Fresh from his "people I hate" diatribe in last week's Sunday Star, in which "creators of wealth" and "makers of jobs" come in for particular opprobrium, local leftie Christopher Trotter now offers up as an antidote to that 'hate speech' a "things I believe in" column.
It's not because he's a Marxist/Leninist/Stalinist/Trotskyite that he's a leftie -- 'I rejected that credo' long ago, he insists -- it's all about need, you see. Here's the heart of it:
I believe [says Christopher] that human societies arise out of need. The need for food and shelter, the need for intimacy, the need for nurturing, and the need for protection – both from natural dangers, and the aggression of our own species. To secure these needs, human beings must work, individually or collectively, but always with the ultimate goal of keeping strong those innumerable threads that bind our communities in a functioning wholeness.
Did you see the sleight of hand? From whence emerged this "ultimate goal" of "keeping strong those innumerable threads that bind our communities in a functioning wholeness"? How does he jump from individual needs for things like food and shelter to the "ultimate goal" of the "binding" of communities? Of answer, there is none, and never can be.
And from whence, in the world of our Christopher, emerges the food, shelter and "protection from natural dangers" that all individuals seek? How do these things get here? Who produces them, and why? This is the economic rock upon which all the ships of Trotter's statist longings founder -- indeed, it is the economic rock upon which all of Marxism/Leninism founders: explaining how the goods got here. Sheer need alone will not produce them, and no amount of verbal sleight of hand or "I believe" longings can conjure them out of thin air.
The Marxist's answer to how they're produced? Somehow! They observe only that the goods exist, and put their minds only to the job of taking them from those who somehow produced them -- or to dreaming up sophisms to justify the theft.
This, to a Marxist (or a pseudo-non-Marxist like Trotter), is considered 'economic thinking' : It concerns itself not with how wealth is actually produced, a process which to them remains a mystery, but only with how it is to be 'redistributed.' From Christopher, as from every lapdog Marxist, there is no sign he even understands or wants to understand how production happens. To him the question is insignificant. "Individuals and groups by superior strength or simple good fortune are endowed with wealth and influence" ... they were just standing in line at the right time ... "the possession by a fortunate few of social, political and economic privileges serves the community [are] ... privileges granted to them by the majority" ... they are granted by the majority, you see ... "As a social-democrat I look to the state ... to secure for all citizens a healthy and abundant life" ... all hail the state, the great expropriator ... "As a social-democrat I cannot countenance the arbitrary dispersal of the people’s resources..."
The people's resources, you say, Chris? 'What the hell did indolent fat cretins like him have to do with producing any bloody resources?' This is the question you might want to ask yourself as you read on.
According to the Trotter mantra, the likes of food, shelter, wealth, influence and resources are not produced by individual effort, or entrepreneurial ability, or the application of reason to existence -- they arrive by "good fortune," they are granted as "privileges" by the majority -- they fall, in other words, like manna from heaven, to be redistributed as one pleases. These are the sort of sophisms of which I spoke above.
To people like Labour candidate Jordan Carter, trade is immoral. To people like Labour cheerleader Christopher Trotter, production is irrelevant. To both of them, and to all their great social-democratic 'luminaries,' the State is simply a great engine of expropriation, a beneficent behemoth from which all good things apparently flow. "Those charged with governing our country," the Trotter confides, "hold in trust the resources – both natural and social – that are the common property of all our people."
What makes this property "common"? How do these resources come into the possession of the apparatchiks of the state? What right did they have to take them from those who produced them? Of answer to these questions there is none, but neither is there in all the pages of Marx, or Lenin, or Stalin -- or of any of Trotter's present 'social democratic' heroes. The expectation is that need will inexorably arise, and just as inexorably expropriations will rise up to meet them.
Communities simply have rights to goods, according to the Marxist/social democrat, which the state must meet by expropriating them from those who (somehow) have been able to produce them.
What could be more ingenious? A whole social edifice based upon theft!
Thus we see how one man's need becomes the justification for theft by the state, how economic illiteracy becomes a justification for a morality of sacrifice and expropriation, and how the moral cannibalism of altruism underlies the engine of destruction that is the all-enveloping welfare state. To repeat, according to Trotter: "Those charged with governing our country, hold in trust the resources – both natural and social – that are the common property of all our people." When you understand that, in Trotter's view, those who (somehow) possess this magical ability to produce must be considered a resource, you can understand both why they must be enslaved - "they are the common property of all our people" -- and why he hates, as he demonstrated in his revealing diatribe last week, these productive few who have been mysteriously endowed with an ability beyond his own.
And thus we come to the inevitable Marxist conclusion of Trotter's 'I believe,' the linking of ability to need through the enforced sacrifice of the welfare state -- in the words of Karl Marx: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."
Trotter may resile from calling himself a Marxist these days, but it doesn't take too much poking around under the new veneer to see what's hidden beneath the easy sophisms, and that the same blood red flag is still flying.
UPDATE: Ironically, blogger David Farrar, who on Facebook calls himself a "libertarian" , has this to say on the most crucial part of Trotter's sophistry:
Those charged with governing our country, hold in trust the resources – both natural and social – that are the common property of all our people.
Can’t disagree with that.
Dear Galt! He then bewails when Trotter "seems to say the minority have no rights, unless the majority grant them," yet the connection between the two escapes him!
Another example of how to disarm oneself by a lack of sufficient philosophical acumen.
Labels: Ethics, Marx, Property Rights, Socialism