The age of Obama is the age of envy and jealousy couched as fairness.
As I have documented many times, Obama’s political strategy during and after the 2008 campaign has been to appeal to envy and jealousy directed towards the Top 2% or 5%, depending upon the speech. Just recently, Obama mocked the wealthy as sitting around “counting their money.”
In Obama’s world, “rich” really means nothing more than independence from the government, an ability to fund your life, education and retirement without relying on other people’s money redistributed by the goverment. A “tax cut” just means keeping more of what you already earned, it does not mean receiving anything from the government for what you did not earn.
Obama’s politics of envy and jealousy worked in 2008, but were not the central theme of the campaign. “Hope and change” was the theme, which amounted to nothing more than the delusional belief that a trained agitator from Chicago would be something other than an agitator as president.
As we approach the 2012 campaign, Obama has gone into full throttle envy and jealousy agitation mode. The Obama campaign has made the decision that turning those who receive against those who pay is good politics.
As we report today, Policy Exchange – supposedly the Prime Minister’s favourite ideas outlet – has done a brave and unusual thing. Rather than polling the public just on policy and voting intention, it has put a far more abstract moral issue before them. It instructed the pollsters at YouGov to find out precisely what the public thought the most powerful term of approbation in the political lexicon – “fair” – actually amounted to.
The quite unequivocal reply that was received (with breathtakingly enormous majorities in some forms) came as no surprise to this column. To most voters, fairness does not mean an equal distribution of resources and wealth, or even a redistribution of these things according to need. It means, as the report’s title – “Just Deserts” – implies, that people get what they deserve. And what is deserved, the respondents made clear, refers to that which is achieved by effort, talent or dedication to duty: in other words, earned on merit.
Imagine that. After all these years of being morally blackmailed by the poverty lobby, harried by socialist ideologues and shouted at by self-serving public sector axe-grinders, the people are not cowed. Even after being bludgeoned by the BBC thought monitors and browbeaten by Left-liberal media academics with the soft Marxist view of a “fair” society – from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs – they have not bought it.
Let’s only hope that the American people will have the wisdom of the British on the meaning of “fairness.” That would be a welcome change.
Update: Left Coast Rebel asks, “Britons are waking up and get it, will we before it’s too late?”