(Filed under: Political Thought)
I really want to be a liberal. I really do. I mean, all the cool people are liberals, so why wouldn’t I want to be? I am not really into that whole rebellious thing. I like to be liked. I certainly don’t appreciate being called bad things, like racist and ignorant. Why wouldn’t I want to be a liberal?
It’s hard to be a conservative in Burlington, Vermont. I know, boo-frickety-hoo, break out the violins. I’m serious, though. I always feel like the odd man out. I used to dread school functions where I would have to listen to the other parents talk about how great being a liberal is. It was even worse when my secret got out and they knew that I was a conservative.
No one likes evil stares when they pull up to the school with their Bush-Cheney ’04 bumper sticker on their mini-van, least of all me.
How come no one ever cared that the soccer coach had a Dean for America sticker on his clip board? It just isn’t fair.
I’ve tried to be a liberal, honestly. I listened to Randi Rhodes drone on for hours on Air America. I watched Democracy Now. I read all of the liberal blogs. I tried to understand the liberal point-of-view. I even debated with Bob the Optimizer, taking the liberal side, while he took the conservative side. Well, for as long as we could both keep from laughing, anyway.
I know the liberal line, but I can’t seem to force myself to buy it.
I would have to say the issue that is most illogical to me is the area of economic justice. One would think that having grown up in a single-parent home with a mother who was on and off welfare most of my life, I would be a liberal. I think it was that experience that taught me that the welfare system is a trap that keeps people poor.
Liberals think that the answer is to expand the support programs, but there always will have to come a time when a person has to transition to self-sufficiency. The fear of leaving the safety of government care is what keeps a lot of people dependent on the government. That kind of economic slavery has no place in a free country.
People are more likely to only take the help they really need when they know the people supporting them. That is one of the reasons I prefer private, local, community-based support programs to government bureaucracies.
Their support for government welfare programs is only part of what keeps me from being a liberal. There is also the liberal solution to economic inequality in the private sector. The liberal goal is to abolish the rich/poor divide. That sounds nice, but it is so impractical.
For one thing, we do not all have the same monetary worth. My husband does not deserve to be paid the same as someone who is willing to work longer hours. He is rewarded in other ways, namely time with this wife and children. Someone who went to college for 8 years does not merit the same pay as someone who only has a high-school diploma, in general. A pre-school teacher does not deserve to be paid the same as a police officer because the officer is putting her life on the line every time she goes to work. There is a value attached to each type of work and some types have more value than others.
In the ideal liberal world, every job would pay a livable wage and include full health benefits and everyone would be happy. That is so awesome. Sign me up!
But, wait. Umm, if the guy bagging my groceries, the guy stocking the shelves, and the guy sweeping the floor of the store all make $15 an hour plus benefits, aren’t grocery prices going up?
Aren’t the guys driving the trucks to the store and the guys working in the factories making the goods going to want more money, too, since they have to be able to afford to buy the more expensive groceries? Isn’t their job valued higher, since they involve more risk and, in the case of the truck driver, special training?
And what about the teachers? We can’t have them making the same as a grocery bagger. It just won’t work.
After we raise everyone’s pay and the goods and services go up in price to pay for the higher wages, won’t we be back where we started?
Enter price controls. The liberal solution for rising prices. Let the evil corporations eat the extra expense of the higher wages. After all, they are paying their CEOs gazillions of dollars. They can afford it.
Never mind the fact that price controls will create a shortage, since many business that don’t have gazillions of dollars lying around will not be able to financially sustain the increased cost of doing business coupled with the artificially low prices.
The problem for me is that I can’t ignore the economic reality that government controlled prices do not work in the real world. But don’t just take my word for it.
So, here I am. With liberalism being completely illogical from a practical standpoint (and I didn’t even get into the liberty issues), I remain a conservative. An outsider. An oddball. Shunned by the cool kids. Alone, with no one to talk to about organic oats and the benefits of buying local goods. Because you know, my conservative friends never like to talk about that.