Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Conservative Concern for the Poor

Arthur Brooks, he that wrote about conservatives giving more to charity than liberals, is chiding conservatives for not caring enough about the poor.
An April YouGov.com poll—which mirrored every other poll on the subject—found that only 33% of Americans said that Mitt Romney "cares about people like me." Only 38% said he cared about the poor.

Conservatives rightly complain that this perception was inflamed by President Obama's class-warfare campaign theme. But perception is political reality, and over the decades many Americans have become convinced that conservatives care only about the rich and powerful.
So what should conservatives do to change perceptions?  Well, writes Brooks, for a start they should emphasize that out of control Social Security and Medicare is "imperils the social safety net for the neediest citizens."  Never mind the teachers' unions: the problem with education is that "poor children and their parents deserve better schools."

Well, yeah!  That's what conservatives are always trying to say.  The problem is that nobody wants to hear it.  And why is that?  Well, the big thing is that your average middle-class grandma says that "they" had better not touch "her" Medicare.  Then in the next breath she worries about health care for the poor.  And on education, your average soccer mom cares only about the special program that her Asbergers kid qualifies for.  What politician wants to mess with that?

The problem is that, at every turn, Democrats manage to demagogue conservatives onto the defensive, by recklessly promoting more "free stuff."  You can understand that the poor like "free stuff."  When you don't have very much, then you won't foolishly look a gift horse in the mouth.  But we middle-class entitlement beneficiaries are the problem.   It's our addiction to free stuff that legitimizes big government and its waste and injustice.  Worst of all was that obviously middle-class young woman that baited Mitt Romney in the 2012 campaign:
“You’re all for like ‘yay freedom and all this stuff and yay pursuit of happiness,’” the student said. “You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”
If you want to know what our big problem is, it's right there.

And that's why I say that we can't fix the problem until we are going over the rapids.  Because only then will the allure of "free stuff" finally lose its luster.

There is another way.  It is called religion.  While politics has always offered free stuff to its supporters, religion has been the human way of getting people to be social rather than selfish, to ask first "what am I giving" rather than "what am I getting."

Because the only way you can deal with the young woman that wants her free stuff is by shaming her.  The way that liberals shame conservatives about their lack of concern for the poor.

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