Greetings, fellow castaways.
I have summed up the conflict of conservatism vs liberalism in one phrase. Yes, indeed, everything that everyone has been fighting for and over, every little squawk and squabble from the left to the right and back again, can now be stated in one simple question:
"Whose job is it, anyway?"
There is a wide difference between the European model of government and the American model. European governments, in almost all cases, are derived from monarchies or dictatorships. In those models, "Government" is "Mom," who makes sure everyone is fed, clothed, housed, and supplied for. And maybe that works okay for Europe. Okay, except for Greece, who went bankrupt. And maybe England, who had to cut way back on social spending or they were going to go bankrupt. Or Germany, who went bankrupt. Or France, who went... You get the idea.
Now, let's compare that model to the representative republic model upon which the United States was founded (not a democracy, as some have led you believe): Old Tom Jefferson said, "Government at its best is a necessary evil, and at its worst, an intolerable one." Westward expansion (whether you believe it to be a crime or not) left many communities in situations where there were no government programs for the destitute. In fact, most of the immigrants moving west were destitute, which was why they were moving. To get away from their poverty and circumstances, and make a fresh start for themselves and their families.
Let's look at our rule-book. It's called the Constitution. The preamble, if you recall, says, "We the people of the United States, (Why?) in order to form a more perfect union, (for what purpose?) establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, (do what?) do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America." In other words, "We, in order to accomplish these things, do this."
The Constitution, in other words, lays out the jobs of the government. None of those jobs is to provide any assistance for anyone. I know it sounds cold, but hang with me here, and let me clarify, please.
In the old day, there was no government help for the destitute. But there was help. From whom, might you ask, did this help come? It came from charitable organizations funded by private parties. In other words, "We the people" provided for our own needy. So guess whose job it is to provide assistance? It's OUR job, NOT the government's. Which, of course flies in the face of the European model.
Now, before we travel too far down the road, can anyone (I present this as a challenge), and I mean ANYONE show me in our constitution the part where our federal government has the responsibility to set out "safety nets" for the needy? Please, anyone? Bueller? Bueller?
No, it's our job. It's the job of everyone who has the means to voluntarily give to organizations who provide food, clothing, and housing assistance to our needy.
I firmly believe that the programs initiated in the '30's should have gone away a long time ago. They were instituted partially as a means of keeping people dependent on government for their daily livelihoods.Maybe there was a need, on a temporary basis, to provide some help, as jobs were nearly non-existent. One of three people eligible to work in 1933 had no job, and had no way to get one. My grandmother used to go out with her 10 brothers and sisters and round up rotten apples from the ground in the neighbor's orchard, cut off the bad parts, and keep whatever was left for their apple pies. Their uncle Mark raised all eleven of them single-handedly after their parents died within months of each other. Believe me, I know hardship. I've had plenty of my own.
But it wasn't a government program that helped me climb back. I borrowed from friends, took jobs as I could (burger flipper, janitor, drywaller, roofer, day by day, week by week) until I could get a steady job that turned into a career. I've been homeless, hungry, and living in borrowed clothes. I've started over more times than I can count. I collected unemployment for about six weeks in all that time.
I believe it should never be the government's job to provide those "safety nets" because in abdicating our responsibility to a faceless commission or agency makes us lazy. We lose touch with the needs around us, and become harder people when we aren't directly involved in helping the needy. Some nameless, anonymous "them" has the issue, so we get to forget all about it and go our catatonic way down the road.
But that's not what happens, is it? Because we still encounter the needy all around us, but now we don't see anyone helping, mainly because the agency in charge of giving assistance is absorbing 70% to 90% of your tax dollars for its own employees and bureaucrats. So now, we have to blame someone, and in most cases we blame those who have more than us: "The Rich." Oh, hell let's just blame them anyway. It's their fault that homeless people don't have their own houses, because they aren't sharing from their wealth. So along with all that self-righteous indignation that comes from having poor people all around us is compounded by the anger at rich people for daring to have more, to earn more, to keep more than anyone else.
And we all know who throws gasoline on that fire: Our own wonderful news media, who have forsaken the art of journalism for their agenda. Which agenda, you say? Why, to make America more like Europe, of course.
We'll go more into that in future posts.