I love the internet. We have the knowledge of the world at our finger tips. Ans, of course there is no end to opinions that you can find on the internet. It even allows people like me to express my opinions. I particularly like my fellow bloggers and those who comment on blogs. I have learned so much from them. Bloggers like me owe a debt of gratitude to a handful of bloggers who do the heavy lifting. They are the ones who have read the great philosophers or of the great economist or have become experts on pertinent history or weigh through the reports that come out of the many think tanks or government bureaus and write about those subjects in a way that help the rest of understand how those works affect the world we live in. One such blogger is The Classic Liberal (the CL). The Classic Liberal is one a half-dozen or so go-to sites when I am looking for interesting material to write about.
In the CL’s recent post, The Good Life with Alina Vacariu, he reports on the recent thinking of Robert Skidelsky and his son Edward. I had never heard of these gentlemen; but the CL fills us in:
Robert Skidelsky is best known for his three-volume biography of Lord Keynes, and his son Edward is a philosopher who has written an excellent book on Ernst Cassirer. How Much Is Enough?contains valuable discussions of happiness research in economics and … but unfortunately the book is a disappointment. It rehashes stale complaints against the free market, and its policy proposals have sinister implications.
The Skidelsky’s are true believers in the Nanny State. They are among the liberal elite that produce the Kool-Aid that the sheeple drink. They don’t have a very high opinion of people in general. They believe that our government must act as parents to get us to do what is right and, in their opinion, what is moral. In their latest book, they are concerned that Americans consume too much; that Americans confuse money and the accumulation of things with happiness. Since things have nothing to do with happiness and the constant buying of things is a waste, the government must be a good parent and change that behavior so that the truly poor people of the world can use that misspent wealth to improve their standard of living. I am going to share some of the quotes from their book that the CL used in his article. You really need to go over to his place when you have finished here and get his take. Besides, it is a Rule 5 post and the young lady is pleasing to the eye.
Our commitment to personality and respect rules out coercion. Rather we aim to bias social arrangements in favor of the good life — to make it easier for people to organize their own exits from the rat race, for instance by discovering for themselves ways of life in which money-making is not central. No political system can avoid bias, however much it proclaims its neutrality.… If we are to be paternalists, let us be honest rather than backdoor paternalists. (p. 217)
in the name of consumer protection. A lot of consumption is wasteful in the sense people buy products about whose qualities they are ignorant or misinformed: the products do not work or do not do the work they were bought for.… It would be better to try to prevent this kind of waste by requiring all advertisements to carry prominent health warnings, as is now mandatory for cigarettes.… One tax reform would cut at the root of the advertising culture: disallowing firms to write off advertising as a business expense.… Such a tax would damage the financing of commercial television.… Internet advertising could be taxed in the same way. The policies suggested above … are paternalist, but non-coercive. They are designed to edge societies towards the good life, not force it down their throats. (pp. 210–11)
the main incentive to be “economically purposive for others after it had ceased to be reasonable for oneself” would be to help the very poor of the world climb to our already achieved level of sufficiency.… A voluntary sacrifice of one’s own comforts for the sake of helping the less fortunate is universally recognized as morally admirable. Even today more and more people find a natural outlet for their generous and (adventurous) instincts in voluntary service at home and abroad. (pp. 215–16, quoting Keynes).
the capitalist system in our part of the world is entering its degenerative phase. The chief sign of this is the dominance of finance, in love with itself but increasingly bereft of useful things to do. The Anglo-American version of individualistic capitalism is kept going largely for the benefit of a predatory plutocracy, whose members cream off the richest prizes while justifying their predation in the language of freedom and globalization. (p. 181)
Well, I think you get the gist what this batch of Kool-Aid is about. The Skidelsky’s belive that things don’t bring happiness, therefore, superior people like them should take away one’s freedom to decide for one’s self how to spend the fruits of their labor so that those less fortunate can spend the fruits of you labor to improve their standard of living. It is the same old redistribute the wealth meme. They somehow think their methods are less coercive than the Alinsky, Cloward-Piven, and Barack Obama methods. I don’t think so. Their arrogance is the same. They have convinced themselves that is morally superior to force those in developed countries to lower their standard of living so the people of Somalia can improve their standard of living To them wealth production is a zero sum game. If one group has more, it is some how impossible for other groups to catch up.
Kool-Aid brewers like the Skidelsky’s are every where.They are in the UN and in the governments of Europe and the US. The population of Kool-Aid drinkers is growing and if the trend continues they will become the majority. Some fear that they already are the majority. When they, by the force of their numbers, take permanent control of our government, we will all suffer for their misplaced moral superiority and they won’t like it any better than we will.
Well, now you know what I’m thinking. What are your thoughts?