by Jeremy N. Choate, Sufficient Reason:
This essay is a bit of departure from my usually reasonable and logical approach to important issues. That’s not to say that the essay isn’t well-reasoned and is bereft of logical argumentation, but I freely admit that it’s polemical, in nature. Sometimes you’re just pissed, and you need to vent. Here’s my vent…
Lately, I must admit that my hostility towards your political ilk has ramped up, pretty dramatically. No, it’s not because we, at this point in my life, have a half-black president in the White House, and I’m some closet racist who is becoming increasingly frustrated at the prospects of the White Man’s power slipping through my fingers. I know that you’ve accused our side of such nonsense, and the thought keeps you warm at night, but I can assure you that it is a comfortable fiction of which you should probably divest yourself.
Now before I waste too much of your time, let’s establish who I’m talking to. If you believe that we live in an evil, imperialist nation from its founding, and you believe that it should be “fundamentally transformed”, lend me your ears. If you believe that the free market is the source of the vast majority of society’s ills and wish to have more government intervention into it, I’m talking to you. If you believe that health care is a basic human right and that government should provide it to everyone, you’re the guy I’m screaming at. If you think minorities cannot possibly survive in this inherently racist country without handouts and government mandated diversity quotas, you’re my guy. If you believe that rich people are that way because they’ve exploited their workers and acquired wealth on the backs of the poor, keep reading. Pretty much, if you trust government more than your fellow American, this post is for you.
First of all, let me say that we probably agree on more things than you think. Even between Tea Party Patriots and Occupy Wall-Streeters, I’ve observed a common hatred of the insidious alliance between big business and big government. As Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) so correctly noted, government should never be in the business of picking winners and losers in corporate America, and no person, organization, union, or corporation should have their own key to the back door of our government.
Second, contrary to popular belief, conservatives really are concerned with the plight of the poor in this nation. You accuse us of being uncompassionate, hateful, racist, and greedy, but studies have shown that when it comes to charitable giving, conservatives are at least (if not more, depending on the study you read) as generous as liberals in caring for the poor. The difference between us is not in our attitude towards the problem – it’s our attitude towards the solution. We believe that the government does practically nothing well (since without competition or a profit motive there is no incentive to do well) and has made the plight of the poor far worse than it would have ever been had government never gotten involved. For a stark example of this, look no farther than the condition of the black family in America since the “War on Poverty” began. You believe that more government is the answer, and that if we only throw more money at the problem, the problem will go away. We believe, as Reagan so aptly stated,
Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.
Third, as people who might actually have to avail ourselves of a doctor’s services at some point in our lives, we are just as concerned with the condition of America’s healthcare system as you are. While we believe that America has the world’s most capable physicians, has the world’s most innovative pharmaceutical industry, and is on the cutting edge of medical technology, we also understand that the delivery system is far from perfect. However, unlike you, we see a grave danger in turning the administration of that delivery system over to the same entity that is responsible for giving us the United States Postal Service. There are private sector solutions that should certainly be explored before we kill the system, altogether, by giving it to the government to run.
Now that we’ve touched on a couple of points of common ground, allow me to explain my aggressiveness towards your efforts to implement your progressive agenda. First, let’s talk about the word “progressive”, since you now seem to prefer that word to “liberal”. In order to label something as progressive or regressive, one must have some idea as to what constitutes progress. What is the ideal towards which you are striving? An idea is considered progressive if it moves us closer to the ideal and regressive if it moves us further away. So, what is your ideal society?
Though I can’t begin to discern the thoughts of every liberal who may read this, nor can I assume that every liberal has the same notion of an ideal society, in my arguments with liberals over the years, I couldn’t help but notice the influence that FDR’s Second Bill of Rights has had in shaping the beliefs of the modern liberal with regards to domestic policy. The rights that FDR cited are:
- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
- The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
- The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
- The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
- The right of every family to a decent home;
- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
- The right to a good education.
At this point, you’re probably screaming, “Right on!!”, and who can blame you? What sane person in the world doesn’t want everyone to be gainfully employed, adequately fed, smartly clothed, appropriately sheltered, and properly educated? These are the goals of every moral society on the planet, however we cannot ignore the fundamental question of, “At what cost?”
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