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Caring Conservatism

  1. Apr 18, 2003 #1
    Is caring conservatism possible or even desirable? I think the liberals have the areas of care and compassion pretty much stitched up and unassailable from the conservatives.

    I wonder if the conservatives out there can put together a strong argument for an economic and political system with minimal government interference which would do a good job of housing the poor, providing good education and jobs for those without a lot of money, which would combat racism, provide high quality health care at an affordable rate, and do something to restore hope to deprived and depressed urban and rural areas. Is it possible?

    Conservatism has its strengths and we are all aware of them, but care and compassion are its weaknesses. It's a philosophy for the already rich, those born with opportunities and endless possibilities. It doesn't seem to offer the poor very much other than a one in a zillion chance of becoming the next Michael Jordan.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2003 #2
    Shhhh...don't let the cat out of the bag, that conservatism is only for rich people!
  4. Apr 18, 2003 #3
    thats only in the cities Zero, out in the boondocks we have dirt poor conservatives running rampant chanting jingoisms that were burned into their heads from watching FoxNews while swilling keystone lights and waiting to see their cousins big day on Jerry Springer; it is downright freaky.

    oh and to answer the question, sure you can. although some people here would probably argue with me to no end on this, when it comes down to it i am rather conservative actually. well i am in my personal life anyway, but i am also very anti-authoritarian in the sense that i don't see why my own opionins, or anyone else's for that matter, should apply to others; hence, i am a compassionate conservative of sorts.
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2003
  5. Apr 18, 2003 #4


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    N_Quire, I subscribe to the "give a man a fish...." theory. It is MORE compassionate to FIX the inequalities at the source than it is to give people handouts to make up for them later.

    I also firmly believe that democrats work hard to PERPETUATE social problems because if social problems actually got fixed, there would be no further need for the democratic party.
  6. Apr 18, 2003 #5
    Conservatives tend to cut social programs for children and poor families who need them...so much for the 'teach them to fish' idea.

    And that whole 'Democrats like social problems' meets the corrolary 'Republicans like war'...neither is a fair or accurate description of 50%(give or take) of the population, is it?
  7. Apr 18, 2003 #6
    no kidding, the traditional conservatives are more like "teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime, but lone a man a fishing pole and take 90% of the catch in return and he will work his ass off trying to eat and make you one rich bastard."
  8. Apr 18, 2003 #7
    Nah, I think that is modern conservatism....you know, the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the ones who actually pulled themselves up by their bootstraps, and who have never worked for anything in their lives.
  9. Apr 19, 2003 #8
    i was thinking back to feudalism actually, granted we had been working our way from that for quite some time.
  10. Apr 19, 2003 #9
    I am surprised that so many of the poor subscribe to conservatism. You can't call it acting out of self-interest. Liberalism, social-democracy or socialism offers the poor a better deal. The left has become much less idealistic in recent years, has lurched rightwards, but it has still has the rhetoric you think would appeal to poorer people: affordable health care, good education for all, an adequate welfare safety net, raising the minimum wage.

    Why then do so many poorer folks vote for a system that gives them little but which can be be shown to be good for big business and rich folks? Are people buying a dream or an illusion? Do the poor also believe that they are part of the American dream with a (theoretical) right to become president or make millions as a music or movie star? So many people seem to believe the pull-yourself-up by your-bootstraps nonsense even though the possibility of doing so is more theoretical than probable.

    I think the right is better at selling its ideas and that freedom and individualism are more appealing ideas (even to the poor) than community, compassion and fair distribtuion of wealth.
  11. Apr 19, 2003 #10
    Well, it is the same way that 10% of Americans thing they are in teh top 1%, and probably(I'm making this up) 90% of people think they are in the upper half. We think we can win the lottery, our children think that they can be pro athletes or movie stars. The fact is, everyone thinks that they have a decent shot, and teh reality is that the opportunities are limited.
  12. Apr 19, 2003 #11
    I have a question: how is having a sense of community and compassion anti-individualistic? You can still be your own person and help others. The bias against social programs only seems to be individualistic in the sense that it favors certain individuals (ie-big corps) over others.

    It seemst to me that a big part of the conservative crowd tries to play it off as individualistic, all the while forcing their religion on people (obviously, I am not referring to non-religious conservatives). So they tend to not help other individuals, but force rules on others, and some how that's an "individualistic" society.
  13. Apr 19, 2003 #12
    If it will help you in a concrete way, you are on your own. If it helps them push a 'moral' or religious agenda, they want to hold your hand and carry you kicking and screaming to their point of view. "Compassion" exists only to serve the ones in power.
  14. Apr 19, 2003 #13


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    "Keep working hard! Millions on welfare are depending on you!"

    I don't think compassion is the issue here, but realism. If you are on a long trek through the dessert, is it more compassionate to give everyone as much water as they want in the first few days, knowing that when the water is gone, all will die? Of course not, it is simply less responsible! The right thing to do is to ration water, and let some complain about how much they are suffering for the lack. Having those who brought water along give some to those who did not may seem more compassionate, untill you start to notice that people stop bringing their own water, because they expect someone else to do it for them.

    Likewise, it is not "compassionate" to take away nearly 1/3 of the income for which I work so hard, so that the crack-head next door doesn't have to work to support his habbit. He should have to drop his habbit and go out and get a job just like I did. This is not dispassionate, it is merely responsible. The minority who are willing to work and earn their own keep in this world simply cannot support a majority who won't. That is why socialism failed in the USSR, and will allways fail elsewhere. It is not compassion, it is injustice.
  15. Apr 19, 2003 #14
    Lurch, there you are wrong. Communism did not fail because of a progressive income tax, it failed for many other reasons. We don't need to get bogged down with why the soviet system failed, we can instead agree that it was a lie and it was rubbish from beginning to end.

    You should, I think, direct your criticism of high progressive taxes at the social democracies of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Holland and even Germany, which have a standard of living which matches that of America, which are just as free and democratic and whose population supports the notion of a welfare state. These countries have not failed; their economies are strong.

    When I have paid 30 to 50 percent in income tax, I have not resented it. I haven't thought in terms of crackheads stealing my money but in terms of good health care for all, good education, good roads and infrastructure, an adequate defence, etc, etc. I think that the idea of free health care for all is one of the finest expressions and features of the welfare state.
  16. Apr 19, 2003 #15
    On the other hand, social programs to help people work get slashed by 'compassionate' conservatives. Education budgets also take the hit...should children have to get jobs in order to pay for better schools? The MAJORITY of people in this country work, and those who don't would mostly like to. However, when your choices are welfare, or working 2 jobs to afford to just barely live, which would you choose? Again, this is framed in the language of 'work hard and you will succeed', yet the richest few do not want to sacrifice ANYTHING for the overall good.
  17. Apr 20, 2003 #16


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    Don't forget EASIER.

    Here's another side to the "give a man a fish" theory. Give a man a fish and he'll keep coming back to you asking for fish. No need to learn to fish if someone always gives you one. That is what our current social programs do. I recently changed jobs and believe me, its hard to be motivated to look for a new job when the government is paying you NOT to work.
    Zero, you're not suggesting that the poor and middle class ENJOY paying taxes, are you?
  18. Apr 20, 2003 #17
    well i know i would not mind so much if the gluttonous bastards that appropriate those tax dolors could do so without the overwhelming stench of their own self-interests spoiling the mood of the whole helping others thing.
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2003
  19. Apr 20, 2003 #18
    'Everyone' is greedy, and wants something for nothing...

    Funny, though, how so many so-called patriots(some of whom have dared question my patriotism)do not believe in making sacrifices for the common good. The goals of our nation are best served when EVERYONE gets to live at a certain level. I am not suggesting that everyone gets to be a millionaire. I am simply saying, in the spirit of Russ's "teach a man to fish' idea, is that we make sure that children grow up with a fighting chance. We decide as a country that we educate, feed, and medicate everyone. If you want cable TV, you are on your own. If you simply DON'T want to work, you are on your own. But, on the other hand, we pay those people who DO want to work a fair wage, so a household doesn't need 3-4 incomes just to stay afloat.

    And where does the lie come that poor people LIKE being poor, or want a handout? The hardest working people in this country are the lower middle class, the laborers and factory workers. Hell, there are people in the military of food stamps!
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