Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Compassion belongs to the conservative

Conservatism demands and promotes excellence. Excellence is derived from a desire to be the best, to outperform those in our chosen field. For most of us, the desire for excellence comes naturally. We find something to become passionate about, which drives us to be the best, regardless of any perceived financial reward. Oddly enough, those who end up receiving a large financial reward didn't begin their pursuit with that goal in mind. Because of their passion, their desire to be the best, they reach great heights, both professionally and financially. Writers are the perfect example. Most writers will never make enough money from their chosen craft to earn a living, let alone become wealthy. But it doesn't matter to them. They love what they do, are passionate, and find great reward from the mere pursuit. Yes, we cry when yet another rejection letter comes in the mail, but we down a 1/2 gallon of Ben & Jerry's and get back to the keyboard. The 1% of writers who do achieve financial success did it by hard work and determination, and passion.

Passion, the rocket fuel of success.

For a small percentage of Americans, however, passion alone isn't enough to drive them forward. Somehow, we've failed to create an environment in which every single resident of this country knows that he or she has the opportunity to pursue excellence and expect a reasonable level of success, whether it come economically or otherwise. Despite an endless stream of "rags to riches" stories, the common belief is that if you're not born into prosperity, you'll never find it. Understandably, an enraged generation brought up on this established falsehood turn to other avenues. Sometimes it's crime. More often it's just a willingness to float through life on whatever the government chooses to "bless" them with.

I reject the notion that poverty is the root cause of criminal activity. Otherwise, the term "white collar criminal" would be ludicrous. Poverty will generate a sense of hopelessness. In a country governed by a select few, the hopelessness would turn to despair. In this country, however, we offer an alternative to both despair and hopelessness. It's called liberty. Essentially, it is the mechanism by which any citizen can pursue happiness. When there is no government obstruction, and the free market is truly free and allowed to follow its natural course, all of us are guaranteed the opportunity to succeed. We're not guaranteed success, in fact we often fail, but we have no one to credit or blame but ourselves.

What our current government is hoping to achieve is a guarantee of success. But not just for the individual, as if that weren't enough to discourage hard work, but now these same bureaucrats are offering the same guarantee to corporations in the form of bailouts. More on that another time.

 When we throw money at those at the bottom of the competitive ladder we diminish their desire for excellence, just as we diminish any need for responsible business practices when we throw it at corporations. We create an atmosphere that offers absolutely no reason to take initiative, to reach for something greater than what we were issued upon birth. How is this considered compassionate?

The liberals who practice this psuedo-compassion are engaged in a sort of mass vote-buying. If they can convince 51% of the population that they need either a welfare check or a guarantee of no taxes, they've bought themselves an election every time. Candidates who represent a platform based on limited government and a free market find themselves fighting an uphill battle. Somehow, they have to convince millions of voters who've lived under the cave-like protection of a liberal system that something greater awaits them outside their confined, yet familiar existence, if they are only willing to take the first step into the sunlight.

I admit, it must be frightening. This "protection" has existed now for an entire generation, sealed in stone by Johnson's Great Society. There exists, in America, young men and women who have never known any existence other than life in the "Great Society." That's just the irony. The liberals will claim that their programs are necessary to end the squalor that exists in our culture. In fact, it is this very squalor, which has grown by leaps and bounds since Johnson waved his magic pen, that is representative of what any socialist policy would bring about.

The liberal, never to be frustrated by something so mundane as fact and history, will come to the conclusion that not enough has been done. Have we not heard that from liberal historians? If only Roosevelt had spent more, the Great Depression would have been shortened. Again, they must wear historical blinders to ignore the almost identical economic conditions in 1921, at which time the government spent no money to save the country from certain doom. The doom lasted less than one year.

So what is compassion? For the individual, it is to offer help to those in need. America still leads the world when it comes to charity. For a government, though, compassion comes in the form of creating a system that allows a maximum level of individual liberty. This is what the conservative must remember when confronted by those who claim to represent the downtrodden. The poor will always be with us, but liberal policies put in place under the guise of assisting those few do nothing but expand the numbers of those below the poverty line. Conservative policies cannot eradicate poverty, but they will, as they have in the past, reduce and limit it to an absolute minimum.

It is at that point that the masses above the poverty line have more power and the means to help their neighbor. Never underestimate the unstoppable power of a free market system. When individual liberty is thrust upon a society, a tsunami of ideas, enterprise, and economic growth is the result. For a government comprised of a few hundred to believe that they can replace the spirit of hundreds of millions with poorly contrived documents and empty political phrases is the opposite of compassion and liberty. It is socialism, and it remains to this day as one of the great evils of our time.

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