Then there are terms that are deeply political in orientation, but have not yet been co-opted by either side. One of the more pernicious phrases is the "less fortunate." Politicians on both sides of the aisle routinely utilize this phrase in place of the impolitic "poor" or the dated "lower class." President Obama, for example, ripped Rep. Paul Ryan's budget plan as evidence that Republicans think they have "no obligation to people who are less fortunate." President Bush used the same phrase in 2008, when he announced that the United States has a responsibility to help "those less fortunate around the world."
Look more deeply at the content of the phrase "less fortunate," however, and it is easy to see how socialist it truly is. The phrase assumes that anyone who does not succeed in our economic system has somehow been unlucky rather than unwise or foolish. It assumes, conversely, that everyone who is successful has done so via luck of the draw. The upshot of this baleful perspective is that the system is inherently unfair -- skill is not rewarded, nor effort recognized. This sentiment drives government intervention to take luck out of the equation by guaranteeing equal results.
When we say "less fortunate," we generally mean the poor rather than the disabled, who actually are less fortunate. In truth, the poor are generally "less fortunate" only in terms of genetics. They are certainly not less fortunate in the amount of help they receive. They receive generous benefits from the government, and they do not have to pay taxes. The "more fortunate," by contrast, are taxed and regulated heavily.
The "less fortunate" are not less fortunate in terms of their chances in the economy; the government has instituted program after program dedicated to helping those who begin at low socioeconomic status. Class mobility for those of high IQ is widely available. The children of the "more fortunate" are the ones who pay the price for programs like affirmative action and scholarships designed for low-income applicants. In many cases, the "less fortunate" get to spend their days watching television rather than participating in educational endeavors, as studies tend to show.
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