In Maine, Tea Party [sic] activists jammed the state Republican convention last spring to reject the party platform, replacing it with one that urged “a return to the principles of Austrian economics,” as espoused by Hayek, and the belief that “freedom of religion does not mean freedom from religion.” The new platform also embraced the idea that “it is immoral to steal the property earned by one individual and give it to another who has no claim or right to its benefits” — a line ripped from Bastiat’s jeremiad against taxation and welfare.
Let's repeat that controversial clause -- “it is immoral to steal the property earned by one individual and give it to another who has no claim or right to its benefits.”
Now, of course, the Times writer is concerned because many of us extend that very innocent phrase to include our incomes. We understand it to mean that the money we've worked for is our property just as surely as our homes, our cars or our IPOD's are our property (just try to suggest to the reporter that the government should be free to take his IPOD).
Now, the left does admit to some property rights -- after all, even the USSR allowed people to own their furniture (though not the room it was placed in). But it has become all discombobulated about money. Money, it seems (and I blame the Keynesians), is seen as some sort of common possession on which we all have a claim, but a claim whose validity is to be determined by the government -- or, if you prefer, the will of the people.
What intellectual sleight of hand do you suppose allows them to think that? Are they really thinking at all?