Lew Rockwell’s The Evil 1%

Lew Rockwell posts a clever article “The Evil 1%” with a powerful point. The following is the set-up:

The “occupy” protest movement is thriving off the claim that the 99% are being exploited by the 1%, and there is truth in what they say. But they have the identities of the groups wrong. They imagine that it is the 1% of highest wealth holders who are the problem. In fact, that 1% includes some of the smartest, most innovative people in the country – the people who invent, market, and distribute material blessings to the whole population. They also own the capital that sustains productivity and growth.

But there is another 1% out there, those who do live parasitically off the population and exploit the 99%. Moreover, there is a long intellectual tradition, dating back to the late middle ages that draws attention to the strange reality that a tiny minority lives off the productive labor of the overwhelming majority.

I’m speaking of the State, which even today is made up of a tiny sliver of the population, but is the direct cause of all the impoverishing wars, inflation, taxes, regimentation, and social conflict. This 1% is the direct cause of the violence, the censorship, the unemployment, and vast amounts of poverty, too. […]

In the end, we end up with about 3 million people who constitute what is commonly called the State. For short, we can just call these people the 1%.

The 1% do not generate any wealth of their own. Everything they have they get by taking from others under the cover of law. They live at our expense. Without us, the State as an institution would die.

Rockwell’s point is that about 3 million Americans are controlling the destiny of 300 million other fellow citizens. And rather than representing the people, they are extracting and redistributing resources for political favors and job security.

A free society cannot operate under such parasitism. The occupiers need to realize that exploitation is not offering up goods and services for sale or buying other people’s labor. It is sticking invisible guns to people’s heads and saying, “Give us half your earnings or go to prison.”

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