Thursday, December 02, 2004

Staunch Partisan or Thoughtful Ideological Belief System: You Decide

The building of the entitlement/victim society has diluted justifiable social concerns with frivolity

Believe it or not I get a lot of teasing from my friends, family and colleagues at work for my staunch support for the Republican Party. Yes, indeed, I do identify myself as a Republican, I do so with pride. I do not, however, consider myself a transparent cheerleader for the party; I just tend toward the American conservative view which is far more at home in the GOP than it is in the party of the donkey. I could go through a whole list of things that bother me about the national party, but I won’t because that’s not the focus of my comments today.

Years of studying the politics of ideology have led me to the American conservative movement as an antidote to socialism. It is my belief, and I am not alone, that socialism – yes, including social democracy is one the greatest threats to freedom and individual liberty the world faces. Now before anyone gets the notion that I am a hard hearted – mean spirited – nasty ole Republican, I contend that the term social safety net and socialism are not one in the same. They are a thousand reasons for society to come to aid and comfort of those who are truly needy. There should be no reason a rich and dynamic society like the one that exists in the United States can’t afford to care for the least of us. This should not, however, lead us to a socialist society. There is enough money that spills and splashes out of the capitalistic bucket to pay for all of our reasonable social responsibilities. The fact that it doesn’t in all cases is more the fault of the “do gooders” than it is the mean spirited conservatives. The process of building the entitlement/victim society has diluted justifiable social concerns with frivolity. Just because you are born does not entitle one to an easy, carefree life.

I think a lot of Americans look upon certain social democracies in Europe with longing and envy. This is misguided and dangerous. We can not compare the United States with Sweden or Netherlands, two countries often held up by American socialists as model societies. Its apples and oranges, my friends, Sweden is a tiny, homogeneous state with almost none of the challenges that face a large and unique nation like America. That being said, it goes much deeper than that. The secular hostility toward religiosity in Europe is really at the root of dividing line between americanism and socialism. It can be frankly demonstrated by Netherland’s indefensible position on the death penalty for criminals and babies. The Dutch are aghast at the idea that America (Texas, in particular) executes murderers. And many Americans are sickened by the practice of executing the sick, elderly and the unwanted under the guise of mercy. This week we learned that the Dutch have been euthenizing babies with birth defects or serious health conditions. In America there are hospitals and nurseries that specialize in keeping babies alive – sometimes to the tune of millions of dollars per baby. This is a huge cultural division between Americans and many Europeans.

We yankees scratch our heads trying to figure out the mentality that calls the execution of a stone cold killer barbaric and the poisoning of an innocent baby mercy. In all honesty I do not support the death penalty at all. There are exceptions, of course, but I think the possibility of wrongly executing an innocent person outweighs the perceived cost of housing a murderer in prison for life. I also believe this is a debatable subject, whereas the wanton killing of an innocent baby inside or outside the womb is simply reprehensible. The former being a position the Democrats could embrace, the latter a notion the liberals will not consider. The conservative circle, often portrayed as backward and rigid is actually considerate of both debates.

There is no perfect system this side of heaven for governing humanity – humans are imperfect. Democracy, where individuals have a say in their governments seems to be the most fair and workable governing solution devised to date. It is also the form of government that is most compatible with human nature. I think it is important for society to be compatible with human nature. Human nature is at the same time driven by the needs and desires of the individual and the requirements of the community. Socialism is government by the group for the group which often tramples the individual in the process. Americanism, often called rugged individualism, puts the individual first, leaving the community at the mercy of the few standouts among us. Is there a third way? I don’t know. There are plenty of isms that have fallen by the wayside leaving us with, for all intents and purposes, these two. In life it often comes down to two choices and history (the unrevised edition) will record which will lead to a better more prosperous life for individual humans that make up the this community we call humanity.


TJ Willms said...

Once again the Europeans show us some rather glaring evidence of why our ancestors fled that continent.It is an instering dichotomy we have right here at home, (Save the guilty-Execute the innocent.) Also very much in keeping with the philosiphy of the American left. Although most Democrats do not wish to see themselves in that light all the while maintaining their "pro-abortion" and "anti-capital punishment" viewpoint out of a rather twisted sense of compassion. My up-bringing will not allow me to preform the mental gynastics required to hold that belief system in high regard. It seems to cheapen life as a whole and incapacitate any sense of right and wrong or good and evil.

Great piece!