I was watching an on-the-street interview with one of the “Wall Street Occupiers” yesterday, and he summed up his philosophy by stating that “we just believe that the more fortunate should take responsibility for their fellow man”. This pretence of compassion is one of the most often-repeated appeals of the Socialist, but the problems with it as an ethical foundation are plethora.
The most obvious problem is that one human being cannot determine the moral obligations of another. Beyond the obvious fact that no human being can possibly comply with every moral inclination of every other human being, a free society recognises that no human being holds moral authority over another. Legislative authority, yes–but legislation is not morality, as I’m sure most of the OWS people would agree.
Even if we were to re-define “morality” such that one person can determine another’s, we run into the problem of attaching morality to random chance. How is it valid to demand that the “more fortunate” have a moral burden, when they might very well be the “less fortunate” tomorrow? Obviously, this is a ridiculous demand–the only possible rational statement would be that “everyone should take care of each other”–which of course completely removes any possible action by the government.
Following that thought, we come to the most important problem with this (mis)statement of morality: if YOU want TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your fellow man (and this fellow took great pains to explain that he wasn’t looking for a handout; he was a “successful businessman” addressing “inequalities”), then YOU have to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your fellow man. This is an action known as “charity”. It is practiced around the world by the Christian Church and other groups who TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for their fellow man. Socialism is the ABDICATION of responsibility; not to care for the “less fortunate” fellow man, but to PUNISH the successful. This wrong is compounded in the United States, where Socialism at the Federal level is explicitly contrary to the Constitution. Every time the Federal government acts to deprive one citizen of his earnings and hand them to another citizen, we have undermined the basis of our freedom.