I was driving to work, contemplating what gets people so passionately fired up when the discussion is one of the "Socialist tenet of redistributing the wealth." Of course, said phrase has been on the tongues of those whose faces and voices grace our various media outlets. It has been linked with the economic policy of (now President-Elect) Barack Obama. What is it that makes this idea so abhorrent?
I have one idea to offer. I think about a great many people who are so disgusted by this idea of redistribution are having a major tenet of their ideology challenged. I ponder jobs that many of my friends have begun over the last few years. Amongst those, there are people who have jobs that they chose to pursue not for passion's sake, not for intellectual challenge, not out of empathy or compassion, not in an effort to make the country or world a better place, not to create anything substantial that is aesthetically valuable or utilitarian, not to serve as inpiration to others, not to assist those in need, not to discover the mysteries that remain in our sciences, not to discover the mysteries that remain in our histories or in our philosophical, social, or ecological place in the universe. Rather, these folks have chosen this or that job becuase it provides an opportunity to make a great deal of money.
What happens when you limit, in any way, the amount of money these folks can hoard? They get pissed, scared, angry, vindictive, offensive, etc...It is clear why some might have such a reaction - when you take from a person's life work the sole impetus for them having dedicated their lives thus, you leave them with a fairly dismal picture. They realize that, in work at least, they have ignored their innate desire to be happy, creative, inquisitive, helpful, risky, compassionate, empathetic, intelligent, imaginitive, etc...They realize that they have chosen to worship an idol which has proven to be without any substance when one speaks to the ultimate existential goals of a successful lifetime. This, understandably, would make one feel awful.