Equal is UNfair
Report by Betty Sakai
June 14, 2016
One of today’s most vocal opponents of the welfare state, Yaron Brook is Executive Director of the Ayn Rand Institute and an internationally sought-after speaker and debater. He hosts an internet radio show: The Yaron Brook Show. He was a columnist at Forbes.com and has had articles published in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Investor’s Business Daily. In 2016 he co-authored the book, Equal is Unfair (St. Martin’s Press, New York) with Don Watkins, author of Free Market Revolution: How Ayn Rand’s Ideas Can End Big Government. Don Watkins is a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute who “studies inequality, Social Security reform, the welfare state, and the moral foundations of capitalism” and has had articles published in The Guardian, USA Today, Forbes, The Christian Science Monitor, Investor’s Business Daily, The Daily Caller, Fox News.com, and many other publications.
Yaron Brook argues that the American dream is about opportunity, not about government imposing equality by redistributing wealth created by those accepting of their responsibility to learn and create and risk, to add value to life, and as a result create personal wealth. He discussed a media scheme that portrays the rich as forever rich and the poor as forever poor. The media, he said, portrays the American dream – the acceptance to learn and recognize opportunity and act upon that opportunity – as having all but vanished as a result of extreme income inequalities.
We’re told that tax hikes on the successful are required, that government must take more from those who are successful and give money to those who are the dependent poor in the form of welfare as a means of redistributing the wealth and leveling the playing field. We’re told that hiking the minimum wage will provide a living wage for those stuck working at minimum wage jobs.
Brooks argues that the real threat to America is not rising income inequality but an all-out war on success. As an immigrant himself, Yaron Brook dismisses the need for national borders and talks about the opportunity America provides to pursue a better life where success depends on nothing more or less than on one’s own ability and effort. Opposing arguments argued by Obama, discuss the growing inequality and fraying social fabric where America -- the richest nation on earth-- has become more unequal than Uruguay, Nicaragua, Guyana, and Venezuela – and roughly on par with Argentina.
Yaron asks, “Is the issue of inequality a problem?” Politically, Obama and the Pope believe it is. Yaron Brook quoted from the Declaration of Independence, “That all men are created equal”; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed….” The fact is said, we can never be metaphysically equal because we all differ in our talents, skills, abilities, and wealth. We can only be equal in our freedom under the law. The only way to make everybody the same and equal to produce an equality of outcome is to violate our equality of rights. The Left (Obama, and Clinton and Sanders, et al) argues that having more than someone else means that that person has exploited someone else’s labor to take from them. Equality means that everybody has the same and everybody lives the same and those on top in the central committee rightfully should have more privileges because they make the decisions for everybody else beneath them.
Yaron points out that Americans traditionally have never resented wealth. It was the Europeans who have traditionally resented other people’s wealth having to work obligated to monarchies and endure the restraints and burdens imposed upon them by socialist governments. The problems for America began when government began to grow bigger and cronyism began to emerge with the government steering us toward collectivism. Obama’s statements like “You did not build that”… means that the individual does not count, that only the group counts. The solution is not more cronyism, Brook admonished. It is not more government but smaller more representative government as provided for by the Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the United States.
The fact is, in America the top 10% already pay 50% of the taxes. Guilt is injected into the public conscientiousness by a biased media – [a free press being the only Constitutionally guaranteed right] – with the media business producing articles and news that fails to reflect America’s values and uphold America’s freedoms. This is the problem. We need to understand that money comes from value creation that results from the talents and skills of those who are producing. Yaron Brook lamented that this is what the Killing Fields of Cambodia was all about. Those on top in the central committee ordered anyone who had talents and abilities, who stood out, who had spoken out above that permitted by an obedient slave, to be rounded up and slaughtered. 40% of the population was murdered in the name of equality.
In summary, the evening was illuminating as Yaron Brook discussed current events from the perspective of Ayn Rand. In the Q&A session, he was asked about the problem of Islam in America. He responded by stating that the responsibility and resultant failure to act in advance of 9-11 squarely sits on the shoulders of George Bush because he failed to define the enemy of America as Islam, and then he doubled-down by trying to appease this enemy’s ideology.
Yaron Brook discussed “net neutrality”, saying it was a skilled move by a very verbal Left to define the terms and argument. He lamented, as soon as the media permitted the Left to define the terms, the basic premise of America got lost. The media publishes the terms set forth by the Left such as “political correctness” and “racist” and this places those who don’t believe either are relevant or pertinent on the defensive.
The Forum’s audience thanked Yaron Brook. He was great. There was a standing applause and a book signing completed the evening.
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