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Jared Polis really likes property

August 25, 2012

Here’s a surprise!  My local Democratic congressman Jared Polis, the fifth most propertied person in Congress, tweeted his followers the other day that he really likes the right to property.  Here’s his tweet:

# Things I really like: The right to life, liberty, & property

Now I wouldn’t necessarily expect him to substitute “liberté, égalité, fraternité” but isn´t it revealing that this modern day baron with disclosed property of at least $143 million rejected Jefferson’s “pursuit of happiness” and feels so comfortable publicly identifying instead with the conservative Lockean tradition?

In the real world of capitalism, property and liberty go pretty much hand in hand.  Those without financial means have little real liberty; they’re wage slaves, 21st century serfs perpetually at the mercy of global dynamics, the “boss”, and the sack.  They have little or no retirement funds and they’ll be required to work till old age.  If they’re lucky they get two weeks’ vacation, a few sick days, and they’re possibly able to see a doctor without going bankrupt.

We live in a brutally unequal society with the bottom 80% having just 7% of financial wealth.  So we must interpret Polis’s deep liking of property as actually a great fondness for the inequality it necessarily entails.  Polis seems to be a “libertarian” although the term itself is Orwellian.  To glorify the unbridled accumulation of property in a world where the vast majority has none is to promote the exact opposite of liberty.  It’s an undemocratic, oppressive creed that is better called Propertarianism or something down those lines.

There’s no particular reason I post so often on Polis other than that he happens to be my local rep.  He’s a great illustration, though, of the truly revolting nature of our politics today.  Money rules, the population is kept largely in the dark, and the oligarchy continues on.  The society of greed that Polis so likes is clearly unsustainable and I think the time isn’t too far off that a politician uttering such praises of property will rightly be seen in the same light as the aristocratic dinosaurs of the 18th and 19th centuries.

From → Wealth & Poverty

  1. Jared Polis permalink

    “There’s no particular reason I post so often on Polis other than that he happens to be my local rep. ”
    Well, someone has to do the job and I’m honored to do it every day. If I don’t win then you can post about your new local rep.

    So I hope it is clear to you that I also trumpet pursuit of happiness. I thoroughly support both formations: life, liberty and pursuit of happiness AND life, liberty, and property. I use both formations and do not believe that they are mutually exclusive.

    As for ““liberté, égalité, fraternité” I work hard for equality of opportunity, not equality of results, and towards that end I believe that education is most critical to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to succeed and live the American Dream.

  2. Working “hard for equality of opportunity, not equality of results” is the common refrain so loved by both parties. But it’s nothing other than an immoral justification for a hierarchical unequal society. Suppose there’s not a sufficient number of good opportunities available for everyone? What happens to those who don’t compete successfully? Your philosophy is “tough shit”, as long as everyone has a crack at “opportunity” then all is fine even though it leaves the majority out in the cold. You don’t “work hard” for them – they had their opportunity and now they must suffer the results. It’s a gladiator society worthy of ancient Rome.

    The true moral issue is equality of results and not of opportunity.

  3. Jared Polis permalink

    “What happens to those who don’t compete successfully?”
    I believe in compassion and the social safety net. No one in our wealthy country should want for basic needs food and shelter.

  4. Why then do you seek cuts in a social security program that provides an average of just $1,200 per month? Same question for medicare and medicaid. Even with these programs, virtually all our cities and towns have huge pockets of poverty, the flip side of massive wealth. The system doesn’t appear too compassionate to me.

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