Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Five Best Sentences You'll Ever Read

So I've seen this thing on Facebook pop up, "The 5 Best Sentences You'll Ever Read."  Aside from the hyperbolic nature of the title (and some grammatical errors which automatically exclude them from being the "best"!!!), I have some problems with the content.  Don't get me wrong, in theory, they're an excellent set of principles and in an ideal world, would agree entirely.  However, the world, far from ideal, does not live on principles.  I will first post the five original sentences:

1.  You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity, by legislating the wealth out of prosperity.
2.  What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.
3.  The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does first not take from somebody else.
4.  You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.
5.  When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them; and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work, because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that is the beginning of the end of any nation.

Pithy, and, again, in an ideal world, very true.  But allow me to respond:

1.  You cannot wish for all capitalists into playing by the rules; some will lie and cheat and steal and think nothing of leaving nothing for those in their wake.  That is why legislation must exist.
2.  When one person works and doesn’t receive enough, another person (in an enlightened society, or, if you prefer, a Christian society) should be glad to spare a penny or two to help a fellow person, else that less fortunate one become a much bigger strain on society in the form of a thief, a homeless person, an addict, etc.
3.  The government would likely have to take less from everyone if those among whom the wealth is concentrated didn’t hide their money overseas or in tax shelters; or send jobs in their companies to Mexico and India; or didn’t cook the books and plunder the retirement funds of their employees.
4.  You cannot multiply wealth by hoarding it among the few.
5.  When the bulk of the wealth and power is concentrated among a small minority, the poor and weak majority will band together and force equality.  That is also the beginning of the end of any nation.  (See France, 1789).
Yeah, yeah, yeah, liberal idealist eletist bleeding-heart socialism.  Probably.  But I think I'd rather live in the kind of society where people look out for each other instead of trying to screw each other out of every nickel.

And, as always, the true five best sentences lie somewhere in the middle.  That's why I label myself as a "Radical Moderate."

Have fun, do good.