One of the things that has come up frequently in my regular political jibber jabber with my brother is the idea that the very act of starting, running, and owning a business is a social good. The conservative take is that they should be praised for earning a profit.
What a ridiculous idea.
Obviously, there are many reasons why someone would own a business. Some of those reasons actually do reflect the desire of an individual to do good in society. And that's great.
Let's not fool ourselves. People who run a business are, for the most part, doing it to earn a living. If they also happen to create some transfer of societal benefit to their employees, that's also great.
I'm always skeptical of people who claim that their own personal self interest carries with it some sort of incredible benefit for everyone else.
If someone steals my food and then tells me that they just saved me from gaining weight, I'm not going to thank them. I'm going to see that they are just making up a reason to excuse their cookie theft.
Is it wrong to work in your own self interest? Of course not. We do things to promote our own self interests all the time. We just don't tell people that we are actually helping them by creating a better situation for ourselves.
The left has fought long and hard to bring substantial social changes. The left has, for the most part, done these things out of a desire to improve the social fabric of our world. The right sees this. They realize that progressive social change is something that is needed, and desired. The right realizes that the benefits of promoting social change are reflected in the voting numbers.
They shit bricks.
What to do, what to do...
"Ahhh," says a brilliant conservative 'thinker',"I know... let's point out that businesses promote the social good by 'giving' their employees lots of great benefits, and as a result, businesses are actually the most potent distributor of social benevolence."
See how that works?
Something already exists- the profit motive.
A problem exists- The left gets the prize for promoting the social welfare of the people.
The solution- Tell the public that business should get the same respect for creating a social benefit by just paying their employees. In case you are wondering, employees are the people who create whatever product it is that the business owner is selling.
And we should thank them for it all the time. (At least, that's how the thinking goes...)
Is that a problem? Yes.
Let me give some respect to business owners. Most business owners jump into their passion with both feet, their families, their sanity, their future, and their wallets. It is not a risk I am comfortable taking. I give much respect to those who have the tenacity and foresight to run a successful business. It requires a kind of dedication and focus that I am frequently not capable of matching.
Here's the point-
If you're a business owner, great. I'm happy for you. What I don't want to hear is how I have to act like you are somehow to be lauded for all of the things you do for the people who do work for you. I'm not going to recognize you for the simple fact that you own a business, and that you pay your employees, and just like most businesses in the US, you might offer them some kind of benefits package. Those things are just part of the accepted process of how we do business in the US. Businesses sought the ability to be able to pay their employees in "benefits."
When people tell me about how employees benefit from the generosity of business owners, I usually have one question:
What do the business owners get from the employee?
Perhaps the simple decoupling of health insurance from employment would lead to the inevitable change in how we view business in the US. Maybe if we weren't so beholden to businesses for benefits, we would be able to have a much more transparent discussion about the social impact of business.
Just don't tell me it's raining when you urinate down my spine.