Many people say they favor redistribution from the rich to the poor because they feel sorry for the poor. The poor suffer from having too little money, and it doesn’t take much money to help them a lot. In contrast, the rich won’t miss that money much. [...]
Garrett Jones has just convinced me that a pretty simple explanation is available: the redistributive urge just doesn’t have much to do with sympathy. Our ancestors would sometimes notice that some folks in the tribe had a lot more tangible portable stuff than the rest, and those with less would then be tempted to find an excuse to grab a bunch of that stuff.
Would-be-grabbers would look for the most believable excuse they could find. Sometimes the excuse would be that stuff-holders had violated some tribal norm and needed to be punished. (Hence our hyper-willingness to believe the rich freely violate treasured norms.) But lacking a better excuse, they’d fall back on the old favorite, that those with less stuff would sure appreciate each thing more than those with lots.
So there you have it -- socialism is not a new or noble invention but rather reheated excuses from our very sordid past, excuses that some people leveraged to pilfer others favored in their fortunes but disfavored in their reputation.
Whenever you hear someone wax poetic about redistribution and helping the poor, ask him why he doesn't share his salary to the point of sacrifice -- and if he doesn't, tell him why he demands that others make the sacrifice for him. Then ask him where his sympathy for the fat, for the ugly and for the short ones is, and why he isn't advocating theft for the tall, the skinny and the pretty (all of whom earn better money than their disadvantaged counterparts).
Then put on your best disgusted face, and tell him: you're a hypocrite, a thief, corrupt and a coward because you want others to do the stealing for you and you want to justify it using lies.
Because that's what they are.