“I claim it is wrong to take by force the fruits of one person’s labor and redistribute them to someone else, no matter how noble the ends. I guess that makes me an uncivilized idiot.”
Yes, it does make you an uncivilized idiot. It’s called a circle of empathy. Liberals tend to make the circle wide, even including animals, and in my case, sea lampreys. Conservatives tend to make the circle very small, sometimes excluding their own mother. Only you can decide where you draw your circle. But in a civilized society, we are actually required to care about someone other than ourselves. This is the social contract. This is the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Or, as Chris Rock says, you don’t get credit for doing things you’re supposed to do. Or, there but for God, go I. Or in Maine, I'm glad this gullible ass stopped to pull my car out of the ditch at 5 a.m. in a snowstorm even though I'd never do the same for him.
As Richard Dawkins has written in the Selfish Gene, there are evolutionary stable strategies for thieves within any population, and there are species, like Cowbirds and Cuckoos, which depend on deceiving other species into caring for their young at the expense of their own. But as Dawkins also notes, humans are uniquely wired to resist and rebel against such short-cuts, and in doing so we create civilized societies.