Why the Left Keeps Winning

by | Oct 24, 2023 | POLITICS

The Left keeps winning because its political opponents compromise time and again.

An opinion piece in the Marin Independent Journal in California provides an interesting example why the Left keeps winning policy debates. The article states,

All landlords are human and some humans are more concerned about profits than people. Because of this, I happen to believe that some rent control is a good thing.

Though the author doesn’t explicitly say so, he wants us to conclude that putting profits before people is a bad thing.

The author, who is a property manager, states that rent control should be used in “moderation” and only for “those in need.” After providing numerous examples of the harmful impact of rent control, he concludes by saying that “rent control is a form of socialism.” He embraces a fundamental premise of the Left—an individual’s need is a claim to the property of others.

The author wants some landlords to place the interests of those in need before profits. The alleged interests and well-being of others are to supersede one’s own interests and well-being. This is altruism, and it illustrates why the Left keeps winning.

What is the moral code of altruism? The basic principle of altruism is that man has no right to exist for his own sake, that service to others is the only justification of his existence, and that self-sacrifice is his highest moral duty, virtue and value.

Do not confuse altruism with kindness, good will or respect for the rights of others. These are not primaries, but consequences, which, in fact, altruism makes impossible. The irreducible primary of altruism, the basic absolute, is self-sacrifice—which means; self-immolation, self-abnegation, self-denial, self-destruction—which means: the self as a standard of evil, the selfless as a standard of the good.

Do not hide behind such superficialities as whether you should or should not give a dime to a beggar. That is not the issue. The issue is whether you do or do not have the right to exist without giving him that dime. The issue is whether you must keep buying your life, dime by dime, from any beggar who might choose to approach you. The issue is whether the need of others is the first mortgage on your life and the moral purpose of your existence. The issue is whether man is to be regarded as a sacrificial animal. Any man of self-esteem will answer: “No.” Altruism says: “Yes.” [Ayn Rand, “Faith and Force: The Destroyers of the Modern World,” Philosophy: Who Needs It, 61]

Because the author doesn’t challenge the fundamental premise involved, his argument essentially becomes: Rent control for the needy is okay, but let’s not go “too far.” He is left to debate details, while allowing the underlying principle to stand unscathed.

If rent control is harmful and evil—and it is—then some rent control is also harmful and evil. Moderating rent control does not eliminate the harm that it causes. Accepting even a little rent control embraces the premise that it is appropriate for government to dictate the terms and conditions by which individuals can trade. And that, ladies and gentlemen, means giving away the farm.

The author may believe that compromising and accepting some rent control is in his best interest. However, any benefits that he derives will be short-lived. Sooner or later, and probably sooner, the activists will begin clamoring for more stringent rent control regulations. The author will be defenseless because he has agreed that some rent control is acceptable. The only issue up for discussion is what constitutes “some.”

The Left keeps winning because its political opponents compromise time and again. And they compromise because they embrace the same basic premises.

Brian Phillips is the founder of the Texas Institute for Property Rights. Brian has been defending property rights for nearly thirty years. He played a key role in defeating zoning in Houston, Texas, and in Hobbs, New Mexico. He is the author of three books: Individual Rights and Government Wrongs, The Innovator Versus the Collective, and Principles and Property Rights. Visit his website at texasipr.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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