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Powerline recently linked to a an extraordinary article from The Non-Partisan New York Times, entitled, “The Rich Kids Who Want to Tear Down Capitalism.” If you haven’t read it, you really should. The author of this piece, Zoe Beery, is a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn who has previously enlightened her readers with pieces like, “What Abortion Access Looks Like in Mississippi,” and “Global Quest for ‘Green’ Concrete Goes On, as Researchers Ask if it Can Be Done,” and “Climate Inaction Means Children Born Today Will Face Severe Health Risks, New Report Warns.” You know that The New York Times is really trying to shed its reputation as a leftist rag when it hires writers such as this.
Anyway, Ms. Beery’s most recent effort, “The Rich Kids Who Want to Tear Down Capitalism,” is an extraordinary article about some extraordinarily ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary situations. Namely, young people who have inherited enormous amounts of money and seek to prove that they are true-believer Marxists. To demonstrate their virtue. Or something. For example, 25-year-old Sam Jacobs, who feels guilty about having a $30 million trust fund:
A socialist since college, Mr. Jacobs sees his family’s “extreme, plutocratic wealth” as both a moral and economic failure. He wants to put his inheritance toward ending capitalism, and by that he means using his money to undo systems that accumulate money for those at the top, and that have played a large role in widening economic and racial inequality.
I understand why Ms. Beery refers to these multi-millionaires who are in their 20’s and 30’s as “rich kids” – they sound remarkably immature. Which is, I suppose, what leading a remarkably sheltered life can do to someone. For example, the fabulously wealthy 30-year-old Rachel Gelman, who describes her politics as, “anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, and abolitionist”:
My money is mostly stocks, which means it comes from underpaying and undervaluing working-class people, and that’s impossible to disconnect from the economic legacies of Indigenous genocide and slavery,” Ms. Gelman said. “Once I realized that, I couldn’t imagine doing anything with my wealth besides redistribute it to these communities.
Some of these 30-year-old ‘kids’ seem scarred by the means used by their families to earn money. Like Pierce Delahunt, a 32-year-old self-described “socialist, anarchist, Marxist, communist, or all of the above” who apparently hasn’t given a lot of thought to what words like anarchy and communism actually mean. His family made a lot of money building outlet malls, and Mr. Delahunt appears to be struggling to deal with, well, a lot of things:
“When I think about outlet malls, I think about intersectional oppression,” Mx. Delahunt said. There’s the originally Indigenous land each mall was built on, plus the low wages paid to retail and food service workers, who are disproportionately people of color, and the carbon emissions of manufacturing and transporting the goods. With that on their mind, Mx. Delahunt gives away $10,000 a month, divided between 50 small organizations, most of which have an anti-capitalist mission and in some way tackle the externalities of discount shopping.
I try to imagine myself “tackling the externalities of discount shopping” and I draw a blank. If that is one’s mission in life, what does one do when one gets out of bed in the morning? The behavior of some of these ‘kids’ seems odd, but less so when you consider their goals, which are much odder.
The article goes on and on. Please do read it. You won’t learn anything, but you’ll feel much better about yourself when you’re done. And you’ll be reminded of why you don’t read The New York Times. And why no one else does, either.
Imagine a 35-year-old single mother who works as a waitress in a truck stop on Route 66. Imagine her reading this, about her fellow 30-somethings in this article. The waitress does not have the time or the money for foolishness or empty condescension, and I suspect she would take a dim view of those who use their immense resources to promote socialism, which will raise taxes on everyone, including 35-year-old single mother waitresses. These rich kids don’t care if their income taxes go up. They’ve got theirs. This is about taxing everybody else. And then they’ll feel virtuous, while waitresses’ lives get more difficult.
More difficult than they already are.
Giving $50 million to a sheltered, immature 30-year-old with adolescent levels of certainty and delusions of grandeur is dangerous. Daddy would do more good for society by simply burning his money in the back yard. But he loves his kids, so he sends them to some Ivy League version of ‘Socialism U,’ gives them a pile of money, and shrugs his shoulders when they attempt to destroy the system that allowed him to earn all that money.
Eh, he got his too, so whatever, right?
With great power comes great responsibility. These ‘kids’ understand power. But they don’t understand responsibility.
Someone like that can do a lot of damage. And as Zoe Beery explains at length, they intend to do just that.
These 30-year-old ‘kids’ think they can buy self-respect. They’re about to be disappointed. And everyone else is going to pay the price for their failed experiment.
These wealthy elitists just can’t comprehend that the waitress has learned more about the world at the truck stop then they did at Harvard. But they don’t care. Their empty souls demand the payment of tribute. No matter how many people get hurt. Whatever.
They’ve got theirs.
So for them, it’s all just a game. But for truckstop waitresses and the rest of us, this is no game. Destroying capitalism will make a lot of people very poor, and very miserable. It always does. But to the trust fund kids, it’s just a game.
They’ve got theirs.Published in