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Depardieu is Right: Social Democrats Spit on Success

CNN.com reports:

France’s socialist administration wants to raise taxes on citizens earning more than 1 million euros ($1.3 million) annually to 75%. The Russian Federation has a flat income tax rate of 13%, RIA Novosti reported.

France’s constitutional council struck down the top tax rate measure at the end of last year, but President Francois Hollande has voiced his determination still to ask for more from “those who have the most.”

Against this backdrop of rising socialism in France, one of its most celebrated and successful actors, Gérard Depardieu, has left the country to avoid those higher taxes. He’s fleeing, of all places, to flat-tax Russia.

According to the London Telegraph online:

Mr. Hollande telephoned the actor on January 1 to “understand” the actor’s decision to leave, and Depardieu accused him of “spitting on success.”

Depardieu’s friend Arnaud Frilley told France’s RTL radio: “The president called Gerard to ask if he was really serious about leaving France for good.

“Gerard told him it wasn’t the taxes themselves that sickened him, but he was sickened by the way France spits on success. At one point he got very annoyed.

“He also said he felt the way the media had treated him was terrible and that he needed to take a step back.

“But he did say that he would remain French in his heart and that he felt he was a kind of spokesman for all other successful people like him who had not spoken out.”

The issue is not a French one. And it’s not merely economic and political, either. The issue, never named (to my knowledge) in this whole affair is a moral one.

By “moral issue,” I mean: It’s either Depardieu’s money, or it isn’t. Either he put his years of effort into developing his acting skills, struggling to get ahead in an almost impossible profession, or he didn’t.

Most importantly: The fruits of his efforts – which happened to be highly successful, in his case – either belong to himself … or they don’t.

Your money either belongs to you, or it doesn’t. This is true because your life either belongs to you, or it doesn’t. You are either sovereign over yourself, and all that you create, or you’re not.

The inescapable fact of reality is that it’s morally wrong to spit on success, as Depardieu puts it.

These moralistic, force-wielding politicians, including Obama in the U.S., do spit on success. Like any other abuser, they try to berate their victims into thinking little of themselves. Socialists have the force of jails, police and armies behind them—not to mention the will of the mob in more elections than not. But their most important weapon is moral: A belief they’re counting on in their victims to be ashamed of their self-interest and selfishness.

What does this allegedly immoral selfishness consist of? Nothing more than recognition of the fact that any money earned honestly is your own. This is true whether it’s a single dollar (or euro), or whether it’s a billion. This is true whether you earn your pittance or billions from acting, writing, unskilled labor, educating, or innovating new industries and technologies.

He who creates and generates wealth is entitled to it—every penny of it.

The moment government starts deciding how much belongs to government and how much still belongs to the person is the moment individual rights and basic human morality have been violated.

People will reply that a rich actor “doesn’t need” more than 25 percent of his income. By what right does anyone say this? If you made a million dollars tomorrow, how would you like it if someone responded to your success by saying, “You don’t need most of that.”

The moral principle underlying wealth redistribution is wrong. Nobody ever identifies it, and as a result there’s never a substantive argument about it. Even in this French controversy, nobody—not even the victim, Depardieu—appears to understand or be willing to name it. That’s why the Hollandes and Obamas of the world keep getting away with their plunder.

Socialists in America, as much as anywhere else, have succeeded in convincing a majority that the only issue that matters is how much someone needs. This obliterates any notion of individual rights, including property rights. People are pretty interested in property rights when it comes to their own wealth and income, but are prepared to vote it away for others when it suits them. Case in point: The French people, who voted into office this overtly socialist administration, while (according to media reports) responding with mass sympathy to the plight of the popular actor.

Nobody ever said the mob made sense, or was very consistent. That was the whole point of protecting individual (including property) rights in the first place.

The socialist democrats who run France—as well as the United States—ignore this issue at their peril. The more you spit on the successful, they more they will flee. If they run out of places to flee, they’ll simply stop producing, creating and being successful. Depardieu has the nerve to speak up about it. Others might not, but they’ll still quit the extent to which they’re enslaved. If not a 75 percent tax rate, why not an 80 percent rate? Or 90 percent? Or complete slavery: 100 percent? At what point do we stop pretending it isn’t slavery?

Sooner or later, the socialists always run out of other people’s money. Why? Because when you break the spirit of the productive, there’s nothing left to loot and plunder.