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An equality of misery: the only equality government can guarantee

the equality of misery

The downside of the new, expanded Moronosphere: I keep reading stuff I want to go back to and I can’t remember where I saw it. Here’s one I managed to find again, thanks to Andrew’s Dad.

You probably heard that Cuba is finally going to unban cellphones (legally, anyway — a lot of ordinary Cubans had cadged phones off tourists). Here’s the charming way the AP put it:

Getting through the day without a cell phone is unthinkable now in most developed countries, but Cuba’s government limited access to cell phones as well as kitchen appliances, hotels and other luxuries in an attempt to preserve the relative economic equality that is a hallmark of social life in communist Cuba.

Got that? To preserve relative economic equality, you must ban basic goods the rest of the world takes for granted. The equality of communism is an equal grinding poverty.

Why? Because you can’t make a poor man into a rich man by giving him money, but you can make a rich man poor by taking his stuff away and not letting him amass more. Rich and poor aren’t static qualities; they flow from attitudes and behaviors. The moment Cuba takes oppression away, some people — by fair means and foul — will manage to accumulate more than others.

You know the old saying: you could divide the world’s money equally among us and, five years later, we’d all be right back where we started. Me, I think there’d be some degree of permanent shift: good and bad luck are a factor in some fortunes. But the general principle holds.

You only have to look at the number of people whose lives are ruined by winning the lottery. Like these lumpen idiots who won £100,000 on a scratch ticket in 2006. They’ve pissed it all away, and now they’re back demanding government benefits.

That didn’t surprise me. What did surprise me was the reaction of posters on the site where I read about it: many said government benefits are a right and lottery winnings are a windfall that is supposed to be pissed away on luxuries.

An attitude of poverty.

April 16, 2008 — 12:34 pm
Comments: 37