I used to say (in fact I still say, when I’m being simplistic) that liberals think with their hearts while conservatives think with their brains. I devised this explanation back when I didn’t follow politics very closely. I wasn’t then (and may not be now) a deep political thinker, and I needed a quick test to figure out if someone speaking was liberal or conservative. Simplistic or no, it has served me well. And I’ve found that I am almost always on the side of the head-thinkers.
When I first began blogging back in 2002, I wrote the occasional politically-themed post. I tossed around the terms liberal, conservative, Democrat and Republican without much consideration for their actual meaning. And now, I’ve set out a few words to explain what I, personally, mean when I use the term “liberals.” These are the things I think liberals believe, based on what I hear them talking about and based on my observations of the political and economic system they have helped create in America.
1. Above all, liberals abhor economic success unless it is evenly distributed. They are consumed with envy when others achieve it, they are consumed with guilt when they achieve it, they pity people who do not achieve it, and they think that those who do achieve it should be taxed until they choke so it can be handed over to those who didn’t.
2. Because they hate uneven economic success, they hate the American economic system that rewards people who work hard and become successful. They spend their lives seeking new ways to tax, fine and legislate away the earnings of those who earn so it can be redistributed among those who don’t.
3. Their dream of economic parity, of course, is a Catch-22: it’s based on the continued existence of a pitiable, under-dog class which would be eliminated if their policies actually succeeded, which would of course render their own party obsolete. Therefore, they constantly walk a fine line to ensure that there will always be an under-dog class from which to ensure their own relevance.
4. They believe that the federal government can and should manage things better than “the people.” (Unless of course it’s a conservative government.) They further believe that we can make huge problems go away by legislating them. But laws do not make problems go away – criminals still own guns, people still drive drunk, bullies still roam the schoolyards, all despite very tersely written legislation.
Of course, I recognize that these principles may not immediately be perceived by everyone – by anyone – as bad. What’s so wrong with equality of opportunity, with sharing wealth, with providing for those who suffer setbacks in their quest for self-sufficiency or who truly cannot provide for themselves by virtue of uncontrollable circumstances?
Well, nothing. Equality, sharing and giving those in need a hand up are obviously not inherently bad principles. Conservatives, in fact, also embrace those principles. In the hands of liberals, though, these noble principles spiral out of control. Where conservatives expect the hand-outs to stop if and when the recipient can again stand alone, liberals simply continue the program as if the money supply is never-ending. Instead of putting recipients on a more stable footing, decades of these hand-outs (and increased taxation to pay for them) have created generations of people who know no other way than to seek the next entitlement.
We have not lifted people suffering temporary set-backs into lasting self-sufficiency with these programs. We have only increased the number of aid programs, and the number of people seeking aid.
Suffice to say I do not support programs that have merely served to create generation upon generation of hopelessly dependent people – people who are, by design, supposed to be free.
I do support self-sufficiency. I believe people deserve to choose their own path in life and live well – or not – based on those choices. I believe that this is called liberty. And I believe it’s what America stands for.
Editor’s note: I found this post in an archive of saved posts from past blogs, but there was no reference as to when it first appeared. So we’ll call it 2007, since the 2008 election cycle saw a significant uptick in my polit-blogging efforts.