We Admire Selfless Sacrifice. In Others.

 

One of the challenges the left faces is the natural human desire to improve our situation. People are typically competitive and want to do better than others. There is a reason cultures around the world are so obsessed with sports. Leftists must suppress this natural instinct and replace it with communal behavior, emphasizing the good of the collective over one’s own narrow interests, more fitting of a socialist utopia. This is not so easy, because in my opinion hate is a stronger emotion than love. So leftists win elections by leveraging the petty jealousies of identity politics – it’s easier to encourage you to hate those people over there than it is to get you to sacrifice for those people over there. Hate wins elections. Not love. Many people admire sacrifice and understand its importance, but there are few volunteers. One could argue that The New Testament (and thus, much of western literature) is based largely on this conflict.

Two of my kids are scholarship athletes at major Division I schools. One of them was up late in a hotel room on a road trip with her teammates one night, and they were talking about stuff, the way college kids do. Most of these kids were from lower class families. They started talking about what kind of car each of them wanted. The consensus was that they all wanted Bugattis. Why, I wonder? Is it particularly comfortable? Or economical? Or spacious? Or known for its cargo room and towing capacity? No. It’s just very expensive, and not many people have one. So they want one. They’re human. I think this is a challenge for Obama, Bernie, AOC, and the rest of the Democrat party. These kids want to make a lot of money, and rather than happily spending it in taxes, they would prefer to spend it on ridiculously impractical cars. These young college kids are ostensibly the Democrat base, but even they don’t seem terribly interested in self-sacrifice for the good of the collective. So how do the Democrats get their votes so consistently?

Democrats say that you won’t have to sacrifice. They’re going to take money away from those people over there, and they’re going to give it to those more deserving. People like you, for example. This is not a simple theft. It is moral, because those people over there didn’t really earn that money. They became rich by taking advantage of the infrastructure and labor available to them from our society – our collective really earned that money. So taking back what is rightfully ours is moral. If you agree, you are an admirable paragon of virtue. If you think that people should be allowed to keep what they earn, you are an unethical, selfish villain of the right. Those people over there should not be allowed to keep what they earn. Because they didn’t really earn it.

But you, of course – that’s different. You will be allowed to keep what you earn, naturally. Because you are an ethical person. We hope you put a DNC sticker on that Bugatti! That seems odd, but I think it makes sense. Sort of. I guess.

People are strange.

When a leftist says they just want what’s best for society, I just can’t believe that works. First of all, the 20th century very clearly illustrated what leftism does when applied faithfully. Who on this planet still thinks that centralized power and enforced sacrifice is a good idea? Plato’s philosopher kings don’t exist. They never have.

Anyone who says they care about your concerns more than their own – that person is lying. Unless that person is your mother.

And yet AOC speaks, and the masses applaud her selfless virtue. And then they get in their Mercedes SUV’s and drive home.

People are strange.

No one seems interested in living their lives in a socialist society. And half of us vote Democrat every election.

People are strange.

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There are 19 comments.

  1. She Thatcher
    She

    Dr. Bastiat: because in my opinion hate is a stronger emotion than love

    I’m not sure I agree with this. It’s just that the effects of hate are so much uglier and more destructive.

    • #1
    • May 25, 2019, at 1:47 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  2. Randy Webster Member

    She (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: because in my opinion hate is a stronger emotion than love

    I’m not sure I agree with this. It’s just that the effects of hate are so much uglier and more destructive.

    And more clearly seen.

    • #2
    • May 25, 2019, at 1:53 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Full Size Tabby Member

    When I suggest, to someone who has just argued for raising tax rates, that he voluntarily send more money to the government or, if he has proposed a new government program to help some disadvantaged people, that he set up a charity to do that task and that he and the apparently many people who think like him donate to that new charity, I get from him a puzzled expression along the lines of, “Why would I do that? I don’t have the money for that, so we need the money of other people, and those people won’t give it to us voluntarily.” In other words, “I have the virtue, but I need the money of others to implement my virtue.”

    • #3
    • May 25, 2019, at 2:13 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  4. She Thatcher
    She

    Randy Webster (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):

    Dr. Bastiat: because in my opinion hate is a stronger emotion than love

    I’m not sure I agree with this. It’s just that the effects of hate are so much uglier and more destructive.

    And more clearly seen.

    Agree. They’re more clearly seen because they’re so much uglier and more destructive. It’s a vicious cycle.

    • #4
    • May 25, 2019, at 2:31 PM PDT
    • Like
  5. Addiction Is A Choice Member

    “Here’s the truth, brothers and sisters, there’s plenty of money in the world. Plenty of money in this city. It’s just in the wrong hands!”

    • #5
    • May 25, 2019, at 3:48 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  6. DonG Coolidge

    All you need to remember is summarized below.

    • #6
    • May 25, 2019, at 6:00 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  7. Jon1979 Lincoln

    Dr. Bastiat: Two of my kids are scholarship athletes at major Division I schools. One of them was up late in a hotel room on a road trip with her teammates one night, and they were talking about stuff, the way college kids do. Most of these kids were from lower class black families. They started talking about what kind of car each of them wanted. The consensus was that they all wanted Bugattis. Why, I wonder? Is it particularly comfortable? Or economical? Or spacious? Or known for its cargo room and towing capacity? No. It’s just very expensive, and not many people have one. So they want one. They’re human. I think this is a challenge for Obama, Bernie, AOC, and the rest of the Democrat party. These kids want to make a lot of money, and rather than happily spending it in taxes, they would prefer to spend it on ridiculously impractical cars.

    I find two people you might not lump together, Charles Barkley and Whoopi Goldberg, to be interesting on this topic. Whoopi isn’t an athlete, but she’s achieved the same thing as Barkley and other top black athletes in being rich and successful, and both at times have seemed torn about sticking with the consensus talking points within the African-American community about the overall wonderfulness of big government Democratic policies, and absolutely slamming those same policies for the effects they’re having on their own personal lifestyles.

    Barkley had to be lectured by Bill Russell and others last year, after he came out initially in support of the 2017 tax cuts, while Goldberg went on “The View” a couple of weeks ago and savaged Bill de Blasio for the mess he’s made of the place where she’s living, after de Blasio announced for president. In both cases, they’ve dipped their toes in the water of breaking free of the liberal hive-mind, when it comes to how African-Americans are supposed to think politically, but they won’t make the full jump, possibly due to negative career implications.

    • #7
    • May 26, 2019, at 6:20 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  8. Keith Rice Member

    That reminds me of when Obama called for transparency, which I took to mean he wanted others to be more transparent.

    But the lack of sacrifice is why “nothing is sacred” anymore. Things are made sacred by meaningful personal sacrifice and the whining children of wealth who demand more validation, more stuff, more voice … all they’re creating is a screaming cesspool.

    • #8
    • May 26, 2019, at 11:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  9. Chris Campion Coolidge

    People aren’t jerks, generally. But inherent in modern culture (at least in the West) is simple laziness, largely as a by-product (ironically) of capitalism, which, if you believe in entrepreneurialism at all, is the antithesis of lazy.

    So: If it’s easy to sell an idea that costs someone nothing, in terms of effort, to believe, then you’re a successful salesman, or politician. Easy ideas, like those stated in the OP, are easy to sell to people who are looking for a reason, other than themselves, for why they’re not successful.

    The hard part is explaining to someone the satisfaction they will feel when they earn something, they sweat for it, and how that feels, when they’ve earned something hard to attain. Because you only feel that after you’ve earned it, not before.

    Weirdly, I was just talking about this with an old college buddy of mine (I reconnected with him a few years ago over facebook), which means we’ve had 30 or so years of adult reality to shape our views. He’s lived on the other side of the country, worked in a corporation and started his own successful business, and hired lots of people. Why, then, did we both have the same opinion about the culture and what democrats have been selling? Why do we both have the same opinion of the relative uselessness of college, outside of STEM and business degrees?

    That’s been our experience. It’s not universal, but it’s telling. What I’d like to see is sacrifices made, in one form or another, before people think, speak, and act. In the same way that you don’t let a 23 year-old with a sociology degree dictate how an aircraft carrier shall be built, you don’t let sissy-brained politicians decide who gets what out of a gigantic federal pie, one built off the sweat of those earning a living, and the unborn who will inherit the debt of millions of lazy people, and wonder what in the hell was wrong with us, for decades.

     

     

     

    • #9
    • May 26, 2019, at 12:13 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. Unsk Member

    I feel for our kids. The Good Doctor’s story of what our kids want these days is not unique.

    The strange culture promoted incessantly by our truly evil Education and Social Welfare Establishment of expecting instant gratification of every want nearly all the time has created millions of young minds who are simply not connected emotionally and logically to reality and who will have tremendous difficulty navigating the turbulent strains reality will throw at them over the course of their lives.

    This is an ominous tragedy, which will have horrendous consequences for our nation moving forward. These millions of warped young minds have been programed to expect Socialism’s great allure of free stuff for no effort and will not accept the hard work and the payment of dues the real world demands. A great reckoning is coming. 

    • #10
    • May 26, 2019, at 5:48 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  11. DonG Coolidge

    Dr. Bastiat:

    …The consensus was that they all wanted Bugattis. Why, I wonder? Is it particularly comfortable? Or economical? Or spacious? Or known for its cargo room and towing capacity? No. It’s just very expensive, and not many people have one. So they want one. They’re human. I think this is a challenge for Obama, Bernie, AOC, and the rest of the Democrat party. These kids want to make a lot of money, and rather than happily spending it in taxes, they would prefer to spend it on ridiculously impractical cars. These young college kids are ostensibly the Democrat base, but even they don’t seem terribly interested in self-sacrifice for the good of the collective. So how do the Democrats get their votes so consistently?

    The simplest explanation is that the youths just wanted to one-up each other about the cooler car. No lifetime economic philosophy needs to be deciphered. Just youths being youths.

     

    ….When a leftist says they just want what’s best for society, I just can’t believe that works. First of all, the 20th century very clearly illustrated what leftism does when applied faithfully. Who on this planet still thinks that centralized power and enforced sacrifice is a good idea? Plato’s philosopher kings don’t exist. They never have.

    Anyone who says they care about your concerns more than their own – that person is lying. Unless that person is your mother.

    And yet AOC speaks, and the masses applaud her selfless virtue. And then they get in their Mercedes SUV’s and drive home.

    People are strange.

    No one seems interested in living their lives in a socialist society. And half of us vote Democrat every election.

    People are strange.

    Lots of people aspire an egalitarian society. They would rather everyone be poor than someone be rich. Hey, you can’t be a failure, if there are no winners or losers, right? Of course they are naive and there will always be winners and losers. The guys with the guns and epaulets will have the Bugatti’s even though all are “equal”. I assume that leaders that promise a free lunch really do think they can be the Santa and provide the goodies without any cost. Thinking about consequences is something for other people. Rare is the Dan Moynihan among Democrats. 

     

     

    • #11
    • May 26, 2019, at 7:08 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  12. Ilan Levine Member

    Interesting post, Doc! Sounds right. It suggests there is a missing dimension to conservative advertising. Perhaps what is needed are several simple fictional examples of persons with N family members, $X income and what effects various democratic policy proposals have on them. Contrast them with thet claims by democrats that it would only harm ‘the others’. End with a suggestion that there are other things that they are lying to voters about.

    • #12
    • May 27, 2019, at 6:01 AM PDT
    • Like
  13. Randy Weivoda Moderator

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    When I suggest, to someone who has just argued for raising tax rates, that he voluntarily send more money to the government or, if he has proposed a new government program to help some disadvantaged people, that he set up a charity to do that task and that he and the apparently many people who think like him donate to that new charity, I get from him a puzzled expression along the lines of, “Why would I do that? I don’t have the money for that, so we need the money of other people, and those people won’t give it to us voluntarily.” In other words, “I have the virtue, but I need the money of others to implement my virtue.”

    He wouldn’t have to do the work of setting up a new charity. For every charitable purpose you can think of, there are probably dozens of charities already set up. He just has to choose one or more that are doing the work he wants done and donate his time or money to them. Unless they are a fraudulent operation, most charitable organizations will spend the money with less waste and overhead than the federal government.

    • #13
    • May 27, 2019, at 11:17 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    One of the reasons I live in Israel is because self-sacrifice is everywhere. It’s bracing, exhilirating. In Europe and America, it’s as though people are asleep. But then, as I am sure you know, those who have nothing to die for have nothing to live for either.

    • #14
    • May 27, 2019, at 12:15 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. Henry Castaigne Member

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    When I suggest, to someone who has just argued for raising tax rates, that he voluntarily send more money to the government or, if he has proposed a new government program to help some disadvantaged people, that he set up a charity to do that task and that he and the apparently many people who think like him donate to that new charity, I get from him a puzzled expression along the lines of, “Why would I do that? I don’t have the money for that, so we need the money of other people, and those people won’t give it to us voluntarily.” In other words, “I have the virtue, but I need the money of others to implement my virtue.”

    I their defence, they believe that government is better than charity. They are being consistent in their belief. Bernie not giving much money to charity is consistent with his beliefs. He believes that voluntary sacrifices his wealth for the good of others is less virtuous than government force. I admire him for his honesty and sincerity. And I loathe him for it as well. 

    • #15
    • May 27, 2019, at 8:11 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  16. Henry Castaigne Member

    DonG (View Comment):

    All you need to remember is summarized below.

    Everyone who has babysat a kid or worked as a boss realizes this is how people are. 

    • #16
    • May 27, 2019, at 8:14 PM PDT
    • Like
  17. Henry Castaigne Member

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu (View Comment):

    One of the reasons I live in Israel is because self-sacrifice is everywhere. It’s bracing, exhilirating. In Europe and America, it’s as though people are asleep. But then, as I am sure you know, those who have nothing to die for have nothing to live for either.

    I want to hear more from you on this subject. I want to write about a character who thinks about this alot. 

    • #17
    • May 27, 2019, at 8:18 PM PDT
    • Like
  18. Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu Coolidge

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu (View Comment):

    One of the reasons I live in Israel is because self-sacrifice is everywhere. It’s bracing, exhilirating. In Europe and America, it’s as though people are asleep. But then, as I am sure you know, those who have nothing to die for have nothing to live for either.

    I want to hear more from you on this subject. I want to write about a character who thinks about this alot.

    The fearlessness of Israelis is remarkable, perhaps because everyday life is miraculous in so many ways. To site one instance: you drive the roads of Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) and see teenage girls hitchhiking where Arab vehicles regularly pass by. I shudder at the thought of Arabs kidnapping these defenseless girls, but such a kidnapping, to the best of my knowledge, has never occurred. On occasion, I have seen these hitchhiking girls carrying guns but, generally speaking, they do not.

    • #18
    • May 27, 2019, at 10:50 PM PDT
    • Like
  19. Henry Castaigne Member

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu (View Comment):

    Henry Castaigne (View Comment):

    Yehoshua Ben-Eliyahu (View Comment):

    One of the reasons I live in Israel is because self-sacrifice is everywhere. It’s bracing, exhilirating. In Europe and America, it’s as though people are asleep. But then, as I am sure you know, those who have nothing to die for have nothing to live for either.

    I want to hear more from you on this subject. I want to write about a character who thinks about this alot.

    The fearlessness of Israelis is remarkable, perhaps because everyday life is miraculous in so many ways. To site one instance: you drive the roads of Judea and Samaria (the so-called West Bank) and see teenage girls hitchhiking where Arab vehicles regularly pass by. I shudder at the thought of Arabs kidnapping these defenseless girls, but such a kidnapping, to the best of my knowledge, has never occurred. On occasion, I have seen these hitchhiking girls carrying guns but, generally speaking, they do not.

    Israeli girl carrying guns are pretty much the hottest girls ever right? 

    • #19
    • May 28, 2019, at 8:10 AM PDT
    • 1 like