
³ Adams. Samuel. Quoted from Wells, William V. The Life and Public Services of Samuel Adams. Vol. 1 pg. 22 – 23 Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1865
I Still Believe That Enough Americans Understand The Truth In Natural Law – Enough To Teach And/Or Remind The Rest – My Proof Is Below
@Peoples_Pundit @kburnham4 Inequalities of mind & body are estab by God in our nature, that no policy can ever plane them down to level. – Adams
— Lakewood Bob (@lakewoodbob) June 4, 2013
@Peoples_Pundit @kburnham4 Conflict between ideal of freedom & distribution of incomes to be more “just” is obstructed by rule of law. – Hayek
— Lakewood Bob (@lakewoodbob) June 4, 2013
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