Tuesday, January 22, 2013


"We're hardwired not to always think clearly when we're scared, and the country's scared.”
-President Obama

The left has a very effective trick they play with politics and policy, a dishonorable and underhanded one, but effective.  Once some policy or law they desire has passed, they insist it must stay in place or horror and doom will result.  You cannot ever, under any circumstances, repeal anything that has been passed, or it will end up in total disaster.
Take the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare").  The ACA isn't even completely implemented until next year, but when any discussion of repealing the bill is brought up, instantly the left accuses you of wanting people to die, for people to suffer from disease and misery without hope of treatment, and trots out a list of folks suffering from something with the claim they would be lost without this legislation.
Now, that's possible, although in the United States, nobody can be turned down when they require medical care.  Its illegal and besides medical facilities don't want to turn anyone away; they exist to help people in need.
In a way, everything the left claims they want to accomplish with medical care we now have: the burden of the cost is shifted to the wealthy who can afford to pay hospital bills, and away from the poor, who can get care without paying - or paying very little.  All government control of this (or their ultimate goal, socialized medicine) would accomplish is to add government middlemen to the process and tax the middle class to pick up the burden.
At any rate, you can see how this works.  I lived over 4 decades before this legislation passed, I know what it was like before then.  People weren't dying in the streets, folks got medical care.  President Clinton wasn't a rotten evil bastard for not having this legislation in place.  President Kennedy wasn't heartless and cruel for lacking the ACA during his administration.  Its all a lie designed to avoid discussion and prevent change.  Progressive?  Not so much.
And it seems to me the best way to combat this is to negate it.  Instead of trying to force through legislation on the backs of weak and corrupt congressmen more concerned about lobbyists, news reporters, and cocktail parties than they are doing the right thing or even doing their job, bypass them entirely.
If you see a need that the left talks about, if there's some lousy bill being passed or already in place, some law or program the left rammed through to take care of a problem they perceived, then we as individual citizens and conservatives should step up to take the burden ourselves.
If people are having a hard time, say, affording to buy healthy food, then we should work to make healthy food more available where possible.  If folks can't pay for transplants or other costly medical procedures they need, then we should work on setting up funds and working with medical people to make this more available.
The problem people have these days is that they always frame every solution in terms of law and government.  How can we get the government to do this, what law can we pass to fix that.  Even Libertarians, who claim to be opposed to government solutions, often end up talking in terms of what the government can do to make things happen, even if in reverse: cutting the government, changing these laws.  Its so ingrained into us we barely notice it.  From childhood we've been buried in a pile of assumptions about the role and function of government, saved by government programs or government blamed for things that happen.  "There ought to be a law," we cry.
And there is a place and role for government - but the burden is mostly on us, individually, and as a nation of people.  Not through representatives and laws, but our personal actions and behavior.  We cannot really shake a finger of condemnation at the left for their government-centric attitude if we take the same one.  Yes, the government needs to be cut, but the answers have to come from us.  If there's a genuine need, we must fill that need ourselves.
To a large extent this is already happening, with things like orphanages, hospitals, adoption agencies, shelters, missions for street people, food banks, and so on.  Almost all of these originated with and are often still run by Christian or other religious organizations.  My church alone helps people in the local neighborhood with food, emergencies, trips, and so on.  Behind the scenes, without any attention, groups like the YWCA work constantly in your home town to help out people in need, every day.
So to a certain extent this means publicity as well, getting word out that much of the work that the left claims has to be done by government is already being done privately.  A much higher profile for organizations already doing the work that the left claims the government must do would help combat their rhetoric and disinformation.  When they claim something outrageous and false, the people dealing with that issue should be promoted twice and loud and as hard.  
Homeless people need help?  The Salvation army and Union Gospel mission are already covering that.  Kids need to find homes?  There are dozens of adoption agencies working around the clock already doing it - we just need people to stop looking overseas for kids as some kind of badge of good deeds.  See my kid is dusky in hue, I'm such a good person.
Yes, this will all cost time and money and energy.  It means maybe doing without that extra coffee, or X-Box game, or a smaller vacation, fewer shoes and purses, whatever.  It means that we have to both pay taxes for some things getting done and volunteer, donate, and buy for the same cause locally.  If we're going to take over the government's role in these areas, there's going to be a lot of doubling up, a lot of duplication.
See, the idea on the right is that we don't need the government to have all these social programs and take taxes for them because private efforts work better and more efficiently - and that's right.  But unless we demonstrate they exist and can do the job first, people won't trust the idea.  We have to establish a safety net and help people before we wipe out the government system doing the same job, or a lot of people are gonna fall straight to the bottom as we transition.  And if we don't show it can and will be done, the left will always have that weapon to use against our ideas.
Sacrifice, giving up what you have for a better cause, is a basic conservative principle.  That concept isn't so popular on the left and libertarians (and Objectivists) don't care for it either.  But the truth is, that's how you build greatness.  Sacrifice means you personally for your own reasons are giving up - not taken away by someone else, not forced to give, but personally, voluntarily giving.
When the people who built America did so, they did it at their own expense and personal cost, sometimes everything they had, including lives.  They worked hard to build a future where their kids wouldn't have to.  They gave up almost everything to travel across the plains and set up a new life where there was nothing but resources.  And from that, the built a nation; not just any nation, but the strongest, richest nation in the history of the world, richer than every other nation combined before it.  And as America was built up, so was the rest of the world, lifted by the US economic machine.
If we're going to rebuild from the crumbling ashes of America's past we have to do so at the same cost and with the same effort.  It takes hard work, maturity, sacrifice, responsibility, and virtue to get this done.  It means we have to go without.  So yes, it means paying taxes and giving to charity.  It means working for a volunteer effort that does what the government programs do - but better, and locally.
Imagine the result of this.  If it was truly done, done well, and done broadly across America, it would mean we could replace the government programs, not just cut them.  Without the left's ability to claim doom and disaster with any plausibility, their objections to replacing the programs is greatly diminished.  And consider what would happen to the perception of the right and especially Christians in the west and America in particular.
If everyone in poor areas and all those who are needy saw and felt the effects of the right working hard to help them, that would make it pretty hard to claim the right is heartless and cares nothing for the poor.  The more they know what is being done and at what cost by whom, the more likely they are to appreciate and support what we do and why.
Christians have long known and sometimes carried this out.  Evangelism is most powerful when carried out by love and service, not speech and tract.  Jesus lived that out every day of his life on this earth, serving others and reaching out to the most needy and downtrodden.  It made him incredibly attractive and beloved - except by those in power.
Without that ammunition, the left would greatly lose its ability to create hysteria and fear; it would undermine their demonization and attacks on the right.  The left could and would still claim the same old thing, but it would lose tremendous impact because people would see and know that it wasn't true all around them.
And if the government could be replaced by local efforts and volunteerism, if we could eliminate the need for government programs by our charity and work, that would mean a more vibrant, freer economy, a richer pocketbook with lighter taxation, and an overall more healthy, stronger nation.
Our liberty would be greatly enhanced by taking over what the government does now, and the nation would benefit greatly from that as well.  It was the incredible freedom that let the US grow and build its self into a vast nation of such power and riches, and its the lack that us cutting that away.  We aren't so much that shining city on a hill any longer, but we could be, with work.
After all, it isn't a leftist principle to help those in need.  We only differ on the process. So lets put our money where our mouths are.  We don't need government to do these things, so lets prove it.


Anonymous said...

I agree 100%, and as that's the sort of comment you apparently like best, here it is. I agree! Hooray!

pdwalker said...

So sayeth the Anonymous. You're my hero, bravely speaking truth to power at the risk of all.

Anonymous said...

Private charity is generally better than from the government.
For example, The Salvation Army provides lots of assistance to the poor, but with an implicit, and I think not overly heavy-handed, expectation from those being helped to take on some responsibility for their plight. Government doesn't normally levy moral expectations and that can be a problem. There are plenty of people who end up in a bad place through genetics, accidents, or other factors far beyond their control. But many end up in a bad way through a series of very poor choices and irresponsible behavior. Charities and private assistance will provide to both, but they will often try to change the behavior of those who can help themselves and even apply some moral opprobrium to those who are largely at fault for their own problems. That may sound overly moralistic, but is sometimes required for people to change for the better. I just happen to believe that a lot of poverty and some medical problems arise from an underlying spiritual poverty, which the government takes great pains not to address. They are fixated on the symptoms and not the disease.