Why Special Interests Sacrifice the Future for Short-Term Gain

The special interests that dominate politics dominates to produce a form of economic warfare. The more some can manipulate the political machinery, the more they can feather their own nests. They even use similar propaganda techniques.
In wartime, we are always defined as the good guys, ennobled by our moral cause. “They” are the bad guys, to be demeaned and dehumanized, so few will be bothered by what is done to them. Similarly, in domestic politics, representatives of each group paint themselves as particularly worthy or needy, making their advocacy morally superior, contrasted with their opponents whom they tar as selfish or unprincipled.
However, advocates for such causes do not always occupy the moral high ground they try so hard to create. They advocate coercing those who have done no harm to others to justify it. Further, the policies proposed often benefit existing members of a group, but harm those who will be members of that group in the future.
In such cases, justifying the political plunder to deliver a group’s demands because they are particularly deserving is self-contradictory. If membership in a group justifies special treatment, the same must apply to future members as well. Therefore, policies that benefit current members, while harming equally deserving future members, necessarily violate their own rationale.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on April 3, 2017.

 

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