Here’s another gigantic myth about capitalism: That those who innovate and create owe others for the fact they made a lot of money.
In other words, they create something that’s so valuable, that so many people need and wish to purchase, that they end up becoming billionaires. Yet they’re told they have to “give back.”
Give back? What did they take? If I take your car, I should give it back. In fact, I shouldn’t steal in the first place. Stealing is wrong, and it should be illegal.
But creating and producing are not theft. That’s why people become billionaires: Because they created something very valuable, and in demand. (And if you don’t agree what they sold is valuable, it’s not your concern to get involved.)
To suggest that all property is theft is Marxism. Most people claim not to buy into Marxism, but the overwhelming majority takes it for granted that if anyone makes a million, or a billion dollars, they must “give some of it back.”
But again: what the hell was stolen?
Consider Bill Gates. He’s truly a titan of history. His Windows operating framework is the computer equivalent of the ground we walk on. Without that framework, little else about computers, or the Internet as we know it, would presently exist.
Because what Gates created is so valuable, he became wealthy. The billions of dollars he and his company Microsoft have made were not done out of charity. And they involved no theft of anything by anybody. It was all self-interested, profit-driven, love-of-knowledge-based, creative productivity. (By the way, it created a lot of jobs and other forms of prosperity for a lot of people in the process.)
Yet everyone — including, worst of all, Bill Gates himself — subscribe to the vicious falsehood that they owe something back. By saying, “I must give back,” a person is essentially acknowledging, “I stole something.” Not true!
Consider Bill Gates’ recent statements: “Just creating an innovative company is a huge contribution to the world. During my 20′s and 30′s that was all I focused on. Ideally people can start to mix in some philanthropy like Mark Zuckerberg has early in his career. I have enjoyed talking to some of the Valley entrepreneurs about this and I am impressed and how early they are thinking about giving back – much earlier than I did.” (Source: qz.com, 2/10/14)
It’s no wonder successful and productive entrepreneurs are so hated. They accept the premise of their most fierce enemies — that they stole something, even though they didn’t. And then, through philanthropy (not to mention massive tax rates) they proceed to hand over huge chunks of it.
But what’s 10 or 30 or even 40 percent of your billions, if you stole what you own? If all property is theft, then shouldn’t you hand it all back?
That’s why Bill Gates and the others who apologize for their wealth never receive the forgiveness they seek. Theft of that magnitude would be unforgivable, and even a 50 percent income tax rate would be small penalty indeed … had they actually done something wrong.
People who hate capitalism (now a slight majority, it seems) likewise despise those who flourish under capitalism. Why? Because they don’t think anyone should stand out, or succeed. It’s mean. Sure, it works and makes the world a better place as well as benefiting the one who’s successful. But it’s mean.
Are we all children, emotionally? Is that what America has come to?
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with donating your money. Chances are, if you end up earning billions of dollars, then you rationally and even selfishly wish to give to causes — not only charity, but any cause or purpose significant to you. But it’s entirely up to you. Nobody should fine you, arrest you or condemn you if you choose to spend or save every penny of that money. It’s yours to spend, or not.
What I am saying is that it’s wrong to claim, or even imply, that somebody owes another something simply because they were successful.
Your success belongs to you. I suspect this is what makes so many people frightened of capitalism (a fear which sometimes converts to anger or even rage.) If your success belongs to you, maybe your failures or disappointments do, as well. Maybe we are all the captains of our own ships. Sure, nobody can control everything. But everyone is responsible for where he or she charts his or her course in life, and where that chosen course ultimately leads.
That’s a notion of self-responsibility that millions cannot tolerate, and it frightens them deeply.
The billions anybody makes for doing something superb or excellent is neither a crime nor a sin. We should be grateful to these people, instead of punishing them or putting them in a position where they feel they have to constantly apologize for themselves.
It’s idiotic, it’s sick, and it’s just plain wrong.
Michael J Hurd
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