Why Am I Conservative?

I think my answer is a simple one. I have worked in government and my former spouse and current one also. I have worked as a convener of Government organizations at every level and I understand it well. I do not believe that bigger government is the best course for democracy. I believe government’s highest priority is to keep its citizens safe and free. Not attempting to elevate everyone to the same level but just allowing them all the same opportunity. 

Historically the Democratic Party has vastly weakened those people it traps with benefits. ie welfare, & unions. The great welfare state perpetuated by LBJ and the dems was the worst thing that government could do to try and elevate the have not’s to haves. It disincented family life and responsibility and mired the recipients into decades of dependency and slums (affordable housing). It encouraged fraud and sloth and is as un-American as is possible. People just gave up working for welfare.

And the dems just kept making it worse and trolling for votes in their captive populations wanting to expand programs with general revenue that allowed for the spirit of ingenuity to disappear and hope to boil into rage and riots.

Unions that once served a purpose devolved into the same snake pit trapping workers into dead end careers as they eliminated competitive wage and work, incenting companies to go off shore or to recruit foreign manufacturing that was not mired in union dysfunction.  

As the liberals got more mired in the lack of incenting pride and accomplishment the mainstream media widely applauded their foibles as doing the right thing, after all can there be too much of a “good thing?”

I saw it first hand. I sat in the government meetings and listened to the rhetoric that was all about vote’s not good public policy. “Don’t reporters have to be liberal to be balanced?” When the media sells lies to the public and bombards them with (not even half truths) their service to the country suffers, and America’s spirits weaken. Industriousness sits without practice as we wait for someone to do for us.

You can see it in the sports leagues with the kids and parental interaction. There was little if any participation of welfare children in the competitive leagues (that I saw over 20 years) that help to build character and teach team work to the youth. As an example, the league that developed Doc Gooden was once a model program, a source of community pride, and the dads got out to the park and worked with the kids providing role models and sparking true hope and desire. That league disappeared with the proliferation of public welfare. It was sad to see.   

Did we learn from the debacle of welfare, is it changing? Yes! And for a short while I was encouraged. Now I am afraid we will march back down that road, just paint the tapestry with different brushes.

That is why I became conservative, I worked for what I got and I taught my kids the value of a work ethic and they all saw first hand that government feeding was not the way to go. Business folks will work hard to address problems and foster the spirit of ingenuity and incent family values. It is in the best interest of a free society to have health and happy workers that talk of family values and keep hope and love alive.

Is either system perfect? Obviously not! I am angrier with years of corporate corruption than I can say but it is clearly both parties who shoulder the blame for allowing unchecked greed to dictate the sorry course that led us to where we are today. And it was a small percentage of thieves that took advantage of those of us who should have caught them. Democracy allows for good and evil to co exist and so it does. On a more universal scale good and evil are world wide. Humanity needs collective policing but not welfare.


11 Responses

  1. Well said.

    Interestingly, I agree with you on many points. Instead of the welfare programs we have now, I’d prefer (and I think it was Nixon, of all folks, who first suggested this) a flat payment of cash equivalent to the value of the welfare programs. Welfare just allows folks to continue in place and creates disincentives to get out of welfare.

    It is the Puritan “morality” side of welfare that prevents cash payments, i think. The idea that most folks will waste / abuse that cash. Maybe, but that is the individual choice issue.

    I also abhor the liberal attempts to make everyone feel / believe they are special regardless of whether they simply perform adequately or, worse, are pathetic. Just for the ‘self-esteem.” There’s way too many folks walking around with the attitude that they are so special when they have little to commend them.
    As to the “votes” over “good public policy” well..that’s the way the system works. It was not originally designed that way since the vote was very restricted. But once we opened the vote up to anyone who could walk into a voting booth….of course politicians will pander.

    So despite my agreement with you on those big issues, for some reason I am not a conservative. Or a liberal.

    I vote Democratic because I believe they are more likely to promote my socially liberal views, such as gambling, drugs, etc. whereas I believe the GOP wants to tell me what I cannot do in these areas because it offends their religious views (I think, but it doesn’t matter why they oppose these things).

    Personally, I’d accept a “philosopher-king” as in The Republic…*if* I can vote on that person and make sure the “unqualified” cannot vote. But since that won’t happen…I’m an anarchist! 😉

    As long as there is universal suffrage, we can never have a
    government based on “good public policy” because to win office candidates must pander to the lowest denominator.

    Just look at these tax dodgers Obama nominated…! I think some conservatives believe there was a time when government was not full of corruption and self-interest but I don’t think history will bear that out. It was just more hidden, I think.

    I think we are both disgusted with the state of society. You express that by being a conservative. I express it another way….

    As long as we’re happy, that’s what counts. I may rant on some of my posts, but I sleep well at night. My life is in order, and that’s what counts because that is all I can control.

    I’ll look to you for tips on the good and not so good of retirement….but everyone I know who retired has never regretted it.

  2. Nice post. I don’t like the vicious cycle of welfare either. The worst example being the projects in New Orleans during Katrina. A lot of thos people thought those homes were their birthright.

    Bit on the other hand, for a long time, a certain set of people were not given the equal opportunity to achieve the American Dream. So some type of hand up programs have help to level the playing field.

  3. “It is the Puritan “morality” side of welfare that prevents cash payments, i think. The idea that most folks will waste / abuse that cash. Maybe, but that is the individual choice issue. ”

    Whats funny about that is that there is a cash black market for welfare, even the cards can be sold. So folks still get cash to feed their vices.

    There are a few good guys/gals in politics. I know one that I admire greatly. Adam Putnam R Lakeland. Adam was house leader and stepped down so he could get away from the partisan politics and really work across the aisle. Then, upon re-elction, announced he would seek the Florida Commissioner of Agriculture post (obviously tired of Washington).

    So far I have nothing to tip you about retirement. Except my bucket list just keeps growing.

  4. “Nice post. I don’t like the vicious cycle of welfare either. The worst example being the projects in New Orleans during Katrina. A lot of thos people thought those homes were their birthright.”

    ee I followed Noleans from the get go. It was clear that Katrina had the potential to devestate the population. Everyone in leadership falied to do their jobs. Years, decades really, of lack of action all became visible like the layers of an onion being peeled back. The population of Noleans were stupid too, but being stupid is not a reason to die from benign neglect. The Govenor should have declared marshal law and mobilized the National guard to get them out of there. WIth necessary force.

    The “entitlement mentality” they demonstrated was a bi product of social policies that enabled it. We gotta get past that and allow everyone a chance to live by their ability to do so. IMHO.

    It takes families to do that not governments. Families are the ones who are supposed to care for their own.

  5. This is an amazing and very thoughtful post, and it would take me years to comment on all its points! But let’s start with “safe and free”. I totally agree. I agree about welfare and unions. I agree about work ethic. In my case, “work ethic” is not a choice. It’s work or starve.
    Interestingly enough, I too worked for state government for 8 years (not in Florida) and have seen firsthand the waste and fraud. When I lived in Louisiana, I had an employee who knew the exact dollar and cents amount you got from ADC per child, which was capped at four children. The women in her neighborhood therefore aspired to having 4 children. China’s one-child policy doesn’t look so bad now…
    BUT. It is a matter of government priorities. I’d like to see it be bigger. I’d like more CIA and FBI agents who can speak Arabic. I’d like more FDA inspectors.
    What you may call entitlements, I call the responsibility of a civilized society to take care of the helpless, which includes children, the sick, and the elderly.
    Your reliance on families, while it may be the ideal, is an unrealistic dream. If I had to rely on my family I would have starved already.
    And it wasn’t LBJ…it was FDR if you want to point fingers at entitlements. What we have had in spades for the last 8 years is plutocracy. Entitlement of the already rich and entitled. Everybody else be damned. Let them pull themselves up by their nonexistent bootstraps. Work ethic, intelligence–who cares? Opportunity has been a myth. Marie Antoinette was guillotined for this Let Them Eat Cake attitude.

  6. FN, FN (sigh) this may seem harsh, and it is not intended to that end. So far our government HAS kept us free from foreign police and military control. Yes we are “dependent” but we are free as citizens to make our choices. We all make them and we all live by those choices. While we can not choose the families we are born into, we do make life choices about family as we walk through life. And at life’s end those choices have a way of catching up with us.

    I do not admire a culture that depends on government to correct for unfortunate choices along life’s route. I do not think we can make the fiscal distinction between misfortune and sloth (I’m sure of it) so that judgment and eligibility then become subjective and susceptible to the same kind of fraud I have witnessed in food stamp offices, and job training centers and the resulting welfare entitlement culture.

    There are elements in our current culture which celebrate ignorance and idleness as a clever way of life and ridicule those who choose to work and build strong support groups (families). Many of these carry confederate flags and support the Klan and other similar hate groups. How would you disincent supporting this kind of anti inclusive mind set in your system? How would you even know? Would you ask them questions or do you think they have a right to government support?

    One of the biggest deterrents we tout is our corrections systems, just look at the cost to your taxes that goes to support this population I think it may be my best example of why government just can’t make Solomon kind of decisions for its citizens. Prohibition is another example of making the criminals wealthy through social legislation.

    I firmly believe in family as a viable component in a strong culture and that our leaders should beheld accountable for not undermining the opportunity for families to thrive through their own vision and determination. I have seen many many examples of immigrants who came to this country at the bottom of the pyramid and I listened to their stories and watched as they lived 2 families to the house and all worked 2 jobs far below their educational attainment so that their kids could have the education to rise to the professional level and then take care of their aging parents. They valued the opportunity they found here that they did not have in their own repressive government controlled society.

    As Walt Kelly says “we have seen the enemy and it is us.” To me family is everything in life. And I have made many difficult decisions that support the family unit from cradle to grave. But since I am not at the grave yet I may yet find out that I am wrong.

  7. “I do not think we can make the fiscal distinction between misfortune and sloth”. And therein lies the problem. In order to help the unfortunate, we end up helping the slothful. But would you advocate dumping the unfortunate just so we don’t inadvertently help a fraud? This is sort of the problem with the bailout. In order to save the rest of us, we have to hold our noses and help the people who got us into the mess to start with.

  8. “But would you advocate dumping the unfortunate just so we don’t inadvertently help a fraud?”

    My philosophy remains to incent family responsibility and the conservative approach is more likely to consider that a core part of their philosophy. Government can not be held accountable for personal circumstances for all citizens. We must each contribute somehow to our own support. Setting up systems to bypass that core part of my thinking is never something I would support. I understand the blame game and have posted on it.

    I suspect as we move forward we will see new and extensive social programs housed under the bail out.

    People have to work! Or be damn lucky, and if they are lucky then more power to them. The sad reality of humanity is that some will always fall through the cracks. There is no perfect government, for government is people who are imperfect. Like wall street and the “25.”

  9. > People have to work!

    OK, having said that, what is your position on extending unemployment benefits? Loys of folks want to work but there are not enough jobs.

    My position id NOT to extend the unemployment benefits. if X weeks was good enough when unemployment was “low”, why extend just because there is “higher” unemployment? Because once you start changing programs based on numbers, then there is no consistent policy.

    That is why I opposed the financial bailout. The “magnitude” of the problem does not logically lead to a change in policy. But a lot of folks believe that. Which means they have no consistent philosophy.

    The fact is, when folks are down they want government to help them. When they are riding high, they say that government doesn’t need to help folks.

  10. There is historical precedent for limited benefits extensions. And Florida is a “debtor” state anyway getting back less than the dollar they send to the feds so for us to get extra money in our economy is actually a good thing.

    Here is a quote I just found by accident that I like a lot. I will admit that its author was a baptist minister who I would have lots of “issues” with but this particular quote is in essence at the core of my conservative crede.

    “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation.”

    Dr Adrian Rogers

  11. Hmmm…that Dr. Rogers sounds like an anarchist!

    Seriously, there are some presumptions there that I’d not completely agree with. Such as that all, or even most, folks receiving “welfare” are not interested in getting off of it. I’m sure there is such an element; hard to know how large it is.

    So I agree with Fakename that we shouldn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Which is why I’d limit the assistance regardless of what the economic situation is.

    The issue boils down to: people create government; what they want is what they’ll get, whether or not that is wise, fair, etc.

    Yesterday, when folks were riding high on a mirage, the vox populi was: let those lazy bums starve. Then, when the bubble bursts and they are facing starvation because they took out home equity loans for a large screen TV, vacation, etc. and also got laid off, the tune changes to: government has to help me! And when the majority says that, then government will respond.

    It’s always the other guy who screwed up and must accept accountability. Few will admit to their own accountability and accept the results.

    I’ve accepted that reality. A reality I’d rather not dwell on.
    More bread and circus!

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