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I know a lot of people love Elizabeth Warren. I don’t doubt that she’s smart, charming, and extremely likable in person, and that she exudes a kind of authenticity and decency for which people are desperate.
She’s an impressive woman. I think she will be the Democratic candidate, and I think there’s at least a 50/50 chance that she might become President.
Unfortunately, I think her message will harm America’s weakest, poorest, and lowest-performing citizens. I don’t believe she wants that — quite the contrary — but I think it’s the likely result of the particular sermon she’s preaching.
She says this:
You have things that are broken in your life, I’ll tell you exactly why. It’s because giant corporations, billionaires, have seized our government, and for decades now they have been making that government work for a thinner and thinner slice at the top.
We all have things that are broken in our lives. Life is imperfect, sometimes it’s hard, sometimes we’re unlucky, sometimes we make poor choices, sometimes we’re victims.
But that isn’t what she’s saying. What she’s saying is what unwise and/or awful people always say when trying to recruit the masses for their cause. She’s scapegoating, providing a ready villain, absolving people of their responsibility, denying people the basic dignity of their autonomy and of their right and ability to make choices.
There is no villain responsible for all the hurt and pain that’s inevitably part of the human experience. It isn’t racism, it isn’t the intellectuals, it isn’t the Jews, it isn’t whites, it isn’t blacks, it isn’t illegal immigrants, it isn’t China.
But if you mobilize the troops with anger and envy, you simultaneously free them from feeling responsible for their own prosperity — because who, after all, can compete with Amazon? — and set the stage for destroying the engines of wealth creation.
She may be a very nice woman, but her message is, ultimately, the message of the perpetually poor — the message that has the people of Venezuela eating their pets and fleeing their country. It doesn’t work, and it doesn’t work for obvious reasons, and she should know that.