Those Dirty, Lousy Parasites
Kyle Haight left a comment in the previous post that I think is worth highlighting:
There’s a word I’d like to see pro-capitalists introduce into discussions of ‘inequality’ as a simple description of the real problem: parasitism. It’s a simple, straightforward, value-laden term to describe what Don calls ‘unearned inequality’. It immediately puts the opposition onto the defensive because nobody wants to come out and explicitly defend being a parasite. The term applies equally well to life-long welfare dependents, overpaid public-sector union members, corporate welfare leeches and politically-connected pseudo-businessmen like Immelt.
The likely response to a charge of parasitism is an attempt to claim that actually productive people are somehow acting parasitically, e.g. by deploying the old Marxist charge that only physical labor is really productive. But even that is a big step forward for our side, because it means both sides have accepted the premise that productivity is good and should be protected and we’re now trying to identify what actions are and are not really productive. And that’s a battle being fought on our terms, that we can win.
Frame it as a narrative: Do you want to live in a country where the government enables politically-connected parasites to live at your expense, or do you want to live in a country where everyone gets to fully enjoy the fruits of their own productive thought and effort?
I love this. It’s a profound point that I totally missed: The wealth redistributionists are tapping in to people’s legitimate dislike of unearned inequality in cases where politicians or businessmen benefit, not to argue that we need to end unearned inequality, but to argue that we need to change who receives the unearned loot: not “the rich” and “powerful” but “the poor” and “powerless.”
We need to counter that by arguing that parasitism of any sort has no place in a civilized society.