Friends on the left: I need to address something important. Really important.
You don’t know me. (Randy Bennett you are the exception.) And honestly, you don’t know most “conservatives.”
I read last night someone’s screed where they wrote about conservatives:
it would seem that you and the people who share your opinion think the following :
– they contribute nothing
– they suck up resources
– they have kids who are equally worthless
– they have a lot of kids
– all of whom become scrounging losers who have their own many kids and perpetuate the cycle.
Here’s the thing. NO. NO NO.
Here’s what we believe. (And I realize I am making broad generalizations here. But then again, so did this person.)
We believe that good intentions and people wanting to “care for people” have created a society of dependence. That a culture of social programs has not eliminated poverty (it feeds it). It hasn’t improved healthcare (and it seems to be making it even more expensive.) It hasn’t improved living conditions. But it has fostered dependence.
Here’s what I mean: when we tell people that we will provide them with some money for food, and subsidized housing, and subsidized health care, BUT they can’t earn too much money or we will “cut them off” (and usually cut them off in a way that makes them worse off for working) then we find that people won’t work. They will continue to make the RATIONAL choice–stay with what you have.
IT MAKES SENSE: Why “risk” doing something different? Why “risk” getting a job when it means I will have to work more hours for the same money?
Of course, we (on the left, and the right) add a few other problems to the mix. For instance, We want to be “safe.” We want our children to be “safe.” We want to be tough on crime. So… We won’t hire anyone with a criminal record. You have a drug conviction on file? Go away. You don’t have the “right” degrees, or the right background, or skin color, or political views? We won’t hire you (or shop at your store, or buy your cakes, or visit your theme park.) And–by the way, this cuts both ways as well. Those on the left, and the right, centrists and extremists, make these decisions–to hire, and associate with, people with whom we agree. If you don’t think this applies to you, well…
What does this mean? It means that people that made a bad decision (or decisions?) in their life, perhaps because of their “station in life” at the time, are never able to step off the welfare system. We keep them on medicare, on foodstamps, in section 8 housing.
A vicious cycle.
So What do “CONSERVATIVES” believe? Here it is. At least from MY perspective.
As a conservative, I believe:
— That people behave in ways that they perceive are in their best interests. When you offer someone an opportunity to receive things “for free” and provide dis-incentives for work, people will make the rational decision and not work.
— That people, when given the right incentives, want to work. They want to believe that they have autonomy and that they can be independent rather than dependent.
— That when people are working, and are able to see to see the fruits of their labors, they have improved self-worth. They no longer demand, but they give.
— That government programs have not worked. They have softened the pain, without providing a cure. That “jobs programs” funded by government grants do create jobs–but only for those people running the programs.
— That real growth, both personally and nationally, occur when we return to placing value in people, and placing value in their ability to contribute.
— That the best way, the BEST way, we can help people is to provide opportunities to work. And that these opportunities must not be hindered, fettered, or obstructed by government programs.
So there you go. One last thing–you can disagree with every one of these points. You may believe that government programs have worked, and that people on these programs are better off. That’s fine. I can appreciate that, and I know that it is possible to look at complex data sets and reach different conclusions.
But please–PLEASE, don’t tell me that I don’t “really care about people.”