The anti-wealth stance of the left — hypocritical as it is when it emanates (as it often does) from highly paid academics, well-connected politicians, cosseted bureaucrats, and a sparkling array of super-rich entertainers, celebrities, and “moguls” – is of a piece with other leftist displays of Puritanism: anti-smoking, anti-obesity, anti-censoriousness (toward the left’s pets, such as Islam, gays, and selected “minorities”). The anti-wealth stance and other displays of Puritanism are attitudes that mark one as a superior being — a person who is compassionate and deserving of his worldly goods. But where is the left’s compassion for the “little guy” when the “little guy” is a job-holding, beer-drinking, fast-food eating, overweight, married-with-children, possibly church-going, white, wage-laborer?
Given that the rich and famous are often heard to declaim against the “privileges” of the economic class to which they belong, one must suppose that their hypocrisy arises from economic ignorance. This ignorance leads them to believe that they are the beneficiaries of a zero-sum game, thus causing (misplaced) guilt about their wealth. I have noticed that this guilt, though it may cause the rich and famous to contribute to charity, also causes them to press for higher taxes on their ilk, as if higher taxes (which benefit already well-paid politicians and bureaucrats) were somehow better than charity. Charity, at least, can be showered directly on the unfortunate. Taxes are a form of trickle-down charity, where precious little trickles down — as evidenced by the fact that some of the nation’s wealthiest counties surround the District of Columbia.
The call for higher taxes is a misguided admission of guilt, not a sign of compassion. Were wealthy leftists truly compassionate about the plight of the unfortunate, they would give away their worldly goods and spend their lives working with the unfortunate, to lead them by example onto the path of success. Instead, wealthy leftists live among their ilk — and live truly well. If only they would not feel guilty about it.