Matt Patterson

This is the reason political systems that have as their explicit charter the imposition of fairness often descend into totalitarianism - total government power is the only way to enforce total equality. In such a state, misery and material want will be the norm; everyone will be equally unhappy, like Louis C.K.’s two children, each with a broken toy.

We should keep all of this in mind when we hear politicians like Mr. Obama lament the “inequality” in our society, and we should always look askance at their solutions to this alleged problem. We should remember that material equality does not necessarily mean prosperity or stability. As Charles Lane noted recently in The Washington Post: “Western Europe’s recent history suggests that flat income distribution accompanies flat economic growth. Which European country recorded the biggest decrease in inequality between 1985 and 2008? That would be Greece.”

And we all know how well that's working out.

Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson is senior editor at the Capital Research Center and contributor to Proud to be Right: Voices of the Next Conservative Generation (HarperCollins, 2010). His email is