It’s been said that a conservative is God and a lefty is Santa Claus.
And Santa Claus, who gives out goodies all day while God is all about rules and such, is superior to God in every way but one…namely, that there is no such thing as Santa Claus.
The atheists will tell you there’s no such thing as God, of course, but they can’t prove that. Atheists also tend to be lefties – so in this discussion they’re not exactly unbiased arbiters.
In any event, Whittle builds on the God vs. Santa Claus debate with this. The upside being, our side isn’t as much fun as the other side because we see things as they really are. But we disagree with him a bit, and we’ll get to that after the video…
This subject came up in a conversation I had with a semi-liberal friend earlier today. She admitted that she thinks there are certain people who will simply never be able to take care of themselves and as such the rest of us have to bear them as a burden.
Using that logic, of course, it would be mean for us not to set aside resources for that. Conservatives who want to limit those resources, not necessarily in my friend’s view but in the left-wing view in general, are mean. You can’t just leave them to fend for themselves; they won’t survive. And the only place you can find sufficient resources to take care of the untouchables is the federal government.
I reject that view. I think people can overcome almost anything if they have to. And I think you’re wasting human potential if you just stash folks who don’t impress you in the welfare state. I’m willing to tolerate the existence of a safety net, but I want it to be a pain in the rear end for people to access. I want people on the dole to be uncomfortable with it and motivated to get off it.
And I am deeply suspicious of the people who profess to make the safety net more attractive, easier to access and more well-endowed with resources. I don’t think their motives are pure – there’s usually a test here, and it’s how much of their time and/or money they’re willing to give to charity. Lefties, on average, have an abysmal record of charitable giving and voluntarism. And what that means is they’re not seriously concerned with the plight of the unfortunates among us; all they care about is milking them for votes on Election Day. That’s why rich liberals who run their pie-holes about how we need to raise taxes on millionaires look like such complete assclowns when it’s suggested to them that they’re free to write a check to the government anytime the mood strikes them.
Call that cynicism if you want, and call it evidence of how mean conservatives are – or why conservatives suck. That’s fine; I don’t care.
But here’s the thing. My view is that the vast majority of people, given opportunity and motivation, will rise to the occasion. Some won’t, but those people might very well be the untouchables the Left talks about and we’re stupid if we craft our public policy around taking care of them. I don’t think uselessness or unproductivity or whatever you want to call it is based on ethnic or racial or geographic factors; I think it just happens. I think when you allow subcultures which greatly differ from the dominant American culture to spring up you make it more likely that pockets of unproductive people will spring up, and I think the whole urban hip-hop/gangsta culture is a perfect example of that. But so are, for example, the dopehead culture and the crystal meth/speedmetal culture. They’re all crap and they create unproductive people.
You can’t make those subcultures illegal, at least not effectively, but you can fight them in the overall culture. And you should. Even though by doing so you’ll be called racist or bigoted or intolerant for having done so. Ridicule and shame are worthy tools and they’re far less onerous than legislation. Conservatives should be a lot more aggressive in stating that “look, if you want to act like that you’ve got the freedom to do so, but you’re going to suffer for it because those are bad life choices. And if that ends up happening as a result of your bad decisions don’t come to us for a bailout.”
This whole issue of contraception, for example, that threatens to kill Rick Santorum’s campaign fits into the discussion. Santorum is allowing himself to get badly sidetracked by taking a position which is perfectly moral and informed by hundreds of years of teaching by one of the greatest moral institutions in human history (if not THE greatest moral institution). There are points to be made that contraception allows for choices that are not particularly wise as a cultural matter or within the construct of an individual’s life. Teenage girls shouldn’t need birth control pills, for example. Forget about the consequences of teenage pregnancy; that’s certainly the worst of the situation, but teenage girls don’t yet have the personal experience to handle a sexual relationship with guys. At least most of them don’t. And the teenage guys who have enough game to get a girl into the sack generally aren’t the ones who can be trusted not to turn them into emotional wrecks.
Damage can get done. And yeah, lessons can be learned, too, and people get over things. Still, it’s better if we make an effort to keep kids from shtooping each other. Santorum is right about that.
But emphasizing it is a real problem. It’s a political problem, because if you’re Santorum and you’re going to talk about social issues like these the Obama camp is going to make you out to be a Jesus freak who wants to hang out in everybody’s bedroom. That’s what’s known as being off-message, particularly when the real issue in this campaign is that we’ve got a Hugo Chavez wannabe in the White House who’s inserting the federal government into every orifice we’ve got while breaking our fiscal bank.
And it’s off-message because the best way to recreate the virtuous public Santorum and other social conservatives want to recreate is to de-emphasize the government’s role as much as possible – and the safety net along with it. When you’re going to need to rely a lot more on family, friends and community for things there’s now a government program to give you, it will make you much more receptive to a socially conservative message. Because if the government isn’t automatically there to bail you out for your bad decisions, and you’re more exposed to the consequences of those bad decisions, you’re more likely to seek to avoid them.
In other words, the people who are in the underclass because they engage in behavior that would put them there need an attitude adjustment if they’re ever going to get out of the underclass. Reality has properties in that regard. Reality is a lot more effective than the government, as it happens. And we don’t have enough reality. 99 weeks of unemployment benefits isn’t reality. Neither is 40-something million people on food stamps.
Or free birth control pills that somehow the insurance companies won’t find a way to charge for.
Conservatives are the folks stuck pointing these things out, and as Whittle notes, that’s why we suck. But, at least the way I see it, there’s a lot more optimism and hope to be found in recognizing reality while trusting that most folks can deal with it if given the freedom to do so than having the philosophy which says you need to be your brother’s keeper with somebody else’s money.
We might suck, but the latter group sucks a whole lot worse.