Friday, January 20, 2012

A Few Thoughts On A Political Discussion

So, a friend of mine posted a saying on facebook - as follows:

There is a saying in Tibetan that “at the door of the miserable rich man sleeps the contented beggar.” The point of this saying is not that poverty is a virtue, but that happiness does not come from wealth, but from setting limits to one’s desires, and living within those limits with satisfaction. -Dalai Lama

I (being completely unable to help myself) could not help but respond and point out that the beggar lives off of the rich man. 

Of course, that sparked an argument. A looooooooooong one. One which I did not get back to for two hours. Hmm, I didn't expect that. I guess I should have. Basically, my friend is in support of redistribution, thinks the only way wealthy people got that way was by exploitation, and another individual was providing an opposing argument. I had (being, of course, completely unable to help myself) to put in my opinions as follows (approximately 25 comments into the discussion):

"I don't think Ford got rich by exploitation, either. Damn this is a conversation. Okay, a couple of points I want to put out there. 

"(1) Some rich people are miserable, some are not - those that have worked hard for their money and built their wealth by the sweat of their backs, as it should be, are not miserable. They have every right to their wealth. 

"(2) Those who have wealth, hard-earned or not, do not deserve to have it taken away from them. 

"(3) Those who have wealth, should learn to manage it. Nobody gets bailout, and those things pissed me off more than I can say. If a giant fails, let them. Someone with better talent, skills and ethics will take their place. Or, more likely, several smaller someones who do not outsource American jobs to other countries will take their place. 

"(4) Poor people can be miserable, too, they just don't want to admit it to themselves. There lies no self-respect in claiming you have a right to someone else's "wealth" because you failed to provide for yourself. Get off your lazy asses and get a job, I don't care if it's minimum wage crap work. I would clean toilets to feed my kid, quit worrying about what your nails and hair look like and get a damn job already. 

"(5) That is not a blanket statement intended to cover all the poor, just the leeches who want to suck everyone dry. There are people who genuinely need help, and they are welcome to it. 

"(6) If we do away with the national welfare system for people who need help, and return it to local communities, actual communities would return, along with accountability. There would probably be a decrease in crime, as when you live a lazy and criminal life, you won't get help from any of the rest of us. People who are lazy would be forced to be nice to their neighbors and conduct themselves in a respectable manner. After everyone stopped whining about it, I believe America would be a much better society. 

"(7) You can't eat money, tv's, Nike's, or Chevy's. So when it comes right down to it, we are all flesh and blood, we all need to eat. Grow a damn garden. Raise some chickens. Stop complaining about the "few" who have so much and do something about your life. Quite frankly, the "few" may be able to eat better, and maybe even have some well-stocked supplies/get-away spots in case of disaster - of any kind, but they still have to eat."

I also will be adding another point. The wealthy didn't get that way purely by exploitation. While this is true of some, it can in no way be applicable as a blanket statement. Wealthy people (excepting trust fund babies) see an opportunity and used it to their advantage. They also take risks to get where they are. People who accept handouts do not have what it takes to take the kind of financial risks wealthy people have taken. Nor do they have the ability to turn their talents into a financially successful venture. If they did, they would stop asking for handouts and do something about it. After all, if, somewhere in England, someone hadn't decided to build a boat, and then turn that boat into a fleet, and then use that fleet for shipping, America would be "Hispanica." The person who built that first boat, you think he did not want to make a profit on it? Would he have continued if he only broke even or made very little money by comparison with the risk he took? (Yes, HE, we all know women didn't build boats back then.) Don't downplay the wealthy, their role in our society is a very important one. I especially don't see poor people funding the scientific research necessary for medical breakthroughs, advances, and life-saving medical treatments. That comes from the wealthy. And yes, some of our tax dollars. But then there's a whole other issue I don't have time for right now. The point is, the wealthy have a role, and handouts without accountability are to be despised.

So, I'm sure this conversation will continue, it will be interesting. 



  1. Excellent points on your part and I agree, no one can be covered with a blanket statement. The irony of those who desire redistribution of wealth is because of course, they want more money. Isn't that though, the same motivation of the wealthy? They want more? Strikes me more like jealousy and entitlement mentality. Good for you for sticking to your guns.

  2. Thanks, Leigh. I have no problem with political discussions - I'm very opinionated! I just can't believe how many people think "entitlement" is ok. They don't equate it with jealousy... Well, I could go on an on but there's coffee waiting. Lol!