Sunday, May 22, 2011

Compassion At the Point of a Gun

Neal Gabler, a Ted Kennedy biographer, just wrote an op-ed in the LA Times titled "America the stony-hearted".  Besides realizing that I never heard stony-hearted used ever in my life, I was amazed at how stilted the op-ed was.  It was essentially about how conservatives are waging a war against compassion:

One can see this division in something as simple as the denigration of the term "liberal," the "L" word, with its attendant idea that to be compassionate, caring and tolerant — virtues that had been celebrated, if only via lip service, by most Americans — is really to be mush-minded, weak and, more concretely, willing to give taxpayer largesse to the undeserving and lazy. (This was essentially the argument that some Republicans, such as former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), used when they sought to deny an extension of unemployment benefits.

It is easy to miss how significant a change this is. It transforms compassion, a bulwark in practically any moral system, into a negative force that undermines the good of individual initiative. Indeed, conservative ideologue Marvin Olasky wrote a book to this effect, pungently titled "The Tragedy of American Compassion," in which he called for the privatization of all charitable efforts. It rapidly became a conservative touchstone.
He clearly doesn't have any conservative friends.  Does he really think we sit around talking about how bad compassion is and how it is ruining the country?  Conservatives are some of the most compassionate people I know and regularly give to various charities and volunteer to help out.  The difference though between how conservatives want to be compassionate and how liberals want to be compassionate is that conservatives want to be able to choose how to be compassionate and to which charities to be involved with while liberals tend to want to force everyone to be compassionate to the causes that "experts" say we should be involved with.  Basically they focus on how to spend other people's money, money collected at the point of a gun (imagine what would happen to you if you refused to pay taxes or even the portion that would go to social programs).

Also, note Neal Gabler's use of the word "tolerant" to describe liberals. I guess that means that non-liberals are "intolerant" or "racist".  That seems to be the usual argument I face these days when I talk to a liberal about ANYTHING.  I remember having discussions on Facebook about cutting Planned Parenthood funding by the Federal Government.  I really just don't want any of my tax money going to an organization that performs so many abortions and was started by Margaret Sanger, who believed in using eugenics to weed out the poor and minorities from society.  Somehow, even being against Planned Parenthood funding made me a "horrible racist" because apparently Planned Parenthood is the site where many minority women get their healthcare.  As if minorities were being turned away from hospitals because of the color of their skin.

Neal Gabler's piece is just another example of how liberals really have no idea how conservatives think and are basically devolving into 21st century thought police.