A comment on a thread at Powerline on Liberalism is just resentment and envy sanctified where the video showed up as well. After eight years of PDT, even if the astounding success of his first year as President continues for the following seven, you will hear exactly the same. That is what this post is about:
I recall a recent twitter conversation that I engaged in. Basically it was a discussion on the outcome of a social experiment where people were given a choice between two alternative income distribution models.
The first one, choice A, had the highest level of income capped at say 100,000, had a fairly tight distribution across the quartiles, with the lowest being something like 10.
The second one, choice B, allowed for a very small number of individuals to earn 1,000,000 followed by a much wider distribution of quartiles, with the lowest being something like 100.
People were asked to choose which distribution they preferred, and I think they chose option A over option B by more than 2 to 1. This was the case even though it was clear (and perhaps emphasized) that everyone in option B had more money, with the poorest having effectively 10 times the purchasing power over option A.
While that result is astounding in and of itself, the replies on the twitter thread were even more interesting because there were so many people who offered strained and painful rationalizations as to why choice A was better. One I recall insisted that choice B was worse because the purchasing power would be reduced back to A levels since the economy would just reset to the higher levels of wealth due to inflation or something.
My comment ultimately was that all the rationalizations were just thin cover, and that the real reason for the choice was plain old envy of the top. Now I’d have to go back and find the thread to be sure, but I seem to recall the gentleman who started the thread insisting that the authors of the experiment made it clear that the 100 to 10 ratio at the bottom levels really did imply B had 10 times the buying power of A, but that it clearly didn’t matter to the outcome.
I find this result to be a fascinating insight into the irrationality of human economic/moral intuition, and how jealousy and envy play such an outsized role in shaping it.
Socialism has never done anyone any good, other than the handful of leaders who eventually climb to the top of the pyramid. But the envy that drives it will never go away, which is why the socialist impulse will also never go away. For the rest of us, what is crucial to remember is that the motivation behind the rhetoric is in no sense benevolent, but as malevolent as the human heart can be.