People need to come to grips with the fact that your beliefs have consequences. If reality was kind, it would see that your intentions are pure, and it would exempt you from bad consequences. But reality isn’t kind.
Capitalism has a bad side to it. I’m saying this even though I am a capitalist. Reality doesn’t exempt me from bad consequences simply because I have my heart in the right place. So what’s the bad side of capitalism?
We did not choose our genes. We did not choose our parents. So if you’re an incredibly smart, energetic young man like Bill Gates, and you become a billionaire, many reasons for your success never were in your control. You didn’t choose your brain, you didn’t choose the environment grew up, you didn’t choose the time and age you grew up.
Take Baby X and Baby Y. A large part of their future is already determined by their genes, parents, and the environment. These are not things either baby could control. (Add scientific causal determinism and you’re controlling nothing, in a sense). The dark side of capitalism is, if Baby X is talented and Baby Y is not, Baby Y will live a crappy life and die. It is not a matter of ideology. It is a matter of fact.
I find it laughable that ideological people think that their ideology solves everything, and has no dark side. Reality doesn’t exempt you from consequences.
I don’t know to what extent I can explain this. We have volition.We can make rational decisions under different circumstances after assessing all the available data. But we don’t have free will. If you did something at time T, if we start the universe from the beginning once again, you won’t do something else at time T. Suppose you wrote something yesterday. You might feel that you could have written something else. But that’s an illusion. Laws of physics are such that you could not have done anything other than what you did yesterday. We can make decisions. But their outcomes are already determined in a deterministic universe. That’s why we don’t have free will. In a very real sense, a person who invested all his money in something and lost it all never could have done anything different.
That’s one part of this problem. The other part is about couterfactuals. I’m not saying if Bill Gates weren’t able to make money, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg won’t be able to make money either. My point is, even if you have an exact copy of Steve Jobs, there’s no guarantee that he’d become a billionaire under different circumstances. There are lot of things that need to go right for Jobs to become a billionaire that are not under his control. Suppose that we make an exact copy of Steve Jobs today. There’s no guarantee that he’d become a billionaire (if that was the case, everyone would be busy cloning billionaires). What that proves is that even if you are a highly competent person who has the potential to succeed, there are lot of things that are not under your control that needs to go right for you to be successful. For example, perhaps you can get fatally ill when you’re a child, and need a government doctor to cure you. If he didn’t, you’d be dead, and never become a billionaire. In any case, if you’re a highly competent person, the fact that you born as a competent person was never under your control.
So the fact that people think that their success is their own, and therefore don’t have to pay taxes that would fund free healthcare are totally mistaken, or being dishonest. Your success was contingent on lot of things that were never under your control. It’s possible that if Napoleon didn’t sneeze on particular day (talking about chaos theory here), you wouldn’t have even born.