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Reproving Roger

Last week I posted an article On The Matter of Society and as usual forwarded it to about thirty friends and interested parties who make up my primary readership. Included are several liberal-progressive persons who always take issue with my conservative views, Roger being one. He’s a Brit residing in UK and a friend of 40yrs.

In the article I highlight what I consider are basic differences between the liberal v conservative approach to running society. I know my ideals are not necessarily the next guy’s, nor my description of liberal society necessarily the same as how a liberal tells it. They’re just my personal observations over the past 30yrs.

I began with the premise one approach works best and we could prove it by running a hypothetical study across 3-4 generations to see which yields highest GDP, largest middle/upper-middle/upper classes, highest education levels, best served poor/lower classes, least crime, illiteracy, racism, least inner city blight, best healthcare, smallest, least intrusive government.

Next I described America’s early history and founding, the people living those early days, their struggle for freedom/independence and their dozen year fight to create a nation. Roger was with me thus far, but then began a rant-like rebuttal on all that followed.

Conservatives believe in constitutionally-defined limited government, a balanced budget and so on. Liberals I claimed want government to be unlimited/undefined. Roger objected, saying center-left people believe no such thing. I said the right believes in the work ethic & golden rule; the left uses political correctness as their mantra; Roger took strong exception. I said the left encourages casual sex and baby making, pushes welfare recipients to indulge whimsies in a luxury-laden society and to leech off the system whenever possible; he said I ascribed ridiculous views to people with whom I disagreed. I suggested a society filled with self-reliant individuals who didn’t look to government for daily bread results in a self-sufficient society, while one encouraging welfare and help every step of the way creates a needy one; he called this breathtakingly simplistic, charging me with needing government help myself, whether I admitted it or not.

Roger thinks political correctness is simply an attempt to give the same courtesies to a collective group one would give to an individual, denying it twists reality with false idealisms or exaggerates basic differences in the human condition with which we all must contend. Also denies its claim that all cultures and lifestyles are morally equivalent. He goes on to say what I carelessly call socialism is nothing of the kind, then asks if I seriously believe hard work, discipline, respect and learning these from peers and elders is the exclusive prerogative of the right?

I make the statement look anywhere on the planet for a happier people; we are the paradigm in an imperfect world. Absolute nonsense says he, America giving every sign of being a deeply divided, unhappy country ill at ease with itself and NOT because we’ve endured years of socialism.

When I write about the state of the world and argue for law and order, civil society, respect for institutions and trusting in a creator greater than ourselves it’s because I believe these concepts lead to a fairer, more stable society, one that provides the best for the most and will be sustainable into the foreseeable future.

Free-market capitalism set upon the foundation of a constitutionally driven democratic republic has proven itself the best form of government on the planet, offering the most opportunity and success of any form of government, past or present. It hasn’t been perfect and there’s always room for improvement, but it’s the best man has devised. The danger I perceive is the constant cry for equality & fairer outcomes, the belief we can break from constitutionalism creating huge deficits, expand government beyond all comprehension in the hope of gaining these things. Roger says good intentions are enough. He asserts we grow more lopsided daily, the rich getting richer, poor poorer. It is inevitable the welling up of this inequality will bring change and revolt sooner rather than later.

He and other friends Lou, Jake, Alice and Steve all want things to be better, to punish the rich, narrow the gap between haves/have-nots. I don’t think they worry if there’s risk in changing society, or ponder the effects of a $30 Trillion national debt, or an unfunded liability estimated at $250 Trillion that’s nearing critical mass, gurgling like pre-eruptive magma in a super volcano!

They want to provide free birth control, abortions, child care and the every need of single moms. They want free food, housing, healthcare, college, drug treatment and counseling, wage & price controls imposed on our soon-not-to-be-so free market on and on. Truth be told, I want some of these too, but need to know how we’ll pay for them? How can our society, any society, afford all this? How do we create this utopian-like society? Should upper-middle/upper classes pay more tax? Should the mega-rich pay double or triple their current rates? Private business put salary caps on managers? Corporations pay more? Luxury tax be imposed on cars, boats, jewelry, fashion, dining out, liquor, fine furniture or sports equip over a certain price?

Should we put higher taxes on imports? Exports? Tax the services of doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, psychologists, health & fitness experts, tutors etc. on the premise if we can afford these services we can pay more for this help?

We could do all these and more, but what would it do to our society? Government would intrude into every aspect of daily life, regulating and controlling what we buy, where we go, how we travel, who we do business with, where we work, how much we make and taxing all of it such that we keep less than half of our hard-earned dollars.

That’s no longer a free society. It’s a socialist society with all treated equal but dispassionately in a Big Brother world. Notice this isn’t some right-wing nightmare with a tyrant ruler. It’s the natural outcome of bigger and bigger government; Orwell’s oligarchic committee world where we watch what we say and thank government for free time with family and our dog Buster.

Liberals are outraged some have so much. Why don’t they focus on the poor? Find ways to improve their circumstance rather than blame the rich? Do they honestly think mega-wealthy people want to hurt the poor? Over 85% of us make over $60K/yr, translating to 272 million in middle class or higher, roughly 50 million in poverty. Why not look at the reasons for this and try to fix them? Things like lack of motivation, addictions, few opportunities, poor education, physical disability, mental dysfunction and illegality. We could also ask what effect the cloying dependence of long-term welfare has? Could it actually  be a disincentive engendering indolence, hopelessness, failure?

China, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Russia and Japan are closest in population, the first two larger but only China with a bigger middle class. Even if financially comfortable would any of us choose to live in those places rather than here? What about their poor? Are they as well off as poverty-stricken here? Is their proportion less? I bet these countries have higher rates of poverty, much higher, and I’m talking desperate, unimaginable poverty.

We led the way in middle class creation the first 60 years of the 20th century but lost ground since due to creeping social policies arising out of the Johnson administration. Truth is, we’ve been morphing into a socialized country the past fifty years despite Roger’s disclaimer and will become one soon if something isn’t done.

In an email response to his rebuttal I likened America’s freedoms and form of government to the hand-held earthen basket held by the caveman containing fire in the film Quest for Fire. It compares in that the caveman doesn’t comprehend the fire, only that it gives warmth and cooks his food. Our freedoms and standard of living are similar. Many Americans don’t understand or appreciate how these came about, how fragile they are and how lucky WE ALL ARE, rich and poor, in America.

To Roger and friends I can only suggest, be careful what you wish for! Things are not nearly so bad as you would have, but they can get a lot worse the way we’re going. The strength/vitality of a nation lies in its people. If they’re industrious, self-reliant, patriotic and God fearing they will tighten society’s fabric; if they’re lazy, uninvolved or needful they will loosen it, especially if their moral character is suspect and their faith/spirituality is apathetic or nonexistent.

I plead with Rogers everywhere, ponder your stance, study its effects,  find ways to implement its nobler aspects if they will be a betterment to society, without destroying it. Let’s ALL do our best to improve the lot of those less fortunate and teach them to fish, not just give one.

Speaking of fish, the ancient 6th Cent BC Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said –  running government is a lot like cooking a small fish. You don’t want to overdo it. ‘Till next we meet, Roger old friend.  .

You can download this article in pdf by clicking here.

Alvan I. Shane Author, The Day Liberty Wept 2270 N Euclid Ave Frequent Op-Ed Contributor Upland, Calif 91784 Political Donor to Cons Grps / Causes (909) 946-5104 Ex-Marine / California native Tax Accountant / Mar 43yrs / 1 son
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