Country Living Series

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Views from a liberal

In response to this weekend's WorldNetDaily colum (Have a Selfish Thanksgiving), I got a lengthy email from my favorite liberal reader, Robert. This gentleman routinely (but politely) takes me to task for just about any opinion I express. I guess he can never accept the idea that we disagree on almost everything (except a mutual love for classical music). Contrary to his claim, this fellow is about as deep a Progressive as you could ever define.

So here's his latest email to me. One common theme in his missives (besides the evils of homeschooling) is that because conservatives are less inclined to unquestioningly hand out money in the form of welfare, we are therefore a cold heartless lot who want to see poor people die on the street, yadda yadda yadda.

Anyway, decide for yourself.

Hello Patrice! I don't agree with you here. Yes, communism proved to be the worst economic system ever. It was horribly inefficient and unproductive.

But you have to realize that its polar opposite, pure laissez-faire capitalism, where it's dog eat dog and every man for himself, and if you're down on your luck, tough noogies, is no better. I'm no socialist, Marxist or communist, even though a lot of right-wingers have accused me of this on the internet just because I don't share their economic and social views, but there HAS to be a safety net.

Without it, too many innocent people will be helpless and fall through the cracks. I believe in capitalism, yes. But not the kind where we're all on our own, and if misfortune strikes, too bad. Unfortunately, too many right-wing Americans mistake the existence of a safety net for socialism.

They aren't the same thing at all. And many say that private charities should be that safety net, and that the government has no business helping any one. Wrong. Don't get me wrong; I'm all for private charities. But it's a mistake think that they can provide for every one in need. In fact,they can't even come remotely close.

You said in your last post that you don't want to live in America if "socialism" come here. It hasn't and won't. If anything, the danger is right-wing extremists who want to destroy our already inadequate one, which would be catastrophic.

Look. The vast majority of Americans, and people everywhere, aren't lazy bums who want the government to support them in style for life so they can live an easy life with no work to do. They want to work and earn a decent or better living and to be secure along with their families for life.

But you forget that social and economic conditions in America make this extremely difficult if not impossible for so many people.

It's not easy in America to get a good education past high school and get and keep a secure job with good benefits. Working hard is important and people should do this. But it's absolutely no guarantee of prosperity or security.

But unfortunately, the lame ducks in congress are about to be replaced by a lot of Republican lame brains who tell gullible people all they want to hear about lowering taxes, "limited" government, "smaller" government and all that, and restoring "freedom."

But beware. They aren't going to increase prosperity if they get power, but only make things much worse. Lame ducks to lame brains. Just what we need.

All the best,


  1. Has this Robert actually looked at where his "needed" social spending goes?

    As a nation we spend more on education than we do on defense. Of course the gov covers it by giving the States 600 billion here 400 billion there to spend on education so it is reported as being something else at the federal level. They then enforce racially biased quotas and force unequal rules to keep the funds coming.

    I don't mind paying taxes and I don't mind the fed bankrolling some forms of welfare. What I do mind is the liberal/progressive way of spending someone else's money to promote their view of social equality. A view which is completely racist and biased towards their idea of a utopia and which groups should prosper at the expense of others.

  2. "The vast majority of Americans ... aren't lazy bums who want the government to support them in style for life so they can live an easy life with no work to do."

    This is totally wrong. My own brother-in-law (who is a conservative) had his hours reduced, so he was eligible for unemployment. I told him about how many people are avoiding getting back to work, because of the extended unemployment benefits and who wants to work when you can get money for free, he had to agree with me and said,

    "I find myself doing just that. I haven't bothered looking for work and won't until the unemployment checks stop coming."

    He just sat there thinking and it will be interesting to see if he looks for employment before his benefits run out.

    Robert's attitude is what the progressives want everyone to have. That way when everyone is comfortable with the idea that, "it will never happen here", laws will be changed little by little and one day we will wake up and truly feel the choke of the government on our lives and it will be too late ... we will be slaves of the state. Ugh.


  3. Its always easy to make scapegoats of the underdogs and blame them for any number of society's perceived ills, but then you also need to suggest a practical solution that wouldn't cost far more to implement than simply continuing with minimal subsistence payments.

  4. The fact Robert thinks socialism "hasn't and won't" come to America is a pretty clear admission that he's lost touch with reality. He's one of the mere 1/4 Americans that would still vote for Obama again.

  5. I believe many people make the mistake of thinking capitalism is a political philosophy and it is not. What we have is a constitutional Republic or simply freedom. With that freedom we are all free to practice capitalism. Other forms of government have less freedom and limit or prohibit the free practice of capitalism. But make no mistake capitalism is practiced but in those extremes it is practiced by the government. Socialism, communism and fascism all deny their citizens the right to use capitalism but the government itself uses it extensively.
    So this gentleman's complaint is not with capitalism it is with freedom. Most people who like socialism believe they will benefit from a system where the government confiscates property and wealth and redistributes it to the poor. But in general this never happens and even the best attempt at a socialist society results in two classes; the poor and the elite. Socialism/communism/fascism always fails when it runs out of other people's money to steal

  6. Sigh....
    I may have the energy later to read the rest of Robert's piece, but I immediately lost interest when he started out with the Fallacy of the False Alternative: It's whatever he believes in, or it's pure Laissez Faire Capitalism.

    BLAAAAAAANHHHH!!!!!!!!! (quiz show buzzer)

    The United States is THE most privately -- not talking about govt foreign aid, but private CHARITY -- generous country by far, by any fair measure, on earth.

    Perhaps more later.

    Bill Smith

  7. I'm eating a 49cent can of Heinz beans tonight. Seriously. They're tasty and I'm careful with my money. I work 60hrs a week most weeks and live a resonable existence (budgeting daily to keep house, car, bills etc)

    What irks me is I see clients that I deal with who are on assistance dressed better than me, with better cell phones, manicures, smokes (I don't) and when in a retail environment buying better things than me (My job is both in community and retail so I see how clients spend their money) Even fellow employees who earn a great deal more than me, will tap me after a particular client leaves and comment how they themselves could not afford that.

    No, they're not living a subsistence life - they're living a better life than me! On my dime no less!

    Also, I've noticed the clients who don't have to pay for their medication don't care about the costs. They'll come back super early because they "lost" their pricey inhaler. Let me tell you the people that pay out of pocket never have the problems with needing more stuff like the ones who don't pay! I corrected a young girl one time who came in for her "free inhaler". I explained it wasn't free. Indeed her type of inhaler cost $120 and that she was very fortunate to not have to pay it. Sadly I see this entitlement every day of my life. I feel for the hardworking folks who pay out of pocket and may get a cheaper alternative as that's all they can afford.
    No, continuing the status quo is NOT the answer

  8. robert and patrice are both right. we do need some government but not a government that takes control over everything we do. there will always be people who take advantage of any system that is in place so they don't have to do anything. there are also people who are willing to help themselves but can't seem to make ends meet. the problem i see is how to weed out the people taking advantage of the system from the ones who actually need help. charities can help but only so much. that is where government helps out. i was on unemployment for 3 months. i didn't like it. the problem with government helping out is that they think they are the only ones that should do it and try to control you because they are helping you out. i am a conservative and don't want any charity unless there is no other choice.
    as for the government helping out, we need to let our congressmen know that we the people are fed up with them stealing our money and giving it to someone who isn't willing to help themselves out. we also need to let the government (through our congressmen) know that we don't want them controlling anything we do under the guise of security and safety or any guise for that matter. capitalism does have its flaws but it is better than socialism/communism where only a very few reap the rewards at the expense of the majority.
    a majority of the people who are poor are there because they want to be, by not helping themselves. not because capitalism is the cause. if you show a willingness to work and show up to work every day you can get off of welfare. it won't be easy but you need to keep trying and not give up.

  9. To my mind, the saddest thing about his words is that he doesn't believe in people. He doesn't seem to think we are able. I get the feeling from this one message of his that he doesn't dream great dreams or aspire to move just one step higher, all on his own effort. To me, that's what divides the right and the left: The conviction that if the roadblocks were gone, there would be no end to what the individual could accomplish, and would accomplish, in the golden glow of freedom.

  10. We used to be a constitutional republic in which a constitution binding the union of sovereign states was the supreme law of the land. Our friend Robert seems to argue that we should ignore that binding contract and take wealth for some and give it to others as a "safety net."

    I don't believe unbridled capitalism is more desirable or preferable to unbridled communism.) The law that should be ruling this debate is the constitution. I can't find "safety net" or "capitalism" in that document no matter how hard I twist things.

    Perhaps most folks want the same thing as Robert. There's a clear cut way, defined by the constitution, to achieve the paradise so many seek. However, to pass unconstitutional laws to back-door socialism can only achieve a negative reaction from those of us who have sworn, before God, to defend the constitution.

    I suspect his efforts are best applied to encouraging his own state to adopt his preferred social model. I would also suggest that Robert, as I would urge most people, actually read the constitution so they can argue from an informed perspective.

    But, I suspect, I rant...

    -- jay

  11. Robert, Robert, Robert........

    Oh never mind.

    Why bother?


  12. i am at that point where i don't give a fig what those like robert think or do...i can do just about anything that i put my mind and muscle to as long as people like robert stay away from me and don't touch my junk-any of it. i do not need the interference of those who think that i need any thing or any help of any kind.i intend to do everything i can to keep my freedoms even if i have to get mean doing it.

  13. anon said...

    ....My own brother-in-law (who is a conservative) had his hours reduced, so he was eligible for unemployment. I told him about how many people are avoiding getting back to work, because of the extended unemployment benefits and who wants to work when you can get money for free, he had to agree with me and said,

    "I find myself doing just that. I haven't bothered looking for work and won't until the unemployment checks stop coming."

    He just may want to rethink that. I have read several articles now about employers that are hiring are not hiring those who are currently unemployed. This is a combined thing of the cost of unemployment insurance and the feeling that these long term unemployed are unproductive so not worth hiring. The longer he is not working the harder it will be for him. Unemployment will run out and more extensions are not likely.

  14. Homework assignment for anyone who believes that ANY government has the responsibility or the right to provide ANY sort of charity to anybody.

    Heartless? Ask about PRIVATE charity.

    We have nothing like laissez-faire capitalism in this country and have NOT had for generations.

    Our government has taken it upon itself to give that which is not theirs to give, to both individuals and businesses. The argument in Congress has not been for a very long time about whether to wrongly spend tax revenues, but which special interest will receive those funds.

    Do not sully the true Liberty of laissez-faire capitalism by calling anything like what we have today (or in living memory) laissez-faire capitalism!!

    Do I practice charity? YES! BUT, I am called to do so by the only Authority who has the right to order the affairs of man, AND government has made a point of not listening to Him.

  15. The one "Anonymous" said it perfectly: "Why bother?", indeed. The biggest difference between liberals and conservatives (although no liberal will ever admit it) is that conservatives have their minds open to reality and the lessons of history. Liberals NEVER LEARN from history. They keep trying the same thing, over and over, again and again, always insisting THIS time it will work! Since "it" will NEVER work, the only recourse the rich and powerful have to take over the world is by first brainwashing everyone. So far, they're doing a pretty good job of that, unfortunately. But the day will come sooner than we realize when all are finally judged by Christ. Then the arrogant know-it-all liberals will finally "get it." Of course, by then it will be too late, unless they are born-again Christians, that is. Although I don't think there are many born-again Christian liberals. But if there are, they will be forgiven and no doubt quite embarrassed by their hypocrisy and ignorance. The rest will march right into Hell with their eyes wide open, but their minds closed as tight as a drum. "Enter by the narrow gate, for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and many are those who enter by it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it." (Matthew 7: 13-14)

  16. Liberals are intellectually dishonest. That is to say, they will NEVER concede a point well made. They will NEVER admit to being wrong. They will NEVER acknowledge the right of each of us to live as WE choose, not as the government chooses for us. So, as A.McSp so profoundly said, "Why bother?" To try to reason with a liberal is to waste one's time and energy. Best to read what they say, but not give them a direct reply. Direct replies only enoourage them.

    To Anonymous 6:03pm I say, I am your sister in spirit, even if not in the flesh. Amen, brother!

    Anonymous Patriot

  17. Well..hmmm...this brings to mind a speech that was made by Davy Crockett in Congress back in the "old days" and which was quoted in Senator Tom Coburn's book, "Breach of Trust". If I may, I would like to quote it here. I am hoping Robert might get to see it. As a set up, the issue is whether Congress had the constitutional authority to a very politically popular act of charity of appropriating money to a naval officer's widow. Crockett said the following:

    "Mr. Speaker, I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this house, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right to appropriate a dollar of public money...We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and, if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

    No one could argue with him and the bill failed.

    Robert says that the people of the US can't possibly help those in need without the government. He is totally incorrect. The problem is that people like Robert aren't putting their money where their mouth is. Conservatives have routinely proved to be the most generous of givers to charity in this country. It CAN be done. Let's take a 'fer instance'. :-)

    -There are 307 million people in the US
    -Let's say that the poorest make up 20% of the population. That would leave a balance of 246 million.
    -The average income in the US is around $50000. Let's take out an average of 25% for taxes of all kinds. That leaves $38250.
    -Scripture encourages us to be charitable to the tune of a 10% tithe. For the sake of argument, I am going to apply that tithe to after taxes rather than before, just to show a smaller amount. 10% would be $3825.
    - If that balance of 246 million people each paid $3825 to charity as instructed, that would make a total of roughly $9.4 trillion!
    - Guess how much the government allocated in the budget for the Welfare programs? $395 billion. That's only around 1/4 of what the American people could raise themselves if liberals were as generous as conservatives.

    What Robert doesn't realize is that the government doesn't make a single penny to "donate" to charity by way of appropriation. The government TAKES money from the American people and then gives it to those it deems 'needy'. He said, "But it's a mistake think that they can provide for every one in need. In fact,they can't even come remotely close." Sorry. No cigar on that one!! I think I just proved that they can.

    I challenge Robert and his cronies to open their pocketbooks and show us how it's done!!

  18. To Robert, and any like minded individuals who are shaking their head in agreement, here's a thought, No matter what, people will fall through the cracks!!' It's not the governments job to look for those in need and help them back on their feet, it's the job of the local communities! If we all just assume we'll get a hand out from a government program whenever we're dealt a bad hand, we completely miss out on the experience of your neighbors reaching out to support you. And then in turn, to be the to lend a hand when you see someone else that's in an unfortunate situation. The more we take that expectation and responsibility away from people, the less social we become and then what?!!! What are we all doing here?! Are we just all here to drive to our corporate jobs in our luxury cars, to drive back home, park in the garage, pop a meal in the microwave and turn on the TV?! And when we find out our job has been terminated, we just call up Big Brother for help? How is that LIVING? Call me simplistic... and thank you, if you do. The government is there for good reasons, but not to replace our need for community.
    And I know what it's like to be unemployed, without health care, and seriously ill at one point. And guess who was there? My community and my family. I didn't even need a government program.

  19. Robert is quite obviously NOT a business owner LOL

    People are being brain washed into an entitlement mentality.

    With all of this unemployment and all of these hard times it is still next to impossible to find anyone with any semblance of a work ethic.

    My contractor husband FINALLY found someone this year that comes to work everyday, rain or shine, doesn't drink his paycheck, can speak English, passed a urine test/background check and doesn't have the police looking for him. The average contractor wage here is $30.00 per hour. No lie.

  20. Paul in the Bible said " if a man will not work he should not eat." We do have an obligation to do all we can to support ourselves ( I work 2 jobs totaling 65 hours a week) and when the circumstances of life strike people who are doing all they can but still have a need, it is the great people of America, our neighbors, the people we go to church with, etc... who have and will continue to reach out and take care of those in need. This is how it was done before the government was allowed to take over this task in the last 70 years and it is the time to take it back. Charity, freely given from a heart of compassion, and not forcefully taken by a government entity who mismanages our money and gives it to people and organizations we would never support. As this mission to take back our country politically and morally continues, my prayer is that we all will look around us and help those in true need as we have the ability. Knowing that we would hope for the same if we were to need it. And to thank God for the blessings of family, health, freedom, and to live in America!

    Steve from NC

  21. Gosh, Patrice --
    "Everyone was issued a parcel of land." Sounds awfully like socialism to 'me'. If some authoritarian office (conservative, no doubt) would issue 'me' "a parcel of land", maybe I could get off welfare. As it is, if I take a job at minimum wage, I can work for the next forty years to buy bows for Paris Hilton's (the rich are staunch conservatives.... go figger) chihuahuas. There was an experiment in urban agriculture in Detroit for unwed, mostly black high school student mothers. I listened to an interview of a giggly seventeen-year-old with a toddler son enthuse about her garden labor in the program and the healthful food she was able to feed her child. (A happy, giggly, hopeful, black, entrenched-urban-poverty child-with-a-child! Have you ever heard the former three adjectives paired with the latter two before?) She said she hoped (hoped!) to have her own little farm. How likely do you think that will be after she graduates from high school and the publicly funded program she attends -- and has to take a job clerking at a convenience store, where of course, if she works hard -- she'll have to regularly draw from a food bank to make it to the end of each pay period? (And she can just effing FORGET about fresh raspberries for the kid....) This is a true (endemic) story of the American dream.
    Studies have shown that when third-world slum squatters are given title to the hovels in which they live, within weeks, community groups form to dig drains and latrines and to patrol/protect the community; rough flower plots and curtains appear. No other change in their status at all -- landowners. In Indonesia, slum squatters in Jakarta have at intervals been transported to remote areas of the archipelago and given land, tools, seeds, and a cow. The number who return to 'better their lot' in the city, having once had the experience, is vanishingly small.
    It's inconceivable that the poor in America will ever be similarly "issued a parcel of land", (your own words) -- because wage-slavery is what capitalism is all about. So I vote for plane tickets to Indonesia for all American takers, living in what you call the "free" slums of capitalism.
    (I also reject categorically that anyone who lives by Christian precepts can succeed in a capitalist society, but that's another argument entirely.)

    Sign me: Unwilling-to-Work-to-Pay-for-Paris-Hilton's-Chihuahua's-Bows

  22. Feeding rats only leads to more rats. I prefer chihuahuas to rats. End entitlements before they end America.

    Anonymous Patriot

  23. Political correctness kills and it is killing our nation. The 'progressive policies' demonstrated at the airports with unconstitutional search. On the border there is No protection for the citizenry by allowing our nation to be invaded by illegals and terrorists. By the amateur hour czars and politicians driving the car very close to the edge of the cliff. The stripping of our armed forces of needed weapons and a sensible rule of engagement, being lead by a inept and gutless commander in chief so vilified by our soldiers it makes the disgust they had for Clinton look like a love affair. Progressive thinking and progressives need to go and go quickly while we can still salvage this liberal wreck of a nation. if we do not succeed than god help us all.

  24. It's too late, socialism has already come to America and it's in the form of Corporate Welfare. We spend more taxpayer dollars on corporate tax breaks and handouts than we do on our own citizenry. Our country spends HALF of the national budget on WAR in other countries. That means half of every dollar you pay in taxes goes directly into the pockets of the private contractors (Bechtel, Halliburton, Boeing) overseas who are waging senseless wars that kill innocent women and children. But of course, you will never see pictures of defenseless schoolchildren maimed and killed inside of a school house that's been reduced to rubble on Glen Beck's show.

    What happened to the days when we abhorred war and realized that it could never solve any of our problems? Why do we complacently have our pocketbooks emptied by our government in order to pay wars that maim and kill innocent people, when the money could instead be used to help so many destitute people in our own country?