VAN HORN, Texas — Amazon founder Jeff Bezos made history Thursday after being launched into space as a passenger on the “first unpiloted suborbital flight with an all-civilian crew,” according to NBC News. This came on the heels of the July 11 flight of fellow billionaire Richard Branson, a British business mogul and the founder of the Virgin Group.
Both flights took place on privately manufactured spacecraft, with Bezos’ voyage being the brainchild of Blue Origin, a Washington-based, privately-funded aerospace company he founded in 2000. Virgin Galactic, one of Branson’s many holdings, was responsible for his.
Space travel has, for decades, been monopolized by government agencies. The ability of the private sector to not only revitalize, but revolutionize the industry at little to no expense to the American taxpayer is a testament to the tenacity of the individual and the capability of private innovation. The concept of private space travel — once an untenable fantasy — is now something that individuals, untethered by direct governmental oversight, are working to make a reality: a reality that could very well morph a rare, astronomically expensive novelty into a consumer product.
This is a groundbreaking thing — and, as is often the case when wealthy people do groundbreaking things, many on the redistributionist left are foaming at the mouth.
After all, in the eyes of redistributionists, this is less about innovation and more about Jeff Bezos taking a multimillion-dollar joy ride off the backs of others who perpetually struggle making ends meet. This is a worldview that suggests not only that wealth is inherently the domain of the collective, but that disparity in income is the product of systemic injustice — just as critical race theorists insinuate that any disparate outcome between ethnic groups in the United States is symptomatic of systemic racism. To redistributionists, any expenditure by a member of the one percent must inherently be the result of their supposed disregard for the working class.
For example, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) tweeted the following on the day of Branson’s flight:
Here on Earth, in the richest country on the planet, half our people live paycheck to paycheck, people are struggling to feed themselves, struggling to see a doctor — but hey, the richest guys in the world are off in outer space!
Yes. It's time to tax the billionaires.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) July 11, 2021
Other usual suspects chimed in on the matter, including Clinton-era Labor Secretary Robert Reich:
Jeff Bezos’ recreational space trip cost $2,540,000 per minute, and we’re still arguing about whether the billionaires need to be taxed.
— Robert Reich (@RBReich) July 21, 2021
Finally, CEO and woke Twitter staple Dan Price tweeted out:
Jeff Bezos's space flight lasted 11 minutes. On average he has gotten $1.6 million richer every 11 minutes in the pandemic.
An Amazon warehouse employee could work 50 years and still wouldn't make $1.6 million. And they get no paid sick leave in a pandemic.
— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) July 20, 2021
This is foolish for a bevy of reasons. The primary reason for this, however, is an extremely simple concept: nobody has a claim to the wealth of anyone else. As obscenely rich as Bezos may be, this was attained through the investment of his own time, resources, and capital, which ultimately allowed him to amass an online retail empire that has employed millions and facilitated the lives of hundreds of millions, if not billions, of users.
Regardless of necessity, there exists no right for wealth to be confiscated at gunpoint, particularly for the promotion of some arbitrary standard of equity.
Necessity does not dictate morality — in other words, stealing bread because you’re hungry is still theft. While this is undoubtedly ugly, it is also inherently true.
Tragically, this ugly truth is precisely that which redistributionists fail to understand. In turn, they glorify the idea of confiscation so long as it suits their idealistic view of how wealth ought to be distributed. This concept, also echoed by Sanders and co., is similarly reprehensible. A false sense of moral authority does not dictate the market value of labor — the market itself is the only force that can dictate that value, and is a force with little regard for what Bernie Sanders thinks is fair.
A free market at the reins of a free people i—a powerful force; a statement to which the likes of Bezos and Branson can certainly attest — and nothing infuriates the redistributionist left quite like capable market generating wealth in the absence of state power.
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