The “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt is a book that explores the differences in morality between the left and the right. It explains the motivators that polarize our nation. His explanations on big issues like jobs and the economy are clear and worthy of both the left, right, statists, and libertarians reading. His book will be rejected by statists of both the right and the left, but mostly modern liberals. It explains why we can’t all just get along.
Walter Williams explains the same topics equally as well in any of his articles about greed or social justice. Observationally looking at all of human history, the USA is a prime example, it is clear that more people prospered and were lifted out of poverty when the state was minimal and took the job of protecting individual rights (especially property rights) equally under the law as the rightful purpose of government. Since the “war on poverty” and massive increase in state redistribution of wealth and state control of almost everything, the quality of life and creation of wealth by the common man in the USA has greatly diminished. Statism in the USA is returning us to the historic norm for man, where the ruling elite live in luxury with privation for the masses.
Liberals think emotional not rationally and harbor a few false beliefs that make dealing with them on a logical basis impossible. Liberals believe that if there is some good that the state does, if the state doesn’t do it nobody will. They believe most people are too stupid to make their own life choices. They also believe that others act like them, they generally don’t give substantively to charity thus assume others don’t either. Those false beliefs, coupled with thinking emotionally rather than rationally, they assume that those who don’t support state-paid-for-charity are evil and don’t “care” about the poor and needy.
The reality is that most of my libertarian arguments fail to convince liberals of the error of their ways. The reason is that although objective truth may rationally destroy a position, logic and reason do not persuade most people. This is the same reason that the Libertarian Party is so small.
Consider the Gun Debate. The facts are clear, assault weapons result in far fewer murders than hammers or clubs, and that the number of gun crimes committed with assault weapons is so miniscule as to be statistically irrelevant, yet the emotional impact of an insane criminal committing an extremely rare by heinous evil crime, like using an assault weapon to shoot children, is justification to restrict the rights of the millions of people who’ve committed no crime but own scary looking guns. The emotional impact of a lawful person using a gun when confronted with a criminal resulting in the criminal running away, just doesn’t compare; no shots fired, nobody hurt, no crime successful, not drama, no emotional impact. Regardless of the fact that the most recent Harvard study shows about 200,000 defensive gun uses every year compared to about 8,000 gun homicides, each homicide can be used to create an emotional ripping tale, while the vast majority of defensive gun uses are so anticlimactic that the press doesn’t bother to cover them. The press isn’t evil in not covering them, it the simple fact that self defense stories with no shots fired and nobody hurt, take up time and space and don’t sell ads. The gory shooting of innocent people sells ads.
Because liberals overwhelmingly use emotion over logic, many of their positions contradict each other. Haidt points this out saying, “I find it ironic that liberals generally embrace Darwin and reject ‘intelligent design’ as the explanation for design and adaptation in the natural world, but they don’t embrace Adam Smith as the explanation for design and adaptation in the economic world. They sometimes prefer the ‘intelligent design’ of socialist economies, which often ends in disaster from a utilitarian point of view.”
The current explosive costs of health care were easily predicted because market forces have been removed from health care. Haidt explains clearly what would happen if a product that is far more necessary than medical services were subjected to the same “intelligent design” that we have subjected healthcare:
“Markets Are Miraculous … Now let’s do the devil’s work and spread chaos throughout the marketplace. Suppose that one day all prices are removed from all products in the supermarket. All labels too, beyond a simple description of the contents, so you can’t compare products from different companies. You just take whatever you want, as much as you want, and you bring it up to the register. The checkout clerk scans in your food insurance card and helps you fill out your itemized claim. You pay a flat fee of $10 and go home with your groceries. A month later you get a bill informing you that your food insurance company will pay the supermarket for most of the remaining cost, but you’ll have to send in a check for an additional $15. It might sound like a bargain to get a cartload of food for $25, but you’re really paying your grocery bill every month when you fork over $2,000 for your food insurance premium.
Under such a system, there is little incentive for anyone to find innovative ways to reduce the cost of food or increase its quality. The supermarkets get paid by the insurers, and the insurers get their premiums from you. The cost of food insurance begins to rise as supermarkets stock only the foods that net them the highest insurance payments, not the foods that deliver value to you.
As the cost of food insurance rises, many people can no longer afford it. Liberals (motivated by care) push for a new government program to buy food insurance for the poor and the elderly. But once the government becomes the major purchaser of food, then success in the supermarket and food insurance industries depends primarily on maximizing yield from government payouts. Before you know it, that can of peas costs the government $30, and all of us are paying 25 percent of our paychecks in taxes just to cover the cost of buying groceries for each other at hugely inflated costs.”
Clearly Libertarians need argue more emotionally not rationally if we are to get both Democrats and Republicans to abandon ideas that have clearly failed but they find emotionally satisfying. Don’t look for that from me, I’m not going to be able to make effective emotional appeals as I’m overwhelmingly left brained. I truly don’t “get” how regardless of the facts people can “feel” something that is so factually incorrect is still right. I can't work on how things "should be" and must address how they "are." I’ve often said “How you feel about it doesn’t matter, what you can prove does.”
Rodney King famously asked “Why can’t we all just get along?” The answer is easy: because too many people reject reason, logic, and objective truth for what feels right. No rational person can get along with people who rationalize that slavery is wrong, yet claim it’s righteous to use force to take the labor and/or property of some people and give it to others and call it justice.
“What's just has been debated for centuries but let me offer you my definition of social justice: I keep what I earn and you keep what you earn. Do you disagree? Well then tell me how much of what I earn belongs to you - and why?” ~ Dr. Walter E. Williams