I know it’s not a breaking news headline but PJ O’Rourke is an idiot
I was listening to Marketplace last night while waiting for my wife to finish work when they played the following:
(embed removed because it auto-played and there was no way to shut it up).
If the embed doesn’t load you can hear the idiocy here: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/commentary/orourke-if-1-had-less-would-99-be-better
In the above clip O’Rourke talks about the “zero sum fallacy” and claims that the 99% movement (or Occupy Movement if you prefer) ignorantly subscribe to this fallacy. I assume he assigns this to liberals in a similar way to how the false argument of the slippery slope can be assigned to conservatives. The only problem is he’s dead wrong.
First a large number of the protesters and their supporters are simply seeking to go back to the pre-Reagan regulations, taxation, and wealth distribution. This is probably not possible but the majority of the left doesn’t believe that simply taking away from the rich will solve the problem – they believe that forcing the rich to bring everyone who helped make them rich along will solve the problem. All of this goes to prove that PJ either needs to be schooled again as he was on Real Time by Alan Grayson or that he’s just so thick that he won’t ever be able to understand the very simple objectives of the 99% movement.
Speaking of an inability to understand the basics let’s talk for a second about zero-sum. PJ and his friends believe that wealth generates wealth. The truth is that the idea of charging money for access to money is the only thing that can in-and-of-itself generate wealth but this wealth isn’t real. It’s not backed by anything real other than our trust that it exists. Money is the real fallacy.
The fact is in the real world there are limited resources and opportunity costs to everything. Even if we don’t see who’s slice of the pie we are stealing from real wealth is always generated from a limited amount of resources. We can’t create anything real without using resources – the planet only has so much in the form of resources.
You can speak about zero-sum being false in an academic setting where there are no real resources involved but in the real world, the world that PJ O’Rourke doesn’t seem to understand you can’t call zero-sum false. To do so only proves that your an idiot.