I’ve gathered here the four videos that have been posted from the debate on Inequality between Yaron Brook and Paul Vaaler, hosted by the Snider Center for Enterprise and Markets at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business on February 7, 2015. This was an interesting debate that covers a fair number of topics within the general idea of inequality. I think I have the videos linked in proper order, though I am not sure it makes too much difference if they are not.
If you have visited the blog before you won’t be surprised that I found Yaron’s arguments much more persuasive than Mr. Vaaler’s. In particular, Paul Vaaler offers false alternatives to make his case. For example, in talking about the type of government we have, he asks should we instead replace democracy with corporate control or no government at all, anarchy, or as he puts it “crowd source our rights.” This of course ignores the proper alternative of a government restricted to the protection of rights. Such a government would be much smaller than we have now and could be funded without taxes such as we have today, likely no taxes at all, and not need to resort to holding “a bake sale to fund defense.”
It is in the area of rights that Mr. Vaaler’s arguments really break down. Throughout his portion of the debate, when he talks of rights he speaks of them as being granted by government and therefore something that can be changed or revoked by government. You see this in his comment about crowd sourcing rights (i.e. the majority decides what rights are), or when he says he would “revoke the right not to vote,” or points out that the bill of rights is made of amendments and amendments can be changed or modified by other amendments, or when he makes the claim that rights granted by the government come with obligations to the government.
This view totally destroys the fact that rights are inalienable. They are moral principles required by the facts of reality, by man’s nature, if men are to live peacefully in society, and the only obligation they impose is that an individual respects the same rights of others. The government may fail to protect those rights, and to that extent it is not a proper government, but government cannot change or remove rights any more than it can change that fact that man needs nourishment to live.