Thursday, October 2, 2008

Liberals and Conservatives

My friend Catherine shared this with me.

Right to the point and one of the big differences between Democrat and Republican outlook.

I was talking to a friend of mine's little girl, and she said she wanted to be President some day. Both of her parents, liberal Democrats, were standing there, so I asked her, "If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?"

She replied, "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people."

"Wow - what a worthy goal!" I told her. "You don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I'll
pay you $50. Then, I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward food or a new house."

She thought that over for a few moments because she's only 6 years old. And while her Mom glared at me, the young child looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?"

And I said, "Welcome to the Republican Party." Her folks still aren't talking to me.
 I shot back.  "But, what if the homeless guy has no arms?  Welcome back to the Democratic Party."  Another friend supposed he might have a mental deficiency that kept him from being able to work.
This little joke/story brings up some interesting points about Liberals and Conservatives.  Liberals tend to look at the systems or the circumstances surrounding a person's inability to thrive. The question we have is "What happened to him to put him in that situation?"  We tend to want to fix problems by fixing social systems.  Conservatives tend to look at personal responsibility.  The question they have is "What did the guy do to get himself into that situation?".  Of course, neither of these approaches works on its own.  Fix the systems as much as you want, if people don't take personal responsibility they'll still flounder and society will be the worse for it.  OTOH, the old "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" philosophy doesn't work if you don't have any bootstraps.  In the case of our story, Catherine assumed the homeless man was able bodied and mentally capable of work, work was available and he simply chose not to work.  I assumed that the man was somehow disabled and/or work was not available.  I'd have no problem with bringing the man over to the house, giving him some work that he could do (to help him keep his dignity) and then paying him for the work.


Someday said...

I don't think Republicans are against taking care of the disabled. I've never read that insinuated by any conservative thinker. That's part of the myth Democrat leadership is telling their constituents. This myth can be traced back to a movement in the 1970's invented by a socialist by the name of Saul Alinsky who's tactics and ideals has been captured by the Democrats.

Did you know that Martin Luther King Jr was a Republican? That's what his family tells us.

My problem with the Republican party is that they are not resisting Alinky-type socialism strongly enough. And they ALLOW the radicals to lie, and they do not call them out on the facts, instead they look sheepish and confused about what to do.


Brian said...

Whoa! Who said Republicans are against taking care of the disabled?

My point is that when Liberals see a person down, we tend to think of them as being disabled somehow (by systems, circumstances, health, etc.) while Conservatives tend to think of personal responsibility for the situation.

Tones said...

Out of the mouths of babes! Brian, this is a great story - and I think your friend got right to the root. Interesting!

I tend to lean on the conservative side as my brother-in-law is on the liberal side. We have a lot of fun attempting to define characteristics of both.

We did make one determination that we both agreed to: Thinking vs Feeling. Don't get me wrong, as humans both of these attributes are critical, especially if we strive to live in a Christ-like way. We agreed that liberals with an emphasis on "feeling" were more apt to identify with wealth distribution as a means of fixing the poverty problem, applying an almost a sub-conscious assumption that the homeless cannot help themselves.

We also agreed that the "thinking" side would be more apt to energize the free market to create jobs and opportunities, applying an almost a sub-conscious assumption that the homeless are able and will respond to the offer.

Which is correct? That's where we tend to get fired up!!

I think we can all agree that the answer is in between - we need to apply conservative principles to promote the "pursuit" to self-reliance, and at the same time focus resources and energy to lead needy folks to this oasis.

There will always be folks that simply cannot do it for physical or mental reasons, and we need to agree to love and care for them in a very different way.

The one thing about your post that concerns me is that we have some how decided to transfer the responsibility of caring for these folks out of our churches and have placed this responsibility on the government. The government spends 70 cents to implement 30 cents into a program. Most churches, based on my investigation of the books are capable of just the opposite. Fiscally, it just doesn't make sense!

Doing this work through tax dollars removes the human aspect to charity as well. I've heard so many people say "why should I give charitable contributions? Let the government take care of it".

I grew up in a small neighborhood in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. We attended a neighborhood church. Anyone in that community who was down-trodden, lost their job, became disabled, or had tough times were cared for by that church community - real care, not just a few bucks and a hot dish. If we could repeat that model across this country (which was the original intent of the church), imagine what would be accomplished. Mega churches tend to become almost like little mini-governments where the human element is removed and the church beaurocrats move money around.

We need to think and feel - like the little girl in your story. Us grown-ups have made it all too complicated. Blessed are the children!

Brian said...

Great observations, Tones. Probably to a lot of people's surprise, I am more of a feeler than a thinker.

It's not an either/or situation. I agree. I was really describing tendencies. If we can identify where we're coming from it's easier to see the other person's side. And, neither is correct. It's a matter of balance and knowing which principles to apply in which situation.

I have mixed feelings (thoughts) about churches and private charities providing services the government does. I know Conservatives tend to like teeny-weeny government. But, I view the government as a collective of the people, not as an adversarial entity. Whether a program is provided by the government or by the church, it's still provided by the community. Now, we know our government is just about the most wasteful organization on earth. So, generally speaking, private organizations can do things more efficiently. But, there are some things that government is uniquely qualified to do. So, let's see if we can put them out of the "charity" business. I have no problems with competition like that!