Sunday, February 19, 2012
Liberals tend to believe there are a lot of dependent people and that we cannot distinguish dependent people from independent people, so we have to subsidize *everybody* in order to help the dependent. Conservatives tend to believe "dependent" and "independent" are code for "competent" and "incompetent," that there are not that many inherently incompetent people, and that subsidizing incompetence creates more incompetence, which hurts us all. I respectfully suggest that the argument over free birth control for all women exactly embodies these differences.
Liberals tend to believe that we cannot or SHOULD NOT distinguish dependent people from independent people? Paul Rahe, 6:30 suggests that after the French Revolution, all political arguments began with equality. This seems to be pretty much true of progressives.
At 7:30 - 9:25 in the same video, he discusses the nanny inside all of us, to explain the way government in a liberal society gradually comes to "help" us more and more.
In my view, no one is born either independent or competent. But the more dependent people are kept, the less chance there is that someone will think it necessary to teach them the skills and attitudes necessary to become competent.
Speaking of reducing the number of dependent people, it is too bad Stanley Ann Dunham didn't get free birth control.
I'd say this is one of the best arguments for conservatives supporting planned parenting.
I would modify your thesis thus:
Liberals believe there are people who can not fend for themselves and need to be taken care of. The population at large see these people as incompetent and are unwilling to subsidize bad behavior. So liberals want *everyone* to be forced into their program, so the incompetent can get helped and not be singled out.
An example is the opposition to turning Social Security into an individual account. The competent would leave the system and the remanent would be "on welfare" which would eventually get cut as no one wants to support the lifestyle that gets you dependent on Social Security. so everyone needs to be forced on to Social Security no matter how bad a deal it is for the majority.
Conservatives see the dependent as dependent mostly due to incompetence or bad choices. They believe that mild suffering is nature's way of telling you "Don't do that!" and as such is a feature not a bug.
Further conservatives see the forcing of everyone into an inadequate system, thereby diminishing everyones happiness simply to help the incompetent, is immoral. Especially as it moves the marginally competent into the incompetent set compromising their human dignity.
The conservative solution is to let everybody live their lives, enjoying their successes and suffering for their mistakes. But always learning, growing, and struggling to improve.
If the few truly can not make it, or suffer a catastrophic piece of bad luck, private charity can help them. It is only private charity that can distinguish between the "deserving poor" and the "undeserving poor". Government charity can only be an entitlement.
The vote farming and power features of the government entitlements are another story; suffice it to say they are very appealing to the liberal wannabe aristocrats, and appalling to any lover of liberty.