What is Worker Exploitation?

No one has ever been able to explain to me how any entrepreneur or business who freely offers jobs– any kind of job at any wage– that people are free to apply for or not as they wish, can be “exploiting” people.

If it’s not the very best possible job opportunity available, then I should simply not take the job, right? And if it is, shouldn’t I be deeply grateful to the employer for offering me the best possible opportunity available to me?

If I am worth more than a job offers, or my current job is paying me, shouldn’t I just get another job that pays what I’m worth, or start a business myself?

If I just can’t find a job that pays me what I think I’m worth, then isn’t that pretty much proof that I’m not worth as much as I think I am?

If an employer can make a healthy profit from me at a higher wage, and I ask for that higher wage, and the employer says no, in other words, they would rather lose the profit they make from me that pay me more, does that mean the employer is not greedy enough?

I asked someone this:

“I offer you a job requiring 70 hours a week that pays $1 per week. Did I just exploit you?”

And the reply was,

“No, it only becomes exploitation if someone accepts the job.”

So the employer, making a job offer, cannot exploit anyone. Only a worker can cause exploitation, by accepting the job.

Interesting!

It’s not politics, it’s religion, stupid

(The word “stupid” in the title refers to myself, of course 🙂 )

One great joy in my life is the constant discovery of people who see the world far more clearly than I.

This article brilliantly states:

“Statism is about a failed top down 20th Century religion based in the feverish dreams of Marx and Hegel. Seriously, it is a religion.”

Wow. “It is a religion.” Brilliant! Of course! Religion is based on faith, not logic.

Now, I don’t mean to denigrate religion. Individual beliefs, whether religious, spiritual, philosophical, or otherwise, are sacred and every individual should be free to believe whatever they wish. But some beliefs are unarguably based on faith, and others on logic.

This is the mistake I have repeatedly made:

I have always believed people approached politics as I did, like a scientist intent on finding the truth, connecting the dots as data points emerged, or a detective trying to solve a case by weighing various theories against the known facts.

I used to think that if someone disagreed with me, they could show me where the flaw in my logic was, so that I could improve my thinking, or, I could demonstrate to them that my logic in a specific case was sound, where theirs was not.

But I was wrong.

People don’t believe in a political party out of logic or intelligence. People believe in a political party out of emotion, blind faith, loyalty, tribal instinct… in short, religious fervor.

People don’t vote Democrat or Republican due to the facts. People vote Democrat or Republican despite the facts.

When it comes to buying a new TV or car, people study the available data and generally make decisions driven by logic.

But Democrats and Republicans are not scientists or detectives. They are all too often zealots, ready to blindly die for their flag without ever questioning and delving too deeply into what that flag actually represents.

Income and Wealth Inequality

In a recent speech, our President said that income inequality was “the defining issue of our time.” The new mayor of New York, Bill de Blasio, vows to use government to attack income inequality. The Occupy protesters used the “99%” number to represent the wealth and income gaps between the top 1% and the bottom 99% of people in the U.S.

Yet it’s easy to prove nobody truly believes that income inequality, or wealth inequality, in a society is wrong or immoral.

What?

oprah-and-tedImagine Oprah Winfrey (net worth: $2.8B) is on a yacht with Ted Turner (net worth: only $2B). Oprah is worth a whopping $800 million more than poor Ted.

$800 million is a gargantuan gap in wealth.

$800 million dollars is enough to buy Ted a fleet of 400 two million dollar yachts, or send 8,000 of his descendants to a nice college. It’s more than the gross national product of many countries.

Obviously, Oprah needs to correct this immoral inequity immediately by giving Ted $400 million of her ill-gotten gains to even things out, right?

Of course not.

No sane person would protest the huge, $800 million dollar wealth gap between Oprah and Ted as being reprehensible, immoral, or unfair.

Well, that’s just two rich people. What about the wealth gap between a rich and a poor person?

Many might protest the wealth inequality between Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, and his lowest paid employee, even when that gap is only $60 million. So $800 million inequality is fine, yet $60 million is too much? That makes no sense.

An arbitrary rule is not a rule.

Well, then it’s not the absolute dollar amount, it’s the ratio.

Nope, you don’t believe that, either. Wall Street Protest

Some of the Wall Street brokers laughing out of the windows at the Occupy protesters make well over a million a year, or approximately 100 times what a Walmart worker makes. But if a 100x gap is immoral, then Oprah, who makes $385 million a year, should definitely be transferring oodles of her wealth to these multimillionaire Wall Street shlubs.

No, not even the most progressive, class-warfare warrior, Socialist Party-card-carrying Daily Kos reader would demand that these Wall Street millionaires go on welfare.

Those are all bad examples. Anyone who cares about social justice believes that as a society we need to work towards more income and wealth equality.

Nope. You don’t believe that. poverty_India_Mumbai_family_washing

Want more proof that inequality is not the issue that anyone cares about? Let’s say there was a vote that would make everyone in the U.S. exactly equal in net worth. And that net worth was the average net worth of a person in rural India or sub-Saharan Africa.

Even though that law would result in perfect wealth equality in the U.S., you know no one would ever vote for it, including you.

I need more proof.

Okay. Let’s say you had a choice between two possible future Americas:

1. A country where the poorest households had an income of $10,000, and the richest had an income of $20,000

or

2. A country where the poorest households had an income of $20,000, and the richest had an income of hundreds of millions

Which would you vote for?

Obviously, if you have any compassion at all, you would vote for the second, even though it is far more unequal than the first. And this example most closely resembles the actual choice we need to make, between socialism and capitalism.

So clearly, inequality is not perceived as a problem by anyone (except, maybe, for those driven by simple envy and not social justice). We’ve proven that.

Okay then, so if it’s not inequality, what is the issue we all care about, really?

We don’t care about wealth inequality when people are doing well. We care when households on the low end of the income scale are struggling to pay bills, or can’t afford the basic necessities of life.

So, we’ve learned the issue is not “correcting inequality.” It’s eliminating poverty.

And while it might seem to some that there are many reasons a household lives in poverty, in truth there is only one: The household has no wage earner with a good paying job.

Well, that changes the picture–and the goal–dramatically!

If even the very poorest households in America could live what we would currently call a “middle class” lifestyle, and easily afford the basics (and then some), would anyone (besides the simply envious) protest inequality? Because if the answer is no, then the goal changes. The goal is no longer reducing inequality.

The goal is simply getting everyone who is able and willing to work a decent paying job.

How do we do that?

We know that businesses must make a profit from each employee to cover their costs and overhead. And we know not all employees are profitable (if they were, every company would hire every last person they could find, of course!). So, in order to solve the problem of poverty, does it make more sense to:

  1. wage war against companies, regulating and taxing them to make it extremely difficult for them to make a profit from each new employee?
  2. or the opposite?

More:

https://jmellicker.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/wiping-out-poverty-again/

https://jmellicker.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/war-on-poverty-now-officially-over/

https://jmellicker.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-progressive-conundrum/

https://jmellicker.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/robbing-peter-to-pay-paul-is-not-progress/

 

The Rise and Fall of Detroit – A Valuable and Tragic Lesson

Detroit in the 1800s

detroit_1855_60_jefferson_biddlehouIn the 19th century, Detroit, like the rest of the United States, offered people an environment of almost complete economic freedom. In Detroit, there was a city government, but for all intents and purposes, its only role was to provide police and a court system for criminals.

There were no federal taxes and local taxes were minimal. There were no minimum wage laws, very few regulations on business, no welfare, no unions, no Social Security, no Medicare or Medicaid.

How did people live in Detroit without government programs?

detroit-1907

Poor immigrants moved to Detroit, worked hard, started businesses and provided goods, services and jobs to the community.

For example, in 1881, Joseph Hudson opened a small clothing shop at the Detroit Opera House. In just 10 years he had 8 stores in the midwest and was the most profitable clothing retailer in the country.

Children’s schooling took place in teachers’ homes and parents paid teachers directly. No one expected to be taken care of, and Detroit’s families proved to be quite capable of taking care of themselves. Private charities took care of orphans, the sick and the disabled.

Free from the burdens of government taxation and regulation, the increase in the quality of life in Detroit (along with the rest of the U.S.) from 1800 – 1900 was dramatic, especially for the poorest, who found opportunity in abundance.

Word spread around the world, and in the fifty years from 1850 to 1900, Detroit’s population swelled over ten times larger.

The Beginning of Motor City

Ten Millionth Model T come off the lineIn 1903, a man named Henry Ford, born on a farm to a poor Irish immigrant father and orphan mother, started a company to manufacture automobiles. After failing twice, the third company survived, and thrived.

Today, we would say Ford’s factories fit every classic description of “worker exploitation”– long working hours, working conditions of questionable safety, and while Ford himself became filthy rich (his net worth at death was greater than the three richest people in the world today combined) he paid his workers only a few dollars per day.

Yet the job opportunities Ford offered at the Ford Motor Company drew hundreds of thousands of people to Detroit from from the Midwest and South, from the shipyards of Scotland and England, and from Greece, Italy, Mexico and Lebanon, among many other countries.

Voting with One’s Feet

One crucially important data point when studying history is how people “vote with their feet.” This phrase refers to the obvious fact that people often move from one place to another if the new place offers them a better life.

Reality check: If Ford and other Detroit area businesses were truly exploiting workers, then after finding out how horrible the working conditions were, wouldn’t people have quit and gone back to the better lives that they left?

detroit-statlerbookwashBut this didn’t happen. In fact, workers sent for their whole families, and told their friends to move to Detroit as well. In the fifty years after Ford opened his first factory, Detroit’s population skyrocketed from 285,000 to over 2 million.

The massive influx of people to Detroit, and the theory that Ford exploited his workers, are contradictory. Unless the population stats are wrong, one can only conclude that Ford and other Detroit-area businesses offered people much better lives than they had from whence they came.

Is the fact that Better and Better was not Perfect justify the destruction of a city?

UnionPosterSome progressives might acknowledge that the hard work, innovation and entrepreneurship of Ford and other Detroit-area business owners offered workers far better opportunities than they had elsewhere.

However, some would still contend that the people of Detroit would be even better off, by adopting more government regulations, strong unions, bigger government, higher taxes, and more government programs.

Detroit gives us a perfect, though tragic, laboratory to test this theory.

The Richest City in the World

detroitRising on a tide of free market economics, by the 1920s, Detroit became the richest city in the world. The combination of entrepreneurial innovation, low taxes and minimal regulation had created a thriving economy where even the poorest had a standard of living that was the envy of most of the rest of the world.

For example, almost everyone could afford a car, as the Ford Model A cost only $385 ($7,000 in today’s dollars, about a third of an entry level car today).

Detroit had the highest median income, and highest rate of home ownership, of any major U.S. city. American entrepreneurship, innovation and greedy capitalism had created a fountain of money for all to share.

Bridge in the woods, Belle Isle Park, Detroit, 1900-1906In contrast to the U.S. in 2014, where it is a struggle to raise a family even with two parents working, in early 20th century Detroit, even the lowest paid factory workers could easily support a family with only one wage earner. And it was even common for factory workers to be able to afford to buy a family lake cottage for vacations.

Think about that– exploited factory workers who own lake cottages.

In Ford’s greedy quest for ever higher profits, he decided to offer a $5 daily wage, a substantial increase over the average pay for industrial workers. He did this not due to coercion, but in order to steal the best workers from competitors and build a highly productive and loyal workforce. It was a calculated gamble that paid off. While not an outrageously high income, it’s interesting to note that this wage was higher in today’s dollars than the median salary in the U.S. today.

So What the Heck Happened to Detroit?

Free market advocates believe that laissez-faire economics naturally work to constantly improve the standard of living for everyone, especially the poorest. So, being the bastion of free market capitalism the city was, why did Detroit not continue rising in prosperity throughout the 20th century to become an even richer, even more prosperous 21st century paradise?

What happened?

The Destruction of Detroit Begins

Strike-IIIn short, the leeches smelled blood. The massive success of the auto industry attracted a different type of greed, people who did not want to earn their money by the hard work of free enterprise, but by force, which is far easier.

The United Auto Workers Union was formed, and in collusion with Detroit government, forced auto manufacturers to pay auto workers ever higher salaries, while also fighting to reduce workers’ productivity and value to their employers. After a few decades, UAW members were costing their employers $130,000 per year, including benefits and pensions, for a minimally productive 35.5 hour workweek.

WPR: Marches & PicketsFrequent strikes that caused massive losses, and ever more onerous union rules and regulations decimated auto manufacturers’ profits and resulted in huge increases in labor costs.

Obviously, as a result, U.S. automakers became bloated and inefficient, and were forced to substantially raise car prices to survive, opening up a huge opportunity for automakers in Japan, Germany and elsewhere, who were able to easily gain ever greater U.S. market share.

datsun

U.S. auto manufacturers, who were previously very happy and thriving in the Detroit area, were forced to flee the city, building factories in other, less-unionized areas of the U.S., then Canada, Mexico and other countries in a desperate attempt to survive.

After capitalists worked for a century to create almost a quarter million manufacturing jobs in the Detroit area, government and unions were able to destroy 90% of those jobs in less than 50 years.

The Rise of Detroit Big Government

Not to be outdone by the unions in the destruction of prosperity and standard of living, Detroit’s city government boosted home and commercial property taxes to the highest in the country. City government exploded until over 1 in 15 residents worked for the city. Salaries and benefits for city employees, along with pension contributions and benefit payments, grew to enormous proportions.

Whereas in a past era, Detroit workers may have been grateful for the opportunities offered to them by those willing to take the risk and responsibility of starting businesses, decades of anti-capitalist rhetoric by unions and government created a culture of bitter worker resentment where business owners and managers were viewed as the enemy, exploiters of people instead of inspirations and creators of opportunity for others.

The fact that any employee was free at any time to quit a job and seek better employment, or start a business themselves, became buried in the torrent of propaganda spread by those who profited the most from class envy and warfare– union and government leaders and employees.

Government Unemployment Insurance and Workman’s Compensation departments sided overwhelmingly with workers, as well as juries in discrimination lawsuits, making it more expensive to fire incompetent employees than to simply continue to pay them to do little, leading to ever lower productivity and a unmotivated, lazy workforce. Unions circulated pamphlets warning members against working harder, lest union job losses result. Obviously, these efforts eventually resulted in the total destruction of the U.S. auto industry.

data-driven-detroit-population-chart-of-detroitDetroit taxes per capita, double that of even nearby cities, caused taxpayers to flee the city.

The population of Detroit plunged by two-thirds– by almost a million and a half– since its peak.

The Curley Effect

Most of the credit for the destruction of Detroit goes to what has been called “The Curley Effect.”

Here’s how the Curley effect works (paraphrased from this article):

Let’s say a mayor wants to stay in office and maintain power indefinitely. One very effective plan is to advocate and adopt policies that bestow generous tax-financed favors on unions and the public sector.

Obviously, these beneficiaries then give this mayor their electoral support, that is, votes, campaign contributions, and get-out-the-vote drives.

Meanwhile, the skyrocketing taxes needed to fund the political favors triggers a flight of tax refugees to leave the cities for suburbs or elsewhere. This reduces the number of political opponents on the city’s voter registration rolls, thereby consolidating an electoral majority for the anti-capitalist party. It also shrinks the tax base of the city, even as the city’s budget swells, making the city ever more dependent upon government.

The inevitable bankruptcy that results from expanding expenditures while diminishing revenues can be postponed for decades with the help of state and federal subsidies (“stimulus” in the Obama vernacular) and creative financing, but eventually you end up with cities like Detroit.

Post-Capitalist Detroit

089

In Detroit today, called by Harvard scholars Glaeser and Shleifer “the first major Third World city in the United States,” sixty percent of children are living in poverty. Thirty-three percent of Detroit’s 140 square miles is vacant or derelict. Eighteen percent of the population is unemployed, a higher rate than Zambia, Dominican Republic or Libya.

detroit-schoolTens of thousands of buildings– homes, hospitals, schools and businesses, now stand empty, ghosts of a prosperous past when greedy capitalists- not government and unions- ruled the city.

detroitMany neighborhoods are like lawless jungles, ruled by gangs and violence. Four out of the top seven most dangerous U.S. neighborhoods are in Detroit. There is an amazing pictorial combining pictures of past and present Detroit here.

Not surprisingly, with Detroit government-run schools spending thousands more per student than the national average, almost half of Detroit residents are now functionally illiterate.

Detroit has now run up $20 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities, breaking down to over $25,000 per resident. The city declared bankruptcy in 2013 and not many people expect solvency anytime soon… or ever.

(It’s no coincidence that the constant progression towards a centrally-controlled economy has resulted in the richest city in the U.S. becoming Washington, D.C., where politicians and the politically connected live the high life at everyone else’s expense.)

Detroit was certainly not perfect in 1800s and early part of the 20th century. But the constant improvement in quality of life in an environment of economic freedom was undeniable. Life in Detroit was, simply put, continually getting “better and better.”

It is a wonderful fantasy to think that adding powerful government and unions would improve Detroit citizens’ lives further. But it is unarguable that, in fact, the opposite occurred.

What is Detroit Government doing now to encourage the kind of entrepreneurship that built the city?

detroit-8If anyone were to still disbelieve that Detroit’s government is anti-business, anti-entrepreneur, or anti-job, you need look no further than their newest initiative.

Rather than allowing the few hardworking capitalist entrepreneurs left in Detroit to undertake the long, arduous task of rebuilding the local economy, astoundingly, in an area where less than half of the residents over the age of 16 have jobs, the city government’s newest plan is to declare all-out war on any remaining job creators, announcing a new program called “Operation Compliance”– an all-out Soviet-style purge on the type of entrepreneurialism that built the once-great city.

Detroit has announced their intention to shut down 20 businesses each week and more than 900 have either been closed or are in the process so far.

Watch the sad video below to see how the few remaining heroes in Detroit, small businesspeople trying to survive and provide the community with services and jobs, are being systematically persecuted by the all-powerful Detroit government:

The press release announcing the program in January 2013 ridiculously said: “An example of an illegal business is an appliance resale shop operating in an area that is zoned for retail.”

A thorough study of Detroit’s history clearly reveals the vast difference in standard of living between a capitalist free market economy, and one under progressive government and union control, teaching us a cautionary and tragic lesson.

The Solution – A Happy Thought

Despite the horrible and worsening conditions, if I were mayor of Detroit, I know exactly what I would try to do to restore Detroit’s greatness.

I would ask that Detroit and some surrounding suburbs be declared a “Free Zone.” Businesses operating in the Free Zone would pay no taxes and be subject to only the most common sense regulations. Personal income would have reasonable local taxes taken out to fund local infrastructure, police, fire, and education vouchers, but Free Zone residents would be exempt from Federal taxation. Unions, or any kind of collective bargaining, would be illegal.

If people had confidence that the Free Zone would survive, with Detroit commercial and residential property values close to zero, with these tax incentives, there would be a massive influx of capital and entrepreneurship that would rapidly make Detroit a great place to live, and before long, the richest city in the world once again.

More Cities Capitalism Built and Progressivism Destroyed

The ten poorest U.S. cities with a population of at least 250,000 are Detroit, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Miami, St. Louis, El Paso, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Newark.

Besides all having poverty rates between 24 percent and 32 percent, these cities share a common political factor: Only two have had a conservative mayor since 1961 (and those two (Cincinnati and Cleveland) haven’t had one since the 1980s).

Union_Poster_Spread_Detroit_xlargeProgressive mayors have successfully been able to maintain a stranglehold on the City Halls of these cities by increasing taxes and regulations to the point where businesses and taxpayers are forced to flee, leaving a poor voting majority without job opportunities and dependent on government, meaning the electorate will continue to vote progressive mayors into office in order to survive, leading to widespread devastation, poverty, hopelessness and government dependence.

In short, the progressive mayors of these cities maintain power by slowly destroying these once-great and prosperous cities.

Could the “Curley Effect” happen to the entire U.S.?

SRindexofdependenceongovernment2013chart3400Currently, 49.2% of Americans receive some type of government assistance, so we are dangerously close to the tipping point.

Once over 50% of U.S. voters become dependent on government, the Curley Effect will rear its ugly head on a national basis, leading to a widespread flight of taxpayers and business owners leaving the U.S. for more business-friendly countries.

Next time you are tempted to vote for a pro-union, pro-big-government politician… think of the devastation and life-destroying results these policies have wrought on the poor men, women and children of Detroit.

What is right and wrong?

Most people have a sense of what they believe is “right and wrong.” But is morality merely the arbitrary whim of each individual or culture? Or is there any evidence for an objective morality?

Look at the following two beliefs:

  • Slavery is wrong
  • Wearing a blue T-shirt in your home is wrong

I would wager that about 100% of you would agree with the first belief, and feel the second is just silly.

But why?

Is it just your cultural bias? You believe slavery is wrong, and wearing a blue T-shirt is fine, just because that’s what you were taught when you were growing up? Because that’s what people on TV tell you? Is there nothing that objectively separates the two?

Or is there some rhyme and reason to your sense of morality?

A “wrong list”

Let’s make a list of a few things that we think most people on the planet would agree were “wrong”:

  • murder
  • slavery
  • theft
  • assault
  • rape
  • kidnapping

Do you consider all these acts “wrong”?

Why do almost all countries around the world have laws against murder, but no laws against wearing blue T-shirts? Can we derive any common denominator from these actions widely considered “wrong”?

Of course, there is a common thread: all these “wrongs” involve an unwilling participant (i.e., a “victim“).

What’s the difference between a gift and theft?

If you steal your neighbor’s lawnmower, this is theft, and your neighbor is the victim. Yet if your neighbor gives you their lawnmower, it is not theft, even though the outcome is identical.

The difference is that in the theft, the neighbor did not want you to take their property, and in the second, they did.

What’s the difference between:

  • picking up a friend to go to a party, and kidnapping?
  • consensual sex, and rape?
  • domestic violence, and a couple who studies martial arts and spars with each other?
  • a slave working in a cotton field, and a farm employee?
  • murder, and physician-assisted suicide?

At first glance, many attributes, and outcomes, of these pairs of acts seem similar.

So what’s the difference?

The difference between all these pairs of actions are the same: one is based on free, voluntary participation by all parties, and the other involves force, violence or coercion through the threat of violence.

The reason there aren’t more laws against wearing blue T-shirts is that no one is hurt by this action.

So, although we can’t prove that violence, or coercion through threat of violence, is an absolute wrong, we can say that it is far beyond coincidence that so many cultures and so many individuals agree on this “wrong list.”

The Golden Rule test:

Here’s more evidence that there’s something “special” about the “wrong list”:

Think of an action someone does, then imagine the tables are turned and that action is done to them. Are they happy?

Example:

You are working outside on a hot day, and your neighbor brings you a glass of iced tea. Next week, you do the same to them. How do they feel now the tables are turned? Probably fine.

Now let’s try that same “tables turned” experiment with people who commit one of the acts on the “wrong list”:

  • If a thief returns to their storage unit that held all the valuables they had stolen and finds it empty, are they pleased?
  • If a slave owner were captured, put into chains and forced to work day and night with frequent whippings and beatings, would they be happy?
  • If a kidnapper is forcibly abducted by police and confined to a small jail cell, would they be grateful?
  • If a murderer is sentenced to death, are they overjoyed with that outcome?

The bottom line is, our “Golden Rule” test comes out much differently with our “wrong list” actions than it did with our iced tea example. A thief, murderer, rapist, slave owner or kidnapper who somehow justifies what they do to others is not at all happy when the same acts are done to them.

In other words, people who feel forcing others against their will is okay when they do it, are intrinsically hypocritical– more evidence that there is something objectively “wrong” with committing the acts in the “wrong list”– something beyond cultural bias or individual whim.

Progressives love guns

I have a special Christmas present for everyone – a profound revelation for the holiday!! 🙂

It goes like this:

After the school shooting at Sandy Hook, there was a brief flurry of public gun ownership debate, with the usual red and blue tribes facing off against each other. At first glance, it seemed the conservatives were “pro-gun” and the progressives were “anti-gun”.

So, I’ve been pondering this for a while, and if you know me, you know I rarely stop thinking at “first glance.”

Following a logical train of thought, I arrived at an obvious conclusion:

gun-gift-for-christmasProgressives LOVE guns.

Wait… what??!?

No one loves guns, of course, in the hands of a crazy kid killing randomly chosen classmates. In fact, no one loves guns when they’re used to shoot any person (except, perhaps, in the direst of circumstances).

But 99% of the time a gun is used, it’s actually NOT used to fire a bullet.

Instead, guns are usually used as a THREAT.

Guns are used to force someone to do something they don’t want to do. Not by shooting them, but by threatening to shoot them.

A convenience store thief or bank robber rarely just runs into a place and starts shooting everyone. Instead, the thief uses the gun as a threat, to compel the store or bank workers to give the thief money. Countless robberies have taken place without a single shot fired. Yet the gun, and the threat of violence and death, is an essential part of forcing others to your will.

Try walking into a bank and just asking nicely for them to give you a million dollars, with no gun and no threat of violence. Good luck with that.

Some policemen have never fired a gun in the line of duty. Yet they wear guns. Not for the purpose of going around shooting people all day. But as an everpresent threat, so they can enforce laws.

Progressives do love guns, not for shooting people, but when used as a threat of violence, to force values onto others who do not share their beliefs.

Here are a few examples:

How about using guns to compel young, healthy, low-income people to buy expensive health insurance they don’t want so the “pool” can support older, more well-off people? Guns are needed to accomplish that goal.

Progressives love guns when they are used to coerce workers to give up half of what they earn to be spent by bureaucrats on wasteful (at best), corrupt and often violent pursuits (including the killing of far more schoolchildren around the globe than crazy classmates could ever dream of killing).

Progressives love guns when they’re used to deny poor people without job skills the opportunity to work and learn on the job at a low hourly wage.

And paradoxically, progressives love guns when they’re used to deny ordinary people the right to own a gun.

Of course, every law is backed by deadly force. That’s why people who feel “their way is the only way” feel perfectly justified in the use of guns to force others to do things they don’t want to do.

Valentines-Day-Gun-Sign

Now, to be fair, most progressive gun-lovers would probably prefer some imaginary, not so violent alternative to using guns to force progressive views on others. Perhaps, if there were some effective mass system of universal indoctrination that taught kids to fear authority, and never question those in power, taught kids that collectivism was superior to individuality and diversity, taught them to conform to societal norms rather than be independent, taught them the need to rely on a “system” and to absolve oneself of personal responsibility for one’s own life, then citizens would be sufficiently brainwashed to never need the threat of violence from guns to obey and conform. (To conceal the true purpose of such a brainwashing institution, perhaps we could call it “free public education” or something equally innocuous and benevolent-sounding.)

But, make no mistake, progressives love guns. Without guns, their agenda completely falls apart, because it depends on deadly force, not peaceful persuasion or voluntary participation.

Myself, I don’t believe in the use of guns or any violent force for any reason, with the sole exception of enforcing laws that punish those who hurt others, or try to force people to do things they don’t want to do, and also as a deterrent against people who want to hurt others.

Other than those exceptions, I genuinely hate guns! And all violence. That’s why I would never feel justified in using guns to force my views onto others who do not share them.