The idea that anyone can get rich if they put their mind to it is the enduring illusion of conservatism, which justifies all of their other political positions. If only conservatives knew the actual facts about opportunity, maybe they would also learn compassion for those lacking in economic necessities.
Fact: Job creation is not keeping up with population. In other words, the labor force participation rate is steadily dropping every year. If there were actual opportunity for all, why is the labor force continuously shrinking? Is there a laziness virus that is steadily infecting people in the United States and growing into an epidemic year by year, exactly in lock-step with the pace of our drop in labor? How is it possible that the same people that used to have jobs before the recession are now infected with this laziness virus preventing them from working now?
Fact: Median household wealth is lower than before the recession, and wages for the bottom 90% are down. If there really is so much opportunity, why is it that even working Americans are doing worse than before?
Fact: The jobs lost during the recession were higher paid and had more hours than the jobs gained during the 'recovery.' If opportunity is so bountiful, why did everyone end up at dead-end jobs? Because they were too lazy to recover the jobs they had previously been working at before the recession?
Fact: The minimum wage is much lower than it used to be, and more people are on it than ever before. If there's so much economic opportunity, why are people working just as hard as in the past, but for less than ever before?
Fact: Young Americans are the best educated and most educated generation in American history. However, their degrees are unlikely to land them a high-paying job. Instead all they receive is a big fat student debt. If there were so much opportunity for people willing to work hard and get an education, why are the prospects of young college graduates so relatively glum compared to their parents' generation of college graduates?
Systematic forces are creating a prevailing headwind against labor and tailwind behind capital. These forces are increased globalization/outsourcing/free trade, mass immigration, the decline of unions, and the rise of robots/computers/artificial intelligence that can do labor's job better than humans ever could. This is a quadruple whammy that no amount of 'pluck' or 'hard work' can overcome. Supposing a young person is successful in the workforce today, this does not imply the labor market is supportive of his efforts. It is indubitable that he would have succeeded much more, much faster if only he had been born in the previous generation. His success is a pale shadow of what it should have been, even when he does succeed. This is why we have found that even entrepreneurship is in terminal decline in America -- a measure of 'business dynamism' has been in free fall for the last several decades.
There is nothing innately wrong with the economy rewarding capital as opposed to labor. Overall, the economy is growing, no doubt to the wonders of mechanization, free trade, and economies of scale reaching ever wider mass markets. But to deny that labor has less opportunity than before is a straight out lie. There is absolutely no data anyone can call upon which would create this rosy picture. Let's just admit it, capital has massive, systemic advantages over labor which are not going to go away. If anything, they are going to accelerate into an ever more ravening beast that ends up unemploying everyone. There is no economic model, no economic philosophy, no possible trend line that supports labor regaining the upper hand at the negotiating table.
If these systematic forces weren't enough, the fairness of people's life outcomes is even more out of whack than what conservatives believe. The highest correlation between a positive life outcome is IQ. High IQ predicts a happy marriage, good looks, long life, high incomes, no time in jail, etc, etc. The benefits of high IQ are practically impossible to enumerate, which is no surprise since high IQ is what separates mankind from the animals, and gives us the life of luxury we live in compared to the rest of the critters of the Earth. Just as Joe Blow has a more luxurious lifestyle than caterpillar B, the same IQ gap can be found within the human species. Retards can't even manage to feed themselves, while normal intelligence people go about their days without issue. But what if I were to tell you that these normal people, who can navigate the world and provide for themselves, are no different from the drooling retards who can't even feed themselves to those with higher IQ above them?
What do you mean you can't follow a logical argument to its obvious conclusion? Why can't you solve a simple math problem? Why do you still cling to these outdated unscientific beliefs? Can't you write in complete sentences? Why didn't you look ahead to the consequences of your actions? How could you have fallen for such an obvious marketing scheme? Why did you get mixed in with the wrong crowd? Didn't you know you'd get tired of that expensive toy just minutes after you bought it? Why are you having unprotected sex with someone you don't even like? Do you really want to spend the rest of your life and income raising the fruit of this one day of drunken passion?
The incompetence, the sheer stupidity, the insanity of 'normal' people's beliefs is no different than the gap between normalcy and retardation. To us, it's just one giant cesspool of equally eye-rolling behavior. Normal people have absolutely no chance of competing with high IQ people in any aspect of the workforce. They won't succeed at anything, anywhere (with the minor exception of pro athletes but whoopdy-do, that's around 10,000 people in all of America, good luck there). There has never been a 100 IQ winner of a Nobel Prize in the hard sciences or a Fields Medal. There are no 100 IQ writers of famous books, no 100 IQ composers of famous music, no 100 IQ achievers in any intellectual field. If normal IQ were all we had, we'd still all be swinging from trees. We wouldn't have invented fire or spearheads yet. Every step of progress in human culture has been due to the 'smart fraction,' the percentage of the population above 120 IQ, who are so far and away better than average people that there's no point even classifying them in the same category. Le Griffe de Lion at his website even ran calculations proving that the size of your 'smart fraction' is a better correlation to a country's standard of living than any other statistic. In addition, Murray's Human Accomplishment map of where all the most important things were achieved correlated exactly to the higher IQ portions of nordic Europe vs. the less accomplished southern Europeans, while completely leaving blank portions of the map like low IQ Africa or low IQ Australian aborigines. Today, the most accomplished people on Earth correlate exactly to their average IQ levels -- Jews are winning all the nobel prizes, while Japanese are the leaders in all artistic fields (music, video games, television, etc). It couldn't be more blatant how important high IQ is to achievement. Jews in America are smarter than Asian Americans, Asians in America are slightly more intelligent than whites, who are smarter than Hispanics, who are smarter than Blacks. Exactly in line with these IQ tests is the average income of each of these racial/ethnic groups in America. It's as though God himself came down and sprinkled down incomes in direct proportion to your group's average IQ.
When IQ is such a heavily determinative factor, such that no other factor is even visible they are all so minor, to the outcome of a person's life, we can no longer talk about 'equal opportunity for all.' This is because IQ is hereditary, it's genetic, it's completely outside the control of the people born who there parents were or how many intelligence genes like KLOTHO they received from them. We know IQ is genetic because identical twins have identical IQ scores (their scores are as closely correlated to each other as the same person taking the test twice on different days), whereas fraternal twins have no closer IQ scores than normal siblings. If IQ was determined by one's environment, identical twins and fraternal twins would have the same correlation in IQ to each other, but they don't. In addition, if environment were the cause of IQ, there would be a positive correlation between adoptive parents and their adopted children. Instead we see a shocking 0% correlation between the two. Not only is environment less important than genetics when it comes to IQ, it's apparently completely irrelevant. Even if Romulus and Remus are raised by wolves, they still end up founding Rome. Likewise, if you take some random baby from Africa like Madonna, don't expect anything more from it than the remainder of African children you didn't adopt. The most you can hope for is they don't rape/murder you or their 'siblings' in your sleep.
Since IQ is the major determinant of your success or failure in life, and IQ is handed to you at birth by a giant genetic lottery, through no fault or virtue of your own, life is fundamentally unequal, unfair, and provides no opportunities to anyone. Everything is fated at birth. Whether you are headed to heaven or hell, through no fault or virtue of your own, is just declared by God at the moment of conception. Such a ridiculous situation is morally repugnant and absolutely unacceptable to any right-thinking human being. The idea that people should suffer when they've done no wrong, or the idea that people should benefit from blessings they did nothing to deserve, is 100% perpendicular to our most fundamental concepts of justice and morality.
In the age where religion was still taken seriously, great thinkers struggled with this quandary and came to reasonable conclusions on how justice was ultimately done. C.S. Lewis argued that God graded on a curve. If you were born with certain genes and a certain environment, you weren't damned or saved based on how you did from an objective, absolute viewpoint, but whether you did relatively well or poorly compared to other people who shared your circumstances. In this way, a thief who at least didn't resort to murder could go to heaven, whereas a famous veterinarian who was the poster boy of his community could still end up in hell. Likewise, Hindus believed that those born in unfortunate positions could spend their life generating good karma that would reward them in their next life, where they would be born to a better genetic/environmental jackpot. Over the course of many generations, a continuous adherence to virtue would eventually even out Earthly injustice and deliver to you your deserved lot of good fortune.
The problem is these are fairy tales. There is no life after death. No heaven and no cycle of reincarnation is ever going to deliver justice to this fallen world. The world is broken, cracked, unsalvageable. No one is going to step in and fix it for us. Nature is innately unjust. In fact, it doesn't give a damn about us one way or another, so even 'unjust' isn't the correct term. It simply has no concept of justice whatsoever. The only way justice will ever prevail is if we act now, in this life, to mitigate the unfair advantages people are born with, or the crippling disadvantages they receive at birth, right now in the real world.
How do we mitigate unfairness in the world today? It's quite simple. We are faced with two problems in the world today -- inequality of genes leading to inequality of outcomes. The answer is to solve both these issues by linking them together. Anyone who wishes to trade in his genes -- his right to reproduce -- for his life outcome -- his income level -- can do so at any time. Just sign the certificate here, saying, "I will not perpetuate these loser genes into the future any longer," and, no questions asked, you will receive an annual check of $12,000 a year (inflation and economic growth adjusted so the money will always matter). Overall, this will save the government money as we rid ourselves of the burdensome underclass, while simultaneously giving people who were born stupid, through no fault of their own, at least a taste of the bliss that rich, smart people swim in every day. We solve unequal outcomes in the short run, and unequal genes in the long run, until everyone is equal and everyone is happy. Naturally, this wouldn't just apply to stupid people. Suppose there are genes for laziness vs. hard work. Since we love hard work so much, wouldn't it be a great investment in the future to bribe lazy people to stop reproducing, so that only hard workers remain into the next generation? What about ugly people vs. beautiful people? Since they can't find a decent mate anyway, wouldn't it be better if they traded in their right to reproduce for money? Meanwhile, the world's children become prettier by the second. What about mentally ill people, or people with congenital defects? Wouldn't it be nice if they stopped passing on their disabilities to the next generation, and couldn't we reward them for doing such a kind deed with just a small monetary stipend? I'm sure all the non-schizophrenic, non-autistic, non-depressive children of the world would thank them. There has already been found to be genes specifically linked to increases in violent behavior. If we stopped these people from reproducing, the next generation would all be able to sing and hold hands together with flowers in their hair. As an added benefit, perhaps all that money in the violent people's pockets would make them see more fun alternatives to violence for the rest of their days. This would save us the cost of their crime and jailing, while saving them the pain of lifelong imprisonment or randomly dying on the streets due to a turf fight.
Since the program is voluntary, no one can complain about having their rights curtailed. Since the public ultimately benefits in terms of taxpayer spending going down as public burdens decrease year by year, they should have no reason not to fund this deal with the lower classes. And since the beneficiaries can receive money while also knowing that they are doing a good deed, "making sure that no child ends up as poorly off as I did and this tragedy never repeats again," they will be the happiest segment of the deal of all.
There is no helpful God waiting in heaven to grade us on a curve. There is no cycle of rebirth where a peasant can eventually reincarnate into a king. All there is, is us. The only tool we have to deliver justice is government. Humans thirst for justice and righteousness like air and water. Whether it's candyland or the darkest cave, a country devoid of justice is equally hell on Earth. The moment we've discovered, factually, that justice is not being done within the current rules of society, it is obligatory that we change the rules until justice is set right again. IQ's heritability plus its overpowering influence on a person's life outcome is simply unacceptable from a viewpoint of right and wrong. Even if we ignore IQ, the fact that the course of the future inherently leans in favor of capital vs. labor is equally unfair to those born with nothing. One way or the other, we would have to act in any case. The citizen's dividend, from the viewpoint of simply systematic market forces, or from the viewpoint of basic biology, is a moral necessity. The lack of a citizen's dividend, even when we have known the facts of the case for so many decades, is the most damning statement about mankind in the world today.
The fact that we are unwilling to act to help people who are in miserable conditions through no fault of their own is, to me, equivalent to an entire community endorsing slavery, human sacrifice, keeping women in purdah or any other system-wide atrocity. Except today the world's population isn't a few million, but a few billion people, which means the crimes we are committing are, today, causing more suffering than anyone in the past has ever managed before. Do we really want to be known as the most sinful, evil, and depraved generation in the history of mankind? Is this what we are going to tell our descendants?
"Well, yes, we knew we were just benefiting from an unfair system while punishing our inferiors who we knew from the beginning could never actually succeed under the law code we'd given them, but the important thing is the high score of my bank savings went up before I died."
Conservatives, with their petty egoistic pride, are making the world look a lot like the ending of Berserk, with helpless humans being sacrificed to greedy and sadistic demons who overpower them and devour them from all directions. Just because you're on the winning side, the stronger side, doesn't make what you do right, good, or even aesthetic. If you could just see your true nature, in a mirror that reflected your soul, it would be tentacles and slashing teeth all the way down.