I got e-mail from Cynde Sears in response to
Sunday's Phony Campaign Update. If you'd like to read that
first, go ahead. I'll wait.
Ah, good. You're back.
Here's her response:
Unlike other responses within the blogosphere to my letter to the
Washington Post, I found yours a bit charming and silly, not mean or
vindictive. But I would like to correct one detail. I would not likely
sipping lemonade while folks earned a living working in my garden -
care for it, to be honest. No, I would likely be drinking a fine Spanish
cava, as I did while enjoying roast suckling pig in one of the finest
restaurants in Segovia, Spain, as I did just this afternoon while on
holiday. Or perhaps sipping a dram of the world's finest Scotch, as I
while on holiday in Edinburgh this spring.
Brief comment here: I think Mitt, whose behavior
was under discussion, is more of a lemonade kind of guy.
(Although he might make it with Perrier.)
You see, even as a liberal, I
can make money, open a business, have significant savings and a good
retirement, send my child to the college of his choice, take European
vacations at least once a year -- and still feel that when given a
between being cheap and giving people meaningful work that pays well, I
will always choose to share my good fortune. If Romney will not support
three or four workers with his hundreds of millions, why would any
reasonable person conclude he would spend what it takes -- from either
public or private sectors -- to put millions to work? His penury and
personal greed reflect exactly what's happening in this country. Major
corporations are acting like Romney: putting more money in the bank
depriving people of work, thereby contributing to our national economic
malaise. They sit on record profits and won't hire. Like Romney, they
cheap. And I don't care for cheap people.
While my original post took Cynde Sears to task for "irritating
judgmentalism", her response caused me to regret that a little.
Although my mostly-libertarian politics should imply a live-and-let-live
I can be kind of judgmental myself.
[OK, stop laughing.]
And when you're judgmental about the judgmentalism of others, the whole
enterprise turns into a sort of Ouroborosian dining on one's own
tail, and I have no idea what sort of wine would go well with that.
So, although I'm a lousy Christian, I reread Matthew
7:1-5 and will try to take that to heart, for at least the
next few minutes.
I still think her criticism of others' behavior is economically
misguided. Like many who claim the "liberal" label these days,
Cynde Sears looks at the economic decisions of
other people—from "major corporations"
down to individuals like Mitt Romney—and thinks: I could do a
better job than that.
Even occasional readers know where I sit on that topic: scale up
that attitude, add political power, and you find yourself
in the Choomwagon riding down
Road to Serfdom.
Again, see David
Boaz for more specificity.
But the "cheap people" comment caused me to recall an even more
appropriate response: this
classic Slate article from Steve Landsburg, who mused
on the economics of Ebenezer Scrooge-like behavior, the kind that
Cynde Sears finds so distasteful. Brief excerpt:
Scrooge has been called ungenerous. I say that's a bum rap. What
could be more generous than keeping your lamps unlit and your plate
unfilled, leaving more fuel for others to burn and more food for others
to eat? Who is a more benevolent neighbor than the man who employs no
servants, freeing them to wait on someone else?
In this whole world, there is nobody more generous than the
miser--the man who could deplete the world's resources but
chooses not to. The only difference between miserliness and philanthropy
is that the philanthropist serves a favored few while the miser
spreads his largess far and wide.
If you build a house and refuse to buy a house, the rest of the world
is one house richer. If you earn a dollar and refuse to spend a dollar,
the rest of the world is one dollar richer--because you produced a
dollar's worth of goods and didn't consume them.
Christmas is coming, so I suggest you Read The Whole Thing™. God
bless Us, Every One!