A Democrat billionaire politician has demanded that the middle class “have less things”? Why the outrage?
This editorial in the Denver Post seems really outraged: “Jeff Greene’s patronizing twaddle from Davos.”
Sounds like a rather dismissive title.
But the first thing I thought when I read the piece was, “Why are they so mad? The mainstream media is constantly endorsing super-rich liberals who advocate higher energy costs and other expenses that would be devastating to the middle class for the sake of an alleged greater good.”
“America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence,” billionaire Jeff Greene said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, as reported by Bloomberg. “We need to reinvent our whole system of life.”
A smaller, better existence with less things and lowered expectations? Hmm. Surely Greene lives by his own credo and has downsized his own lifestyle first.
Or maybe not.
As the Bloomberg reporter cruelly noted, Greene, who lives in Palm Beach, “flew his wife, children and two nannies on a private jet plane to Davos for the week.”
How is this any different than when Bill Gates tries to get middle-class and poor families to stop having children, or when Warren Buffet wants people with high incomes to be taxed so that he remains at the top of the pyramid, having already amassed his fortune through lower taxes? Why is it acceptable for Richard Branson to advocate taking away beef from the mouths of the middle class or to insist that their energy costs go higher?
In fact, the editors even hint that they are ready for such critiques:
The materialism of modern consumer culture is fair game for critique, but it does take amazing gall to trumpet the virtues of a “smaller” existence while practicing wholesale extravagance.
No, it takes gall even if one is not an elitist hypocrite. No one should suggest that there is something wrong with prosperity unless they can bring forward an actual problem as evidence. For example, I want people to make do with less because I think the availability of easy credit has distorted our priorities. I want people to live within their means. But that doesn’t mean I think it is good that people can’t afford more good things. In fact, I long for the day when everyone can be wealthier. Part of the reason I want the present generation to spend less is so that the next generation can spend more (rather than the other way around).
But criticizing the enjoyment of blessings simply because they are enjoyable, or coming up with absurd rationalizations (Global Warming is the main one right now) to condemn people for their prosperity, is morally perverse.
Of course, I share the newspaper editors’ outrage; I just wish they would be equally outraged with the same sermons from Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Richard Branson. They are all hypocrites who want to rob, impoverish, and dominate the middle and lower classes forever.
And remember, Jeff Greene is a Democrat who has tried to get into politics, according to Newser.com.
So don’t be offended by Greene’s appearance. Be offended by the substance of what he is saying!