In response to a wingnut rant email, mostly about how terrible it would be to let the Bush tax cuts expire, I responded with a comment that any discussion of taxes should include what the tax money is being spent on.
To which Alan said:
Fair has nothing to do with it. You're concept of fair is those that work hard and earn a decent living should give up their hard earned money to support those that don't bother to care for themselves, or feel that it's their god given right to receive handouts from those who do work.
Fair would be each person paying for what they consume, if they are unable from a disability, that is a different situation. That situation is not a significant impact on society.
This is really pretty standard libertarian/republican cant and I was not at all happy with the way he was putting words into my mouth, so I dashed off a quick response:
The Reagan welfare queen myth really does not enter into it. Far and away the vast majority of the poor work harder than you do and for longer hours. But you are right in that fair has nothing to do with it.
Fair might also be in each person consuming only what he can produce without the bias introduced by the government. I recognize this is not workable but it makes as much sense as your statement.
All tax policies, and other government policies for that matter, have winners and losers. Under Bush all the winners were the relatively wealthy. Under Obama it is almost as bad, but not quite.
Of course Alan had an answer:
Yeah, it's easy to try and screw others when it's not your money. You don't have any right to it. Just like stealing someone else's car because you think you have a larger need.
Enough already with this fairly pointless exchange. But it got me thinking about why it is that people with more than they need feel perfectly all right with homeless people sleeping on the street and with hungry, ill clothed, children within easy reach?
Did you ever watch any of the documentaries about our nearest wild relatives, the Chimpanzees? In every established troop there is a dominant male boss, usually aided and abetted by a coalition of somewhat less privileged male allies. The Main Man gets all the females he wants and the best of everything. He shares some of the females with his allies. The outsiders get none of the females and the picked over other goodies. The weakest competitors are shunned and sometimes even hunted and killed either for sport or for food, I am unsure of the details, but I saw one such hunt on TV.
Sometimes a really strong competitor, or coalition of competitors, kicks out the ruling party and takes over. There is a bit of reshuffling, but soon the new group is acting just like the deposed group.
The “money” in a chimpanzee society is females, prestige, and first dibs on the good eats. There is no question of fairness involved. “By god we took it, and we are going to keep it, because we can”, seems to be the logic involved.
It is the same logic the libertarian/republican uses when talking about “my money” and “those that work hard and earn a decent living should give up their hard earned money”. “By god we played the game well and joined the right clubs and became part of the privileged class, and screw the rest of you, I got mine.” It would make any Chimpanzee proud to be related.