Steve Jobs died leaving five and a half billion dollars, thousands of high paying jobs (12,000 in his hometown Cupertino alone, plus countless others in support roles), and having made things better for every person on the planet. Having begun in a garage with his friend, Steve Wozniak, with only personal funding, and no government bailouts when things did not go well, he exemplified what has made the United States the most prosperous people on earth. He vies with Thomas Edison and Henry Ford as the world’s greatest inventor.
One wonders how he might have done if born under extreme socialism—such as Sparta, the ancient Greek city state and also the worlds’ first known socialist state—which model the Founders veered from in repulsion, in their founding of a land destined to produce at least 85% of all inventions of mother earth. How would a mind such as his have flowered under the more modern socialist states of the twentieth century, the USSR or East Germany perhaps, or in North Korea today? One is hard pressed to identify a single invention of significance under any of these states while under socialism. He would have been destroyed, as socialists traditionally kill or at least take the wealth of the rich and distribute it to themselves. Under more moderate socialism as in Europe, seemingly our model of late, we prefer to tax or regulate entrepreneurs to death—often before they get off the ground.
The philosophy of sharing the wealth has always resulted in bringing down those who create the jobs. You can hate McDonalds, or Wall Mart or whatever, all you want, but they still give you your job. Do you suppose that those demonstrating in “Occupy Wall Street” today, (ironically using their various “Steve Jobs creations” to communicate with each other their revolutionary doctrine attempting to bring down “the stinking capitalist system”), understand how the free market actually saves them from third world poverty? No!!
The “share the wealth” philosophy is as old as mankind. Aristotle first wrote of it in his work Politics, Book IV twenty-four centuries ago when he noted that the poor will always envy the rich and the rich will always despise the poor. Neither can rule because neither can understand the other. The middle class, having enough of the goods of the world to not envy the rich, but being close enough to poverty themselves to understand the poor, is the arbitrator class. The free market also creates and expands the middle class. Karl Marx put force into the equation making the arguments for class warfare which make the Steve Jobs—all of them— the enemies of the state.
The problem with socialism, whether extreme under communism, which exterminates the rich, or more mild by taxing those creating jobs to accomplish equality for all, is that it destroys incentive for the producer. If a great inventor, such as Steve Jobs, cannot see a profit at the end of the tunnel why would he risk investing in the next new idea? Why would a medical doctor endure years of medical school and poverty if the government is not going to allow him, when finished, to charge what he may for his services? Altruistic motivators like “for the betterment of mankind” are normally not enough to vault the distance by themselves. There would be a shortage of inventors and doctors. Inventors deprive themselves of food, fabric, and fellowship, working late into the night to accomplish their vision of an Edison Illuminating Light Co. or the Apple Corporation rather than an eight-hour a day government job at a government-controlled salary. Government intervention in the market is like mixing a cup of sugar into the gasoline of a lawn mower. It may still work but the efficiency is greatly impaired.
Abraham Lincoln was well aware of the class warfare advocated by socialism, having read The Communist Manifesto, and saw it as a theory opposite that left to us by our Founders under the U.S. Constitution, when he wrote. “Property is the fruit of labor; property is desirable; is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprises… Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him labor diligently to build one for himself, this by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence… I take it that it is best for all to leave each man free to acquire property as fast as he can. Some will get wealthy. I don’t believe in a law to prevent a man from getting rich; it would do more harm than good.”
Steve Jobs did well, in large part, because he could begin in a garage without governmental regulation. Big government advocates would have had him begin, at the very least, with a costly nine-month environmental impact study, followed by his obtaining a building permit to alter his garage, followed by a permit to do business, followed by filing forms dealing with social security and etc.; and there is always OSHA hovering over him. Get the picture? All this before he has any profits to confiscate for the benefit of those who do not support themselves.
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