The news report put out by the Carolina Week staff (video below) and the attempt by John Edwards’ campaign to get it pulled shows the dilemma that every candidate that runs on the left has in dealing with the “contradictions” (as Mao Dun would put it) in advancing their cause.
Conventional wisdom would have us believe that people who “mobilise the masses” should come from the masses. John Edwards comes closer than anyone else in the Democrat race (the front runners, at least) in doing that. Many important people on the left don’t, and certainly the resources that fuel them don’t. But conventional wisdom would also have us believe that those who who come to help the dispossessed should share the condition of the dispossessed (or at least put a campaign headquarters with them.) But neither is the case here. Edwards’ headquarters is in reasonably nice Chapel Hill, and he himself, to use an old expression, “lives large.”
I’ve discussed this issue before here. More recently Greg Cruey, an Edwards supporter, has challenged me on my dislike for Hillary Clinton. What we’re dealing with is a long-running problem on the left that transcends anyone currently running for office.
It’s almost like an observer effect with political application. In that aspect of physics, if we attempt to measure a physical phenomenon, the act of measurement itself may well influence the results we obtain. As some on the video observed, you can’t get elected President if you’re poor. But if you obtain the resources to run for President, your own new-found self-interest and that of those who financed you will distort the results you deliver once you’re in office. The centralisation that results from the redistribution of income and the provision of social services also centralises the wealth and power in the hands of those who furnish the services. At this point the attempt to improve the lot of the poor becomes a patronage scheme.
Although the state can facilitate some improvements, in the end the best improvements should be left to God:
But Jesus called the ten to him, and said: “Those who are regarded as ruling among the Gentiles lord it over them, as you know, and their great men oppress them. But among you it is not so. No, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, And whoever wants to take the first place among you must be the servant of all; For even the Son of Man came, not be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45).