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Friday, August 20, 2010

Towards an Activist Conservatism

The common stereotypes of liberals and conservatives are that liberals have no brains, and conservatives no hearts. To some extent, these are true.

Of course, I can immediately think of a thousand exceptions to each generalization. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, for example, was a brilliant liberal. And Barry Goldwater was a radical conservative with miles of heart. Some of my liberal friends are geniuses. Many of my Republican cohorts are close to bleeding hearts, like me.

You Can Thrash the Hell Out of Me In a Comment Here

I want to Concentrate on Present-Day Conservatives

They have no


as evidenced by their immoral stand on opposing the extension of unemployment benefits for the nation’s victims of our recession (Depression). For example, one of my heroes, Rush Limbaugh, is positively bare-knuckle Darwinian on this issue, even Roman sadistic. He can spend half a broadcast attacking Obama because he has created a near collapse of the economy, with it being nearly impossible to find a job. Then, he literally laughs at the unemployed, calling them lazy freeloaders.

Of course, he let it slip on his radio show one day when I was listening, that when he was unemployed, he lived off his parents for an extended period of time. Lazy, good-for-nothing hobo! Much like Beck, who was surviving unemployed as a drunk in the back of his car. I guess sleeping in that vehicle was the origin of Beck’s paranoia.

Sometimes the often-brilliant Rushbo doesn’t have a brain. He’s had a stroke that day, or year, in the compassion area, and also in the logic region of his cortex. You can’t have it both ways, Rush. Either anyone can find a job if they look hard enough, or the economy is so bad that many simply cannot obtain employment. Which is it?

Plus, I contend, that among the unemployed are many over 50, who have the hardest time getting rehired, the marginally sick, the marginally retarded, and the socially challenged. And, surprise surprise, there are thousands with advanced degrees who can't find work, and other "over-qualifieds." All of whom continue to desperately try for new jobs, but who face the mountain of competing with younger, healthier, more- or less-qualified (you heard me) applicants who outnumber them 5 to 1. Add to this the fact that employers hesitate to hire the long-term unemployed. It's literally a jungle out there. Republicans, like Rush, don’t have a brain on this issue, and no heart.

I’m for an Active Conservatism

Some of my beliefs are:

Republicans, Now and Forever

need to fight for the rights and well being of every American. They should not foster dependence on government handouts, but they can actively pursue market-based solutions for all the problems that bother society.


For example, conservatives ought to actively pursue and promote market-based solutions to homelessness. Instead of just saying “Lower taxes and the market will take care of it,” they need to go a thousand steps further, and develop capitalistic solutions for this blight. Yes, I agree, some people will wind up back in the streets no matter what society does for them, but that doesn’t apply to everyone.

Christmas for Depression Era Homeless

Give a Man a Fish

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
                                                                             Chinese Proverb

Sermon on the Mount
This saying is oh so true. Republicans believe in the first part. They cheer snatching away the fish, even from all the people at the Sermon on the Mount. I think that’s okay, notwithstanding Jesus’ opposite example. (Yes, he GAVE people fish.)

What I disagree with, regarding Republicans, is they also absolutely neglect the second part of the adage. They don’t believe in teaching a man/woman to fish. They desire, rather, a do-or-die Darwinian survival of the fittest. The industrious, they know, will survive. The rest, who cares?

My problem with this is, yes, Darwinism does focus the minds of the underachievers—but among them, again, are the old, the ugly, the socially inept, and even hard-working capitalists who’ve bet on the wrong idea.

Teach These People to Fish, for God’s Sake!

Give them a time-limited opportunity to get back into the current of life. Don’t instruct them to swim by throwing them into the rapids, where they must struggle to breathe, let alone fish.

If you’re really going to be smart, give the woman a fish, a fishing rod, a manual, and a guide. She’ll soon be a fisherwoman if she has the talent, and then she can be a guide. By the way, this is what the rich do for their offspring all the time.

Don't Fall In While You Fish Here

What is Missing, Is Another Capitalistic Ideal, Investment

Republicans believe in “investment” in small businesses, new issues in the stock market, loans to new enterprises, lending for companies to meet their payrolls … but not in investment in individuals, in people during hard times, nor even in capitalists who’ve failed and want to try again. They believe in deficit spending for war, for people buying homes with mortgages, and for going to university. They do not love deficit spending for other worthwhile things, like keeping Grandma from begging on a street corner.

Unemployment Benefits

I do argue that extending unemployment benefits is an investment. It is not welfare. These people have been working all their adult lives, many of them successfully, paying taxes, and into the unemployment insurance program. It is insurance, not a handout. It is also an investment. Millions of these on unemployment now will go on to create their own businesses, find new jobs, and become sources of tax revenues in the future, helping the next group of unfortunates.

And, those who will never recover, who will forever remain unemployed, at least will get some time on this Earth without worry. They will be able to pay their bills, buy food, and keep their house or rental. This is an act of charity. So what? Aren’t Republicans proud of their charitable giving? It is not a sin to give people fish. It is also not a sin to help them learn to fish.

Republicans are Characterized as the Party of No

Because, at this moment in time, they are. This needn’t be the case.

They must get off their butts and come up with solutions to society’s difficult problems. Their ideas ought to be business friendly, deficit neutral, tax cutting, and revenue enhancing, but the market alone will not take care of everything. The market requires help from the ingenuity of hard-working, brilliant people with good values.

The welfare state, and socialism, are definitely not the answers. But neither is pure economic Darwinism. I propose an activist conservatism, and yes, a passionate conservatism, hard-nosed but full of heart.

Your Comments are Welcome Here

Have a great day!


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Elaine said...

Great post! As one of those long term unemployment and also in the over 50 category, we need jobs. Sure, we're told that jobs were created, but they were mostly government jobs. Does anyone know how to write an effective KSA to obtain one of those jobs? Where are the Main Street jobs?

Rush & Beck should be ashamed of themselves for calling us "lazy". I have also heard the words "freeloaders", "just sitting around for a handout", and "spoiled". We, the unemployed, are none of those.

We've worked hard all of our lives and enjoyed it. We want to work again!

Rock said...

Thanks for your comment, Elaine. Very perceptive on all counts. I agree with you too. Indeed, Rush, Beck, and many more Republican talk-show hosts, and Congresspersons, should be ashamed of themselves for their stance on this issue.

That kind of arrogance can cost them votes. I know it has mine.

Brenda said...

I am not a defender of Republicans, as they have as much to answer for as Democrats on a lot of issues. I am like most people, somewhere in the middle, but definitely with conservative leanings. I don't listen to Rush, and I have watched Beck only a handful of times. I think it is a mistake to judge Republicans solely on what any of the self-appointed talking heads spout on a daily basis. I'm sure Democrats, for the most part, don't want to be judged for whatever venom Janeane Garofalo or Keith Olbermann is spewing today either.

As for the extension of unemployment benefits, I did a little checking, because I was puzzled and disturbed as to why Republicans had taken a stance against that bill. A few online sources indicated the Republicans were mainly concerned about how the bill was going to be paid for and, additionally, there were apparently some other unrelated things in the bill they wanted removed. I haven't been able to nail down what those other things were. To do that, I suppose one would have to read the entire bill.

Just my two cents but, with all the deals in play behind the scenes in D.C., things are rarely as simple as they may look to us.

Brenda said...

One more thing, my husband is a disabled military veteran, and he has applied for countless government jobs. Over the last year, he has been found to be well-qualified for several jobs, but he has received exactly one job offer. Unfortunately, that job was about 1000 miles away, with no relocation assistance, and in a remote area with limited medical facilities, so he had to turn it down.

Rock said...

Thanks, Brenda, for your intelligent response. I think all the points you made are valid.

As you know, I am conservative, and even a fan of Rush, and willing to hear Beck sometimes. But Rush is wrong on this issue and he speaks on it with the same mind as most Republican leaders. They, in my opinion, have chosen to draw the line in the sand now with this issue, but not with others.

The simplification of the issue rests with them.

As far as Dems throwing in other stuff with the bill, yes, I agree. If you've read my Tweets, you know I've been very hard on Pelosi and Reid about this. The whole issue should not have been used as a political football by either party.

Thanks for commenting. :)

Elaine said...

And all this time I thought Rush said he was moving to Costa Rica - when does he leave?

Brenda, there are many ways the full unemployment bill (HR 4213 & HR5618) could have been paid for. They wouldn't have been looking for ways had they read other bills in years past and voted them down. I'm investigating one way, more on that when I have answers. Without looking, on or about June 16, I blogged about what was said on CSPAN about "finding $$". It was Sen Tom Coburn (R-OK) who presented many ways, including collecting millions of dollars in unpaid income taxes from Federal employees.

Rock said...

I still think this is a red herring. Never has Congress insisted on paying for unemployment extensions when the unemployment rate was so high. It's been thought of as emergency spending. Plus, Repubs have passed several bills this year that are unfunded. Why suddenly do they get "religion" on this issue? It's politics, and on the backs of the unemployed.

But I do appreciate both of your comments, as they add to the understanding of the issue as a whole.

Unknown said...

Hey I like most of your post, but your comment about choosing sides on behalf of Israel and against all tyranny would be hilarious if you didn't actually believe it. That comment shows you are CLUELESS about the reality in the Middle East.

I'm not saying this to be mean, but dude, please start researching the Middle East history and reality outside Fox News and the rest of the corporate media.

Go rent the movie the Lemon Tree, for starters, and get a clue.

Israel is the biggest tyrant in the region, and they do it with our tax money and what part of that is okay with you?

Every single time there is conflict, Israel inflicts 10 times the damages it suffers.

Your comment of siding with Israel as though they aren't a tyrant is similar to saying Adolf Hitler was a humanitarian. Please, please dude, wake the f up.

Rock said...

I lived in the Middle East and know the parties. Israel is entirely innocent, and the Palestinians are the villains there.

Rock said...

Well, my attempt to leave Comment Moderation off just ended. Oh, well, human nature... what can you do? :)

IceMama said...

Rock, you hit the nail on the head. I cringe when i hear our conservative "friends" opine that "anyone can get a job." It was the middle-aged, middle-management (read well-paid) employee that was handed pink slips 18 mo. ago. I was one of those. I've been to state-sponsored job seminars and it is "us" that are filling the chairs. Well-dressed professionals that come prepared with notebooks, laptops, resumes, self-made business cards. I've been to cattle call interviews where I'm old enough to be "the mom." My credentials and qualifications are excellent. I'm even told I'm at the top of the list.
But when I talk to the recruiter, invariably they've chosen someone younger.
I apply for at least two jobs per week.
Luckily I can freelance and write two or three stories a week for the local paper. It's not much money, but shows activity where there would be a gaping hole in my resume.
You're right my friend. As much as I like listening to Beck and Rush, sometimes they are just out of touch with the common man and the problem at hand.

Anonymous said...

Distress ferments the humors, casts them into their proper channels, throws off redundancies, and helps nature in those secret distributions, without which the fuselage cannot subsist in its vigor, nor the soul act with cheerfulness.

Rock said...

Anonymous, I have no idea what your comment means. Add to this that you don't post with your ID, makes me think this is not a comment centered in a desire to communicate positively. Nonetheless, since I might be wrong, and it might be an honest reaction to something, I'll let it be posted.

Rock said...

IceMama, Kathy, I totally empathize with your situation and I salute your struggle to make it in this tough environment. I thank you for taking the time to comment, and agree with everything you said.

We're in a new age, and will have to find our place as older and creative people. I pray we succeed, and wish you well!

Gladaman said...

I don't think a nation can reach it's full potential if many of it's citizens are left behind. I don't believe that the promise of democracy & freedom is realized if economic disparity & different learning styles are ignored. In a dog eat god, survival of the fittest we are taken back to pre-civilization times. All that we have gained is from different people respecting each-others different role in society. Everyone doesn't have to be a warrior. Everyone doesn't have to be a scientist. Civilization is not only based on working with others but requires that we know, understand and build on the thoughts and achievements of past generations. This world is killing innovation, creativity, artists & humanity generally. Soon all that will be left are the morally, intellectually, creatively, bankrupt wealthy few being served & entertained by machines. Civilization can't continue to exist & progress with the contributions of all it's members. Democracy is a farce it many of the members of society cannot pursue happiness with any hope of success. Think of all the potential artists, scientists, innovators, statesmen, etc. who we never benefit from because their contributions didn't fit into the narrow accepted paradigm. Society & government need a more human face because we aren't a bunch of machines. I pray for a more just society.

John said...

About the Limbaugh Comments and so on and so forth---is it interesting to anyone but me that the latest statistics have shown a decline in listenership on some of the larger and more iconic Right Wing Radio Talk Shows-- as much as 28 per cent on one and 33 per cent on another? Is it possible that America is getting tired of vitriolic rhetoric and desires a return to more "Tolerant" times in politics?

Rock said...

John, how interesting. I didn't know this. I'd be interested in knowing which hosts had such drops in their ratings. Could be Beck I'm sure. What about Limbaugh? Got a link?

I don't think the issue is necessarily just tolerance, but also truth. I am very against orthodoxy in politics. The fervent believers bend everything to their viewpoint. Like, Obama is always bad, and so on. Plus, as I've said, I can predict every word out of Rush's, Elder's, and Hannity's mouth, before they even speak. Because I know they will attack everything Obama says, and try and run down our economy to un-elect Obama next time.

Far more interesting are the more moderate voices, as you suggest, but they are also more open-minded. Prager and Medved, for example, at least can talk with progressives while respecting them and not imposing a total world view.

Unknown said...

Democratas e republicanos...tão diferentes,tão iguais!!!é assim em quase todo mundo com as mais diversas ideologias partidárias.No meu entender,o mundo precisa é da VERDADE...como tu dizes e bem.

Krajeck said...

Thanks for your comment, Elaine. Very perceptive on all counts. I agree with you too. Indeed, Rush, Beck, and many more Republican talk-show hosts, and Congresspersons, should be ashamed of themselves for their stance on this issue. That kind of arrogance can cost them votes. I know it has mine.

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