Dan Popp
We're-all-in-this-togetherism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+
By Dan Popp
October 21, 2013

The CEO of Wal-Mart lies awake at night thinking of how to make my life better. The President of the United States does not. That's amazing, isn't it? The greedy corporate chieftain, the robber baron, the 1-percenter, has a personal interest in making me happy. The community organizer, the solution-provider, the too-good-for-profit public servant has no such motivation.

Anyone in any business is in the business of pleasing customers. It's not just Owners and Managers, and not just those in the employ of retail giants. Software engineers, designers, assembly-line workers – all devote immeasurable time and energy to making their goods faster, better and cheaper. For me. They even want my buying experience to be a pleasant one (hello, HeathCare.gov?). And there are millions of these folks around the world.

Marxists like Barack Obama and Cory Booker have a phrase for this vast, unseen army of people striving 24/7 to improve my life. They call it, "You're on your own."

In contrast, they call their philosophy of growing the vast army of pensioned bureaucrats scheming to relieve me of my liberty and property, "We're all in this together."

Ironically, competition produces cooperation. At each modern Olympiad we can observe good will, cross-cultural understanding and all those nice things springing naturally from the highest level of rivalry. And, by the way, these images are brought to us halfway around the world in stunning clarity courtesy of the profit motive.

The classic essay, I, Pencil by Leonard E. Read illustrates the same thing. Since no one person on earth possesses the knowledge to make a simple pencil, the fact that pencils exist means that many people cooperated. Why did these selfish folks work together? Because capitalism forced them to meet other people's needs in order for their own needs to be met. As Adam Smith wrote, "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our necessities but of their advantages."

Free market competition is the most efficient driver of cooperation. If your goal is kum-ba-yah, Mr. President, Mr. Booker, you had better get your boot off the necks of those who compete to make things for people. You had better learn that profit is good. You had better resign yourself to the boring role of setting simple rules, enforcing those rules evenhandedly, then stepping out of the way.

No, it would be too kind to believe that these politicians really do want everyone to "just get along." Their modus operandi all day, every day, is to pit one group against another. We're-All-In-This-Togetherism, as they preach it, pits rich against poor, young against old, healthy against sick, employee against employer, black against white against Hispanic, taxpayer against "tax eater," man against woman, and woman against her own baby.

Can't you just feel the love?

"We're all in this together" is best translated, "We're coming for the rest of your stuff." If we were truly all in this together, then one would rejoice when another prospered. Everyone would live under the same law, with no preferences or waivers or amnesty. If we were all in the same boat, there would not be some who row, and others who ski.

Back in a more civilized era, We're-All-In-This-Togetherism was just called "robbery." And robbers were treated as enemies of humanity. Today they're re-elected.

Obama, Booker and their fellow barbarians hope that you'll confuse "What's mine is yours" with "What's yours is mine." It's only the latter that they intend.
    What is the cry going up everywhere, from all ranks and classes? "All for one!" When we say the word "one" we think of ourselves, and what we demand is to receive an unearned share in the fruits of the labour of all. In other words, we are creating an organized system of plunder. Unquestionably, simple out-and-out plunder is so clearly unjust as to be repugnant to us; but thanks to the motto, all for one, we can allay our qualms of conscience. We impose on others the duty of working for us. Then, we arrogate to ourselves the right to enjoy the fruits of other men's labour. We call upon the state, the law, to enforce our so-called duty, to protect our so-called right, and we end in the fantastic situation of robbing one another in the name of brotherhood. We live at other men's expense, and then call ourselves heroically self-sacrificing for so doing. Oh, the unaccountable folly of the human mind! Oh, the deviousness of greed! – Frederic Bastiat
© Dan Popp

 

The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)