When I was a senior in college I had a liberal friend ask me, “At 23 years-old, what does being a Republican get you?”
She didn’t mean that I would benefit from the welfare programs of the Democratic party, or gain equal rights for my minority status (since I’m not a minority).
What she was driving at is the perception by many that the conservative movement, steeped in individualism and capitalism, isn’t kind.
Basically, conservatives are
assholes dispassionate to a fault.
That was her point. Didn’t I want to seem altruistic and compassionate? I didn’t have any real income so why should I be worried about how much of my non-existent income the government was taking and what they would do with that money?
But perception, in this case, is not reality.
There is compelling evidence that, in fact, the capitalistic system is by far the most compassionate system in existence.
John Goodman from the Center for Policy Analysis, lays out a number of arguments against the insufferably smug and sure-of-himself Paul Krugman.
Without lifting too much from an article you absolutely must read in its entirety, I wanted to point out one key issue: the idea that conservatives don’t care about the poor because their faith in capitalism most benefits the rich.
But conservatism is based on the belief in the efficacy of a human being, an ironically romantic notion where a person can do a tremendous amount to help or hurt his own success (Ironic because liberals don’t trust people at all, that’s why they believe government should dictate to us what we should and shouldn’t do, yet believe conservatives are the heartless ones).
The world’s economy, however, supports the conservative position that the market does a significantly better job taking care of the poor than does the government.
If you look around the world, you will find that the bottom 10% of the income distribution gets about the same percent of national income in countries with the least economic freedom (2.5%) as they do in the countries with the most economic freedom (2.6%). Whether a country is capitalist or socialist doesn’t seem to matter.
Hippies Liberal activists love to point to the gap in income as an indicator of economic inequality, but actually, as a percent of national income, there is basically no difference in the standing of the poor based on the economic freedom of their society.
He goes on to point out:
But there is a huge difference in the absolute level of income. In fact, the bottom 10% gets almost ten times more income ($8,474 per persons per year vs. $910) in capitalist countries than in non-capitalist countries.
And here is where the rubber meets the road in the argument for conservatives. The poorest people in capitalist countries are, by leaps and bounds, better off than the poorest people in socialist countries.
The reasons for this are myriad and complex, something only a Nobel winner in economics could understand (unless it’s Paul Krugman who has shown again he doesn’t know
his ass from a hole in the ground much when it comes to how capitalism really works).
Goodman goes on to point out that conservatives also donate more money to charity (even more incredible when you consider the average liberal family makes more than the average conservative one) and gives blood more often.
As I pointed out earlier, when you remember that the heart of conservatism is based on human efficiency and the power of the individual, it actually makes perfect sense that conservatives actually tend to be more altruistic as a group.
We believe in people.
Our actions are based on creating a product or service that adds to the marketplace and for something to truly have demand it must benefit people (or have people think it benefits them).
We don’t do things based on first-world guilt where we feel guilty for being born in a place where people have so much that we feel it necessary to take from those people what they worked to earn (the liberal position).
The marketplace dictates value.
The marketplace is made up of you and me, of everyone. There is no system in the world more democratic than the marketplace because everyone has a voice (the Wall Street protestors must not read my blog).
In our soon-to-be-former president’s eyes, liberal Utopia is a place where the government decides who deserves a voice and who doesn’t.
Where is the liberty in that? Where is the equality?
Doesn’t sound like compassion to me.