I am less than fond of the term “social Darwinism” because it has little if anything to do with Darwin’s theory of descent with modification by natural selection applied to random variation… i.e., evolution. But it is a term that has settled into use in political circles beyond my poor ability to control, and everyone knows that it really means “survival of the fattest… cats,” so I’ll forgive Robert Reich for using it in the title of his article, The Republican’s [sic] Social Darwinist Budget Plan. Reich’s conclusion just about says it all:
Republican Social Darwinists are determined that the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 be made permanent. Those cuts saved the richest 1 percent of taxpayers (roughly 1.4 million people) more money on their taxes last year than the rest of America’s 141 million taxpayers received in total income.
Right. To this would Paul Ryan and company condemn us, and they wouldn’t bat an eye at doing so. Do they really believe that 99% of the American body politic, as edgy as it has been in recent years, would continue to resist the use of pitchforks and torches if what little they have left is (let’s be honest here) stolen from them by means of tax laws?
Representation is a scarce commodity in Washington for ordinary mortals these days. My US Representative, a Republican, never… ever… answers my letters. My US Senators, both Republicans, generally reply with a “thank you for sharing your thoughts” non-response. I have no representation in Congress, and Obama isn’t helping much by repeatedly giving away the store. My thoughts keep drifting back… back… back to the days of our nation’s founders, and James Otis’s catch phrase that led them to revolution: taxation without representation is tyranny. So… what’s it going to be, Congress? and you, Mr. Obama? Real representation, or unmitigated tyranny?
UPDATE: please also read Paul Krugman’s Flim-Flam Fever. Krugman concludes that Ryan is an “obvious charlatan” and invites his (Krugman’s) critics to apologize for their own exuberant response to Ryan in 2010. It won’t happen, but Krugman has to try.