Tag Archives: conservative

47%? 30%? Let’s make it 100%!

King George III and George Washington

According to Mitt Romney, 47% of Americans believe that the government should take care of them in some way. Paul Ryan, the numbers guy, says it’s 30%. They say it like it’s a bad thing. It’s not. The number should be closer to 100%.

Let me explain: We had a revolution quite some time ago which freed us from the tyranny of a kingdom and established a democracy. Whereas a king rules by right of inheritance, a president is elected through the will of the people. A king stands above all others; a president is first among equals.

A king typically inherits his right to rule through a line of ancestry that connects him to a figure recognized as important to the establishment of the country.  His power is legitimized by his biological connection to the birth of the people and of the culture, and his authority is conceived in paternal terms. The country is his; it belongs to him and he may do with its land, its people, and its army as he sees fit. He is, however, obliged to see to it that his lands are farmed, his people are fed, and his armies are supplied.

Did these responsibilities of government just fade away when we replaced a king with a president? Clearly we are still subsidizing our farmers and supplying our armies, so what happened to the other piece of it?

Remember this: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . .”

Was this not what Jefferson was talking about? How can one be entitled to life but not medicine? Liberty but not food? A shot at happiness but not the benefit of shelter?  Don’t these things all go together? I believe that Jefferson thought his language was broad and inclusive: Let’s see, he reasoned; what three words can I use to represent all “unalienable Rights”? Oh, yes! I’ll say, “among these,” and cite the big ones! “Life,” for crying out loud! How much more inclusive can I be?

Conservatives deride an American sense of “entitlement” (oh, the irony!), where people think they deserve government assistance for which they should not have to work or pay. They think a lot of us are stupid, irresponsible, and lazy. The truth is, we are all raised to believe that life is meaningless without work – which includes raising children – and that we are useless without it. Most of us want to make an honest living. That, it’s patently obvious, is not always possible.

It has always been the job of the government to see to it that people’s basic needs are met. From chiefs to kings to parliaments, the primary charge is to keep the peace and provide the food – the latter being necessary for the former. As long as there has been government, that has been the case.

Democracy didn’t change that; capitalism did.

Agnorant in America

GOP debate

“Agnorant.” I love this word because it so completely encapsulates the essence of what it means to be a Republican today:  That special combination of arrogance and ignorance that stands behind everything from American Exceptionalism to Snooky and The Situation. That way of plowing straight ahead through life with perfect conviction that you are always right in the face of constant proof that you are utterly wrong.

Agnorance: Perfect composure as you offer your opinion on something you know nothing about.  Perfect faith that you know what is right for everyone and damn it, there should be a law.   Perfect confidence in your own genius, which only you can see.  Perfect blindness with regard to your own faults, mistakes, and history.  Perfect command of the three facts that you know.

Every Republican on stage at a debate stands there as an icon of agnorance.  Their histories hold only heroic deeds and good intentions; they forgive themselves their own mistakes without even acknowledging their occurrence.   They all know what is best for America despite the fact that none of them knows that people didn’t coexist with dinosaurs.

They bought themselves a reality show to satisfy their narcissism; does that make us voyeurs?

I feel dirty, America.

Survival of the richest

At the Republican debate the other night, the audience showed its blood lust.  When Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul if the government should  let the uninsured die, several people in the crowd yelled out “Yeah!”  While this was not Congressman Paul’s preference, the crowd pulsed audibly with libertarian zeal.  Yes America, you have neighbors who wouldn’t spend a buck or shed a tear if you – or your child – were about to die for lack of insurance. Their vision of America leads to a future where only the rich have lives while the rest of us get death sentences. Social Darwinism is alive and well, but you may not be so lucky.

Support at GOP debate for letting the uninsured die – latimes.com.

the fifty-state exit strategy

Conservatives argue that, according to the Constitution, the federal government has very limited powers; most decisions are reserved for the states.  Grover Norquist summed up the ethos of the movement when he said, “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

Let’s assume we do this; if we asphyxiate the federal government, then what happens next?  Fifty states make fifty different sets of laws about everything they possibly can.  Taxes, property rights, voter registration, gun laws, medical insurance, abortion, religion, you name it.  If you don’t like the laws where you are, then go somewhere else.  If you can.  Suddenly you ’re living in the American Balkans. Your personal and economic security are dependent variables; the place is thick with borders and your status changes as soon as you cross one, which naturally makes crossing them difficult.  So what do you do?  You flee to the EU. I hope they’re ready for us.