When Conflicts Align

woodchopping (2)

Gordon Parks photo. 1942.

What Paul Krugman addresses in his column today is one of the oldest conundrums of America’s political economy: the divide between the working class and the wealthier minority. But more deeply, why does this working class align itself with its wealthy antithesis, even as politicians set the interests of the two diametrically apart?

This question is a reliable staple of our politics; it has provided aid and comfort to identify politics, but it disguises an asymmetry that pits government vs. freedom, and freedom against equality! Beyond luck, gifts, and blood, many see equality/opportunity as code for restricting freedom, not expanding it! Expanding rights is denounced as reducing choices! New liberties are the abominable proliferation of government control.

In this view, the whole pie doesn’t grow (growth is singular, not organic!). Instead, as more pies are made, they are taken away by unfair edicts of government and given to others. Life is always win-lose, never win-win. In this world view, real freedom rejects equality and its implied vigilance and restrictions. That guarantee of protections is what they seek to overthrow!

Once the problems of politics were mismanagement and corruption, now the problem follows the idea that freedom has no limits or accountability. Freedom does carries responsibility; it sets freedom apart from the acts of outlaws. Freedom is not absolute and it is not a government crime to redistribute the wealth of society as an instrument for the greater, public good.

Is Vast Inequality Necessary? – The New York Times http://nyti.ms/1Rpz5dF


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