From the always-worth-reading Dr. Victor Davis Hanson (you can probably tell he’s a favorite) comes another piece of astute commentary on the state of our nation: The Confessions of a Confused Misfit. Excerpt:
Of course, I accept without much worry that government service can lead to the contacts that lead to big money. Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld made millions in the private sector in between D.C. jobs. I grant too that old-boy networking is lucrative. George W. Bush’s Texas Rangers small fortune came from having powerful friends in the right places. No doubt Colin Powell and Bill Clinton are multimillionaires. Bravo to them both.
But what we cannot stomach is all the sermonizing about “fair share” and “play by the rules” and “the one percent” from those who seek to be exempt from their own rhetoric. Can’t Warren Buffett keep quiet and just leave his $50 billion to his heirs — and let the wonderful federal government do what it must with a $30 billion estate tax on his earnings? Can Bill Gates’ people really manage the Buffett $50 billion better than HUD or HHS? And if so, why a HUD or HHS? His estate will dodge more tax liabilities than what millions of his proverbial overtaxed secretaries pay. Why isn’t George Soros one of the despised money speculators of the sort that Occupy Wall Street was enraged about? Isn’t trying to break the Bank of England a bit too much money-grubbing? So weird what constitutes good and bad riches!
People in the political class (how sad that a nation started in the tradition of Cincinnatus, exemplified by George Washington, now has a ‘political class’) in particular is more than willing to forgive of their own what they condemn in those across the political aisle. But it seems this tendency has gone to an extreme in this modern era, when serial philanderer and “waitress sandwich” aficionado Ted Kennedy can be renowned as a champion of women’s rights. Of course, many of the same finger-wavers who bemoan the wealth of a business mogul who employs thousands of people ignore the wealth of a Hollywood pop tart with a mindless “reality” television show.
Ethical consistency? Who needs it?
There’s nothing wrong with making money, of course. Whether you are a bank president or a Hollywood starlet with big boobs and too many teeth, there’s nothing wrong with being rich. But while the entrepreneur is demonized for his wealth, the sports figure or movie star is largely ‘excused’ their wealth. The entrepreneur, of course, creates jobs. The sports figure or movie star? Some, perhaps, but there is little or no job growth in those sectors; a businessman that starts a new company may employ three people the first year, a dozen the second, a thousand in ten years. So, which of these people is honored with the titles of “hero” and “star?”
It is a strange, strange pass we find ourselves in, as a society.