Julian Simon warned us long ago how trumped up ‘crises’ are fanned to acquire and exercise political power. The people who do so were once called liberals; liberals in the classic sense, which was a good thing. They were known as Democrats.
Tragically, theses same people have devolved into ideologues now interested exclusively in acquiring and exercising political power, no matter the cost. When Dr. Simon wrote, he knew this, but he was not as shrill as they were and remain. Everything with them has been, is, and will be a crisis. They cannot offer anything else. They don’t know how to! So today it is the inequality crisis:
“Just as the Great Depression launched an expansion of government powers and programs, and the financial crisis of 2008 led to calls for another New Deal, liberals and progressives over the past five decades have announced a variety of other “crises” as reasons to raise taxes, adopt expensive government programs, impose new regulations on business, or, perhaps, to increase their own influence. In the 1960s they gave us the “poverty crisis” and the “urban crisis,” followed in the 1970s and 1980s by the “environmental crisis,” the “energy crisis,” and the “homeless crisis.” More recently we have had the “health-care crisis” and a civilization-threatening “global warming crisis,” now rebaptized as a “climate crisis.” Some progressives [Democrats] have found it useful to turn multifaceted problems into crises in order to stampede the voters into supporting policies they might otherwise (quite sensibly) reject. Today, the issue of the hour is the “inequality crisis,” another complex subject that is being seized upon in some quarters [Democrats] as an opportunity to raise taxes, attack “the rich,” and discredit policies that gave us three decades of prosperity, booming real estate and stock markets, and an expanding global economy. In recent years, journalists and academics have been turning out books and manifestos bearing such titles as The New Gilded Age; The Killing Fields of Inequality; The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It; and The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future—to list just a few of the many dozens on the subject. The common message of these books is not subtle: “the rich” have manipulated the political system to lay claim to wealth they have not earned and do not deserve, and they have done so at the expense of everyone else. In the past, those who wrote about inequality focused on poverty and the challenge of elevating the poor into the working and middle classes. No more. Today they are preoccupied with “the rich” and with schemes to redistribute their wealth downward through the population, as if it were possible to raise the living standards of the bottom “99 percent” by raising taxes on the top “1 percent.” Many of the new egalitarians—professors at Ivy League universities, well-paid journalists, or heirs to family wealth—are themselves materially comfortable by any reasonable standard. Their complaints about “the rich” or “the 1 percent” call to mind Samuel Johnson’s barbed comment about the reformers of his day: “Sir,” he said, “your levelers wish to level down as far as themselves; but they cannot bear leveling up to themselves.” Judging by recent polls, the wider public has not bought into this new crisis. In essence, members of the top 2 or 3 percent of the income distribution are waging class warfare against the top 1 percent while everyone else looks on from a distance, apparently feeling that the new class struggle has little to do with their own circumstances. – Shattered Consensus, Encounter Books, New York, London, Copyright © 2015 by James Piereson, Page 61.