The Common "Good"
This one is rather long for "quote" status, but every word is worth the effort to read it. Part II, Chapter 10 - The Sign of the Dollar.
And when you saw it, you saw the real motive of any person who's ever preached the slogan: 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.'
'Atlas Shrugged' QOTD
Posted by JohnGalt at October 19, 2010 3:32 PM
"This was the whole secret of it. At first, I kept wondering how it could be possible that the educated, the cultured, the famous men of the world could make a mistake of this size and preach, as righteousness, this sort of abomination - when five minutes of that should have told them what would happen if somebody tried to practice what they preached. Now I know that they didn't do it by any kind of mistake. Mistakes of this size are never made innocently. If men fall for some vicious piece of insanity, when they have no way to make it work and no possible reason to explain their choice - it's because they have a reason that they do not wish to tell. And we weren't so innocent either, when we voted for the plan at the first meeting. We didn't do it just because we believed that the drippy old guff they spewed was good. We had another reason, but the guff helped us to hide it from our neighbors and from ourselves. The guff gave us a chance to pass off as virtue something that we'd be ashamed to admit otherwise. There wasn't a man voting for it who didn't think that under a setup of this kind he'd muscle in on the profits of the men abler than himself. There wasn't a man rich and smart enough but that he didn't think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better's wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he'd get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who'd get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who'd rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss's, forgot that every bum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own. That was our real motive when we voted - that was the truth of it - but we didn't like to think it, so the less we liked it, the louder we yelled about our love for the common good.
"It's for the common good." Second only to "it's for the children" as a specious BS rationale for taking from producers and redistributing to the have-nots based on their imputed victim status.
Need alone does not ever endow entitlement. I have a right to keep what I earn, benefit from what I produce, and profit by what I put effort into. Those things - not need, not want - entitle me to my possessions.