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The one thing that is undeniably the fault of the rich

Edward N. Luttwak
June 05, 2020
The U.S. National Archives
The trail to state-maintained Waipahee Falls in Hawaii is on private propertyThe U.S. National Archives
The U.S. National Archives
The trail to state-maintained Waipahee Falls in Hawaii is on private propertyThe U.S. National Archives

The American Revolution that started in 1776 has never ended. It just takes naps now and then.

The planters, merchants, and bankers who channeled the republican uprising against His Majesty King George III were exemplars of a commercial civilization entirely dependent on contract law, for whom the government’s first duty was to protect property rights and then, eventually, individual rights. If anyone can take and eat my corn crop, why would I grow it? But on June 26, 2019, in Miami, the mayor of New York City, one “Bill” de Blasio, rebelled against the fundamental axiom of American civilization when he said: “There is plenty of money in this world, and there’s plenty of money in this country, it’s just in the wrong hands. Democrats have to fix that.”

That is when the property holders of New York City should have submitted an application for the mayor’s removal from office to the local branch of the appellate division of the New York State Supreme Court. Their failure to do so reflects the inherent aversion to conflict of merchants and bankers: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II might still be sovereign in these parts if Southern planters had not joined the uprising against her direct ancestor. However, planters are scarce in New York City.

De Blasio’s offer to be the Democratic Party’s candidate was declined but his proposal has been accepted by his party. Joe Biden—regardless of his personal beliefs—will have to promise to “fix” the problem by taking the money from the “wrong” hands to give it to the “right” hands. The “right hands” is variously definable but for one thing: They cannot be hands that earn money, or if they do, they must not earn more than a little, because otherwise they would be “wrong” hands. Of course, an organization of some kind will have to accomplish the transfer, thereby incidentally acquiring enormous power over all the “wrong” hands and also all the “right” hands.

In the logical sequence, two requirements are equally obvious: The redistribution organization cannot be the IRS as presently constituted, because property takes countless forms, including some that are very elusive—with the latter bound to expand hugely in October if the Democratic candidate seems to be winning. An organization capable of uncovering accounts in, say, an Aruba bank held in the name of a Mongolian nonprofit must resemble the KGB in its better days, complete with clever analysts as well as fingernail pullers.

That is when the second requirement becomes obvious: Nothing can be accomplished with the present American legal system because only the semi-poor would pay up while the rich would appeal against the organization’s demands, initiating legal processes that will last more than two years, when the inevitable reaction against confiscatory policies would end it all.

Hence to keep de Blasio’s promise, the legal system will have to be changed by appointing enough “right” judges to the Supreme Court to ....

No need to continue, no need at all. But there is one thing that is indeed the fault of the rich and very rich: They have continued to fund super generously the places of higher education where a declared antagonism to American civilization and its foundational property rights has gradually became a de facto requirement for employment as a teacher or administrator, and they have continued to pay vast sums to those places to corrupt their own children.

That “socialism,” a phenomenon that was only ever empirically successful in the kibbutzim of Israel, and was an immiserating failure in every other country where it was ever attempted in any form, is now the de facto ideology of the Democratic Party, is the ultimate result of the porcine indifference to ideas of the rich and very rich who think that giving money to Harvard or Princeton is morally preferable to buying a yacht. But yachts do not corrupt youth with false religions or plunge nations into civil war.

Edward N. Luttwak is a contractual strategic consultant for the U.S. government and an author.

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