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June 15, 2008

Sometimes we tend to think that humansn are basically good, or at least most of us are. It recently occurred to me that our penchant for using politics to plot how we can take money from others is a strong counterindication.

We are very blessed in this country. Even the people we usually consider poor are often very rich compared with other people in the world at large. It's therefore very sad to me that a great deal of our political discourse revolves around the question of how we can convince our government to take money from some people and give it to other people.

Aren't we somewhat embarassed, using our envy of mythological people, like "the richest one percent of America," to justify our forcibly taking their money through the government threat of taxes, and then giving that money to ourselves? It's easy to justify arbitraily raising taxes on mythological people- we'll never meet them! "Don't tax you and don't tax me, let's tax that feller behind that tree," as the saying goes.

We allow our envy to make the justification that the rich people are rich, so surely they can afford these tax hikes. Then we let our envy tell ourselves that these rich people must've done something bad, so they must deserve these tax increases.

Our nation should not make a policy of envy. We should not think we are being charitable or philanthropic when we use force to take money from some people and give it to other people. It may seem like a good thing if we plaster a pious motive onto such a threatening transaction, but the true evil will come to dominate. All too often, the people who actually get the money are those who have the power, and so the truly needy are left without aid while the powerful grow more voracious.

Before we preach that point, let us practice being charitable with our own money. We need to realize that our envy can turn us all into greedy monsters. Let's stop using nice sounding slogans to advocate policies that will only encourage abuses of power.

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