P. J. O’Rourke has a way with words. The author of 17 books including the one he’s perhaps most famous for, “Don’t Vote! – It Just Encourages the Bastards“, he has enough backbone to stand up to the president in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal and call him out for his blatant hypocrisy. It is a joy to read:
Given that hypocrisy is an important part of diplomacy, and diplomacy is necessary to foreign policy, allow me to congratulate you on winning a second term.
O’Rourke then recounts the ways Obama has damaged America’s image. But he saves the best for last:
But the worst thing that you’ve done internationally is what you’ve done domestically. You sent a message to America in your re-election campaign. Therefore you sent a message to the world. The message is that we live in a zero-sum universe.
Be careful with what he writes next. He’s trying to be cute and funny and serious and ironic all at the same time. He almost pulls it off:
There is a fixed amount of good things. Life is a pizza. If some people have too many slices, other people have to eat the pizza box … The solution to our problems, you said, is redistribution of the pizzas we’ve got—with low-cost, government-subsidized pepperoni somehow materializing as the result of higher taxes on pizza-parlor owners…
Mr. President, your entire campaign platform was redistribution. Take from the rich and give to the . . . Well, actually, you didn’t mention the poor. What you talked and talked about was the middle class, something most well-off Americans consider themselves to be members of. So your plan is to take from the more rich and the more or less rich and give to the less rich, more or less…
He finally gets to the point: by assuming that the economy is fixed in size, the proper role of government is to make sure that everyone gets an equal piece. But that assumption is false and Mr. O knows it:
The evil of zero-sum thinking and redistributive politics has nothing to do with which things are taken or to whom those things are given or what the sum of zero things is supposed to be. The evil lies in denying people the right, the means, and, indeed, the duty to make more things.
O’Rourke waxes eloquent:
Mr. President, please consider the message of this Christmas week—a message of giving, not taking. And consider your prominent position as a messenger of peace on earth and goodwill toward men. When you embrace a belief in the zero-sum nature of what’s under the Christmas tree and propose to redistribute everything that’s in our Christmas stockings, you’re asking the world to go sit on the Grinch’s lap instead of Santa’s.
Mr. O is no “messenger of peace on earth [or] goodwill toward men.” He sees inequality and uses force to make everything equal. As Churchill once was alleged to have said: “Capitalism is the unequal sharing of wealth. Communism is the equal sharing of misery.”
Thanks for nothing, Mr. O. And thanks to you, Mr. O’Rourke, for reminding us.