What If ‘A Majority of Americans Support Slavery’?
An article I read carried this headline: “Big NY voter majority favors ‘millionaire tax.’” Articles like this one are designed to show that people with money should pay more taxes. If given the chance to vote on the issue, the majority of the people in the state of New York would vote to confiscate the money of other people. Here’s the opening paragraph from the article
Almost three-quarters of New York voters favor a tax on millionaires, a poll found, days after several hundred people marched to the homes of some of New York City’s richest financiers to protest economic inequality.
Support for taxing wealthier people breached party lines, with 83% of Democrats and 55% of Republicans in favor, according to the Siena College Research Institute poll released Monday. A separate poll released by Quinnipiac University showed New York City voters support an extension of the tax by 61% to 28% percent, with Republicans favoring it by 55% to 38%.
Let’s go back 160 years and conduct a similar poll among non-slaves. “Do you believe that we should keep existing laws regarding slavery?” I’m sure the Occupy Movement, Democrats, some Republicans, and union members would object to the claim that there’s moral (or immoral) equivalence in slavery and taxation. But a slave owner benefits from the labor of the slave in the same way that people who believe it is right to tax the rich at a higher rate benefit from the labor and property of others that is not their own.
This means that if an article reported that ‘A Majority of Americans Support Slavery,’ where is the foundational moral outrage to be found?
Robert Ingersoll said it best:
“Every man is dishonest who lives upon the labor of others, no matter if he occupies a throne.”
Let me bring Ingersoll’s truism up to date:
“Every man is dishonest who lives upon the labor of others, no matter if he gains the fruit of a person’s labor and property by majority vote.”
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