Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Underneath conservative's unwillingness to help the poor

Brian Buetler of Salon.com, liberal editorialist, wrote that underneath everything that conservatives stand for is the refusal to do anything to help the poor.  It is a pretty good article.  But I think that conservatives' unwillingness to help the poor is an effect rather than the bottom line cause.  

I have written often that I think that the top value for liberals is caring, so it is no surprise that Mr Beutler would see conservatives' actions as being essentially rooted in uncaring.  

But, I think that to the extent that conservatives refuse to help the poor they do so because they have a different value system.  The top value for conservatives is freedom, it seems to me.  But, what about the rabid Tea Party wing of conservatives?  I think they are manifesting a distortion of conservatism.

I think underneath the extreme Tea Party conservatism is a belief in a fantasy version of manliness - fiercely independent, boldly opportunistic, bravely logical, awesomely courageous, etc. - best written about by the most masculine writer of modern times, the woman Ayn Rand.  It is a fantasy self image that aging white men and adolescents carry inside themselves of who they really are: heroically hyper-masculine paragons of strength.  And they think that anything that weakens people, like giving to the poor, is seen as a kind of sacrilege, and a violation of this hyper-manly code, by weakening people and allowing them to fall into the sins of being dependent and needing help.   

Eric Fromm's "Escape from Freedom" from the '40s analyzed the authoritarian personality and how Nazism, Fascism, and Communism all were the outflows of that distorted orientation.  Totalitarianism is the natural consequence of political systems designed on idealistic visions of human beings that are essentially not human.  The Communists idealized human was one who was truly altruistic and giving.  The fascist and Nazi idealized human was a man of purity of will and strength.

I remain encouraged that the radical wing of the Republican Party seems to be losing its death grip on the party and the nation.  

Let a little kindness flow.