Gray Flannel Dwarf

7/28/2004

Craigslist retort, 28-July 2004

… in response to the following posting:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/rnr/37711193.html

Conservatives are supposed to be so adverse to big government, up until the point where they’re in power. At that point, they go on to expand the size of the federal government, a la Reagan and George W. Bush.

Conservatives are supposed to be so against massive federal spending, up until the point that they control what is spent. At that point, they go on to run up deficits and increase the national debt far beyond anything any democrat in the past fifty years has done.

Conservatives are supposed to be the ones that champion personal freedom, up until the point that there are enough of them in power to pass legislation. At that point, they go on to draft laws concerning what can and can’t be done in our own bedrooms, to our own bodies, or with our our own money. You think the current regime doesn’t touch your money? Tell that to someone who all the sudden finds him or herself trying to transfer large chunks of legitimately earned profit from one bank account to another. Thanks to the Patriot Act, that, amongst other things, becomes a real pain the ass.

Conservatives, too, are supposed to be open-minded, up until the point where they decide to go off to war for ill-gotten gains and for fictional reasons. At that point, if you decide to question them, even the slightest, in their decisions, you are labelled “unpatriotic” or “commie”.

If I were in your shoes, and embraced your party’s ideals as much as you apparently do, I’d be scared shitless about what the current, neoconservative reactionaries are doing to the Republican party. I am, admitedly, not nearly as far off to the right as you are, but I don’t particularly disagree with much of what you’ve stated. This said, nor do I blindly follow a political party simply for the ability to latch onto something that, if nothing else, holds little more than its name when it comes to traditional conservative values.

Furthermore, I’d challenge you to really take a look at the current Democratic party and really determine that they are as adverse to private enterprise as you might think, that they are as willing to shrug off “personal responsibility” as you imply. At the risk of sounding like a Bandwagoneer, Barack Obama’s speech last night was a testament to that.

With regards to “shared responsibility”, the root of the word “politics” is “polis”, which means “community”. If you’re so adverse to relations within community, I daresay you’re in a sad, sad state of affairs — but more on par with what you are saying, perhaps you can go out by yourself in a self-imposed crusade against terrorist elements in your community, nation, or in the world. Maybe you’d enjoy it, Don’t fall down and scrape your knee, or break your arm on the way though — no one is going to bother helping you get back up despite unforseen circumstances that caused you to stumble at no fault of your own, either.

I can empathise with your opinion that “I can contribute more to the charities that I want and I can more effectively help people that having the inefficient government get in the middle.” However, it’s been well-documented that more often than not, money gets hoarded, not distributed. More often than not, as the amount of money that one earns goes up, the percentage thereof that is either reinvested in new businesses or into the community continues to drift down. I understand your concern, and have often felt the same way, but it’s to utopian a view for a modern, globalised world.

Years ago, when people amassed empires and wealth, there was something of a physical limit to what one could own. One could only defend so much land, or only store so much gold, before upkeep became too cumbersome. It was a natural checks and balances system. Today, in a world of electronic bank accounts and borders, that system is no longer in place, or is at least a weak remnant of itself, and without that system, the scale will eventually tip over too far one way, but it won’t be without victims — on either end. It’s the natural progression of things.

Do I like to recognise the need for an artificial, man-made, and obviously flawed hand in this? Of course not. But I nonetheless see the necessity in it, to varying degrees, as do all but the most far-right, rhetorical elements of the Republican party; in that, I’d posit that from the larger point of things, Republicans and Democrats don’t look too awfully different.

However, when it comes down to abuse of power, blatant disregard for the rest of the world out there, and the near-complete abandonment of one party’s true ideals, the new Right is an imposing spectre far more meanacing than “socialized medicine” or “double taxation”. I consider myself neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but it doesn’t take much of a step from the far-right fringes to see that this current administration is a threat to our nation’s well-being.

Author’s original posting below…
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cswiii @ 3:30 pm