LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Self-evident to all but ‘occupiers’

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News reports about the Occupy Wall Street “movement” and interviews with the occupiers are reminiscent of the doublespeak of the Mad Hatter, March Hare and Dormouse in “Alice in Wonderland.”

To them, “greed” seems to characterize anyone with a lot of money, the rich are wealthy because they stole their cash, “social justice” requires the wealthy to share since they have more than they need, and “equality” and “fairness” mean redistribution to each according to his needs.

It is not unreasonable to conclude the misguided protesters subscribe to the collectivist ideal of “the greatest good for the greatest number,” which implies the “good” of the majority must be achieved by the suffering of a minority. It is also not unreasonable to infer that to them, the benefit of one man depends on the sacrifice of another. They are oblivious to the self-evident truths that you cannot make the poor prosperous by legislating prosperity out of the wealthy - just as you can’t multiply wealth by dividing it.

The inalienable rights of humankind, as defined and protected by the Constitution, are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The right to life means that people cannot be deprived of their lives or property for the benefit of another, nor for the benefit of any number of others.

The pursuit of happiness means our right to live for ourselves, to choose what constitutes our own happiness and to work for its achievement so long as we respect the same right in others. It means that the collective cannot decide what is to be the purpose of a man’s existence, nor can it prescribe a person’s choice of happiness. Henry David Thoreau warned, “If I knew for a certainty that a man was coming to my house with the conscious design of doing me good, I would run for my life.”

If we do not understand, preserve and adhere to the principles that have nurtured the “greatest good” (i.e., the highest standard of living on the planet), we will live not as free people, but as serfs.

ED KONECNIK

Flushing, N.Y.

© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

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