Friday, May 27, 2011

Conservatism is a lot like Communism.

They both look really good on paper...

You all know that big argument against Communism.  "Sure, the idea of everyone working together 'Each according to his ability for each according to their need' or whatever, seems like a good idea on paper, but when you factor in natural human behavior, it just will never work!"  You know, because it's human nature to want to be the best, to have the best, to live in a bigger house, drive a nicer car, bang a hotter wife, have a bigger bank account, etc. etc.  And that just goes against the sharing and equality and fairness ideology of communism, and that's why it fails.  People will never share equally forever.  It's just like Animal Farm "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others!"  This iconic book, written by George Orwell, has served to show how communism will never succeed because basic greed and the desire of the few to control the many is too great and will always lead to the corruption of the well-intentioned and ideologically sound, yet functionally impractical model of the communist society.

I agree with the premise of Animal Farm as much today as I did when I first read it in grade school.  I agree that you will never have a truly equal and communal society so long as greed, jealousy and the other Darwinist "survival of the fittest" instincts exist in man.  It is for this reason, that I also don't believe that true Conservative Republicanism can survive either.  I believe that Conservatism tells us lies that sound logical, that make sense on a basic level, and are therefore very palatable to the undereducated, the common proletariat, the working class.  If that sounds condescending, well... it is, but not because I personally have disdain for my fellow middle class Americans, but because it's that arrogant know-it-all-ism, inherent in nearly every middle-class conservative that is your undoing.

Now, I don't claim to be a Rhodes Scholar or some kind of Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius or anything, but I am smart enough to know that I don't know everything.  I'm wise enough to know that I still have a lot to learn, and I'm humble enough to accept that sometimes it's better to leave certain decisions and responsibilities in the hands of those who are better qualified and capable of making them than I am.  Conservatism preys upon the arrogance of the average Joe who thinks he knows what he needs better than some stuffed shirt, fancy bigwig in Washington, and that's the first fatal flaw.

1.  You Know How to Spend Your Money Better Than the Government Does.

This is the first, and biggest lie that conservatives tell people to make their ideology seem reasonable and logical.  Of course you know how to manage your money better than the government!  Look at all the debt our government is in!  Look at the billions and trillions of dollars they waste on frivolous pork barrel projects!  Look at all the spending, spending, spending!  They don't care about the money because when they need more, they'll just come take it from you!  That's the Liberal way of thinking!  Spend, spend, spend and raise taxes when we need more money!  Well, to hell with all that!  We say, give the people more of their money back and let them invest it the way they want to!  You know how to manage your money better than some Washington fat cat!

Here's the truth.

America currently has a -5% savings rate.  That means the average American household has 5% more debt at the end of each month than the month before that.  The average, middle class, American household spends 11 months out of the year going deeper and deeper into debt to maintain a lifestyle they can't afford, and then when and if they get a tax refund check, that's their opportunity to pay off most or all of that debt and start all over again.  Either that, or they simply get another credit card, take out a second mortgage, dip into their 401k or IRA and take a loan or a withdrawal with early penalty fees.  The average Americans can't manage their money worth a shit, let alone make sound investments that will pay off a higher rate of return than they would earn by helping to maintain Social Security and other government "safety net" programs that conservatives have convinced you that you don't need and are a waste of your "hard earned" money.

If the average, middle class American was a politician, he would spend, spend, spend until all the money was gone and then when they need more, they'll just get another loan from China, vote to raise the debt ceiling, get more money that doesn't belong to them and that they can't possibly pay back, and when it all finally becomes too much to simply juggle around from one creditor to the next, they raise taxes, crash the market and start all over again!  That sure sounds like the stereotypical "Tax and spend Liberal" to me, doesn't it?  Except, you're a conservative!  You don't believe in wasteful spending!  Just because you make $50,000 a year and want to live in a $300,000 house, drive two $40,000 cars, have a plasma tv with the premium cable package including the NFL season ticket at $200 a month, get a trailer with some jet skis to hook up to that truck to take to the lake every summer and build that new deck in the backyard you've been telling your neighbor about, that doesn't mean you're irresponsible with your money!  That doesn't mean you spend what you don't have!  That doesn't mean you lack the basic knowledge of personal finance, household budgeting and money management necessary to maintain a responsible quality of life without having to go into debt, borrow money you can't pay back and mortgage your future for a life of luxury today!  Right??

The average American doesn't have a PhD in economics.  The average American isn't a college-educated financial expert.  The average American doesn't have extensive professional experience in managing complex budgets, being fiscally responsible, sticking to that budget and prioritizing expenditures.  The average American doesn't know how to run a business, let alone a simple household budget.  What makes the average American think they can manage their own finances better than people who CAN do all those things?  Who DO have all that knowledge, experience and education?  Arrogance and ignorance and a party who plays right into both of those things, that's what.

You think you can manage your money better than the government?  If we eliminated social security tomorrow and just left it up to each and every working American to invest on their own for their retirement, the homeless rate for Americans over the age of 65 would be somewhere around 90% at least.  The average American can't manage money for shit, and conservatives know that.  They don't want to give you more of your "hard earned money" because they actually believe you're going to make smarter decisions with it than the government would, they want to give you more of it because that's more money you can spend on the frivolous bullshit that their corporate interests spend big bucks to encourage you to want to buy!  You have more money to buy a bigger house and truck that you can't afford, you have more money to fill that big house with unnecessary crap you can't afford, you have more money to spend and put into the pockets of big corporations, instead of the stingy purses of government tightwads who corporations have to practically beg for subsidies from.  You know, those damn Liberals who want to make sure Social Security is still there so when you retire  you don't have to live in a trash can and eat cat food to survive, the socialist bastards...

Taxes make up about 15% of the average middle class household income.  You think that's why you're having such a hard time making ends meet every month?  If you had that extra 15%, do you think you'd suddenly start putting it in the bank to save for an emergency expense or tough times?  Hell no, you'd trade in your old car for a new one, you'd get a bigger tv in the den, you'd take a vacation, you'd spend it on more expensive shit you don't need and be just as badly in debt as you are right now.  You don't know how to manage your money worth a fuck, stop letting conservatives tell you that you do.

2.  Conservatives Want Smaller Government, Smaller Government is Good!

This is the second great conservative lie.  That they're all about smaller government.  That less government interference in your lives means more freedom, more liberty, more empowerment of the people to do what they want to do without "Big Brother" constantly getting in their business.  It means you can live your life the way you want to, without the government telling you what you can and can't do.  It means no more red tape and bureaucracy tying our hands behind our backs and halting progress.  But most of all, it means less taxes!  Because a smaller government doesn't need as much tax money to operate!  See, once again, those damn tax and spend Liberals want to grow government, fatten the cow, get bigger and bigger off of your tax dollars and that means they're gonna need more of those tax dollars to keep fattening that cow!  You tell the government to keep their hands out of your pockets!  If they can't afford it, they don't need it!

Here's the truth.

The Republican congress has already proposed nearly 1000 pieces of legislation to restrict or outlaw abortion.  They proposed laws that include forcing women who want to get abortions to attend special classes, to get ultrasounds of their fetuses first, to go to special, government-funded, "abortion awareness" centers to get educated about the risks - both real and completely manufactured - of abortion.  They are creating roadblock upon roadblock to make actually getting an abortion so difficult and such a drawn-out and exhausting process, that the idea is that the pregnant woman would just give up and decide to keep the baby out of sheer frustration at the number of hurdles she would have to jump through to actually get the abortion.

Who do you think is paying for all of these programs?  Who do you think these programs are being run by?  These are government programs, that would be paid for with tax dollars.  These would be entirely new departments, agencies and businesses that currently don't exist.  That's the very definition of "bigger government!"  Republicans want to expand government as a means of legislating morality upon the American people.  They want to grow government to restrict our rights and limit our freedoms.  Regardless of whether or not you support a woman's right to choose, there's no denying that creating more government programs is growing government.  Bigger government is bigger government, period.

The government just voted to extend the Patriot Act.  The Patriot Act created vast new government agencies, bureaus and organizations that didn't exist prior to it's passing.  Along with the Patriot Act was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security.  That is an entire organization that didn't exist prior to G.W. Bush being elected president.  This is bigger government, brought to you by the party of "smaller government."

See, conservatives are all about "smaller government" when it comes to deregulating industries so megacorporations can take them over and force out competition and manipulate the market.  They're all about smaller government when it comes to lifting EPA regulations that prevent oil drilling in national parks or offshore near coastal cities and towns, or dumping toxic waste into rivers and lakes and ultimately your water supply.  They're all about smaller government when it comes to telling corporations that they can't keep shipping jobs overseas and still expect huge government tax breaks and subsidies.  They're all about smaller government when it makes their special interests richer.  But, when it comes to tapping your phones, reading your emails, controlling what you can do with your body, funding the wildly expensive and complete failure of the war on drugs, approving $690 billion more for military spending, extending the Patriot Act, and so on, government can't get big enough fast enough.

Republicans don't want smaller government.  They want smaller government where it suits them.  They don't want to lower your taxes by reducing the size of government, they want to shift your tax contribution from programs that don't benefit them to programs that do.  But again, they count on the arrogance of the average American to not second guess something they already decided made sense to them and that they should agree with.  They know "Smaller government" is a great slogan, whether they actually mean it or not, and as long as you believe it, they know you're not going to admit that maybe you were duped, because that would mean you didn't know everything, and that's the foundation upon which middle-class conservatism is built my friends - the stubborn inability of people with a little bit of knowledge to admit that they might be wrong about something.

3.  Conservatives Care About America!  Conservatives Are the Only True Patriots!

Conservatives believe in God and country.  Conservatives support our troops.  Conservatives believe in putting America first, that America is the greatest country God ever created on the good green Earth.  Conservatives make America and Americans their number one priority.  If you care about America, if you care about freedom, if you care about the values and beliefs that make us the greatest country in the history of the world, then you have to be a conservative!  Liberals don't support our troops.  Liberals don't care about America or American values.  Liberals don't realize that America was founded as a Christian Nation!  Liberals want to open up the borders, let everyone just come pouring in!  Liberals HATE AMERICA!  If you love America and want to defend her.  If you support good Christian values, then you have to be a conservative!

Here's the truth.

Nobody doesn't support the troops, except maybe the Westboro Baptist Church.  When congress approves more spending to provide our soldiers with necessary supplies and resources to do the job our government sends them out to do, it's a bi-partisan process.  No one is against our soldiers.  It was a bi-partisan congress that supported Bush when he sent our soldiers to war, it was a bi-partisan congress that has supported every spending budget to keep them well-supplied and it's a bi-partisan congress that has approved every major military action they have undertaken with the ultimate goal of getting them home to their family and loved ones as quickly and safely as possible. 

Conservatives are the reason our military was diverted from pursuing Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan back in 2002 and sent to Iraq instead.  Conservatives are the reason a 2-3 year operation that would have found and killed Bin Laden and ended everything that was started on 9/11/01 became a 10+ year war on two fronts that has resulted in more additional American lives lost than were taken on 9/11.  Conservatives are the reason we have The Patriot Act - the single biggest piece of legislation that directly restricts the freedoms and liberties of American citizens and gives sweeping authority to the president to unlawfully detain our own citizens without due process or habeas corpus in the history of the republic - all in the name of "fighting terror."

Conservatives have defended the rights of more corporations to ship jobs overseas than Democrats.  Conservatives have backed more legislation to give tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas than Democrats.  Conservatives have sponsored more legislation to reduce the rights of American workers to collectively bargain, demand safer working conditions, get basic health and retirement benefits, and to lower their pay and increase their workload.  Conservatives want to raise the retirement age to 67.  The average human life expectancy is 72.  Conservatives want you to have 5 whole years to enjoy the fruits of your lifetime of working before you croak, if you're lucky enough to make it that far, because conservatives are also voting over and over to reduce regulations to make the workplace safer, to reduce harmful emissions from factories, to make health care more expensive and to limit the rights of employees to fight to get these benefits back in the future.  If you've ever had to fight with your health insurance company to get a prescription covered, a necessary procedure approved or a bill that was sent to you that they were supposed to pay taken care of, thank your local conservative politician.  The only dick conservatives love sucking more than Big Oil's is the Health Insurance Industry...

Conservatives support a closed border policy.  Never mind the fact that America was founded as a "melting pot," a place for people from all over the world to come and seek freedom and opportunity.  Isn't that what it says on that book the statue of liberty is holding?  "Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free?"  The promise of freedom, liberty and opportunity IS the American Dream.  There's no qualifier on that, it just is what it is.  Our country was founded by immigrants, built by immigrants, populated by immigrants.  Our founding fathers were from England.  Our country has benefited from immigrants from Ireland, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, China, Mexico, Canda, The Middle East... you name it.  Our strength is our diversity.  To forget that is to forget one of the founding principles upon which our country was built - that ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.  That everyone who comes to America and seeks to be a legal citizen is entitled to all the rights and privileges of any other American.  I italicized and bold-faced "legal citizen" because I don't support illegal immigration.  I support becoming a legal U.S. citizen and enjoying all the rights and benefits that legal citizenship grants you.  Life is hard for an illegal immigrant, you're forced to work in sub-standard conditions for unfair wages, you're taken advantage of by the system and greedy labor contractors, you're victimized by the legal system and you have no rights as a citizen to protect yourself.  Legal citizenship is the right way to go, it's the smart way to go, it's the way that will benefit you and your family the most and it's what has always made this country great.

"But... but... all these immigrants are taking our jobs!"

What jobs?  The field worker jobs you wouldn't do if you lost a bet?  Or the ones that our corporations are shipping overseas, with the help of their conservative friends in Washington, because people in India will work for slave wages and be happy to get it?  You don't know what you're talking about, just shut the fuck up with your "It's not racism, it's patriotism" bullshit. 

Oh, and I really hate to break it to you "Christian Conservatives" but do you know why our founding fathers came to America in the first place?  It was to escape the "church and state" unification of the Church of England and it's control over the monarchy.  They founded America specifically as a nation where church and state were separate.  All but 3 of the first American colonies strongly believed in a clear separation of church and state, and the remaining 3 eventually came around to agreement in the years following the drafting of the constitution.  Do a little constitutional history research.  I'm no constitutional scholar, but I own a computer, have internet, and can type "" into a search bar.  That and about 15 minutes is all I needed to find everything I've stated in this paragraph.  Our founding fathers were absolutely opposed to American being a "Christian Nation" or any other religion for that matter.  They wanted everyone to have the freedom to practice whatever religion they wanted to, be it Puritan, Quaker, Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Muslim or wacko Hale-Bopp comet fucker.

Liberals don't "hate our troops."  Liberals want to end the wars and bring them home.  I can't think of a better way to show how much you care about our fighting men and women than getting them back here where they're out of harms way and back with their families and loved ones.  Liberals don't hate America, they're fighting to keep corporations from shipping our jobs overseas just to make more profits.  They're fighting for the rights of workers to continue to unionize and collectively bargain for fair wages, safe working conditions and health and retirement benefits.  Things that our parent's generation just took for granted as being part of a good job, but we today consider a luxury thanks to 30 years of Conservatives pushing for deregulation and giving more rights to corporations than to the people who work for them.  Conservatives fight for the richest 2% of the country, Liberals are fighting for everyone else.  Case in point - Conservatives want tax cuts for the richest 2% of the country, when they already pay the lowest tax rate in the history of America.  Democrats have already given tax cuts to everyone making under $300,000 a year, it's already been done.  Don't believe me?  Look it up.  All that talk about Obama raising your taxes and making us into a marxist socialist nation?  All bullshit.  But, don't let that stop you from running out and reposting that completely bullshit status your Republican friends shared on their Facebook pages, because that's way easier than 5 fucking minutes of fact-checking!

Liberals care about small business owners!  Can you believe I just said that!  It's true!  They're fighting against the big corporations who want to push small business competition out of the market, who want to create huge barriers to entry by being able to outsource and take advantage of conservative-backed tax loopholes that allow them to offer products and services at prices small businesses simply cannot compete with.  Liberals want to empower the small business owner to be competitive with the "big box" stores and corporations.  Liberals want to make the big corporations pay their fair share of taxes, just like the conservatives make sure all the small business owners have to do.  Liberals want to make providing health insurance to their employees more affordable and easier with a public option, something conservatives are fighting to do away with and replace with good old corporate health care conglomerates, and we all know how much fun paying for employee health care through corporate HMO's is for small businesses, it's why the majority of small businesses don't even offer health care benefits as part of their employment packages, instead forcing their employees to shop on the open market and get raped financially trying to afford it.

See, just like communism, conservatism looks good on paper.  Looking out for the individual? Reducing costly government oversight and lowering taxes?  Defending our country and our values and making our citizenry a priority?  Oh that all sounds so wonderful!  Until you look past the slogans and the bullshit and see that everything the conservatives have done over the last 30 years has been in direct conflict with those principles.

Ask yourself, are you doing better today than your parents did?  Are you better off today than your parents were?  Do you feel that you have more freedoms, more liberties and can say and do more without fear of reprisal today than your parents could?  Do you think the hippie movement could have existed today the way it did in the 60's?  Do you feel safer today than you did 10 years ago?  Do you feel safer today than your parents did when they were your age?  Do you feel that America is a more tolerant nation today than it was 20 years ago?  Do you feel that the middle class is stronger today than it was in the 80's?  Do you feel that health care is more affordable now than it's ever been?  What about gas?  Food?  Do you think finding a good job with benefits is easier today than it was 20 years ago?  Do you feel that buying a new home is as safe of an investment today as it was even 10 years ago?  Do you worry about whether your 401k will be there when you retire?  Do you worry about the company you work for being around until you retire?  Do you worry about your job being around until you retire?  Our parents used to work one job until they retired.  Today, the average American will work 12-20 different jobs in their lifetime.  Do you think that level of uncertainty is better for the confidence level of the American worker?  Do you think that attitude of having no invested loyalty in a company is better for the quality of American-made products and services?  Would you rather buy a car made in an American factory by a guy who's been making cars for 30 years and loves his job, or a guy who's been there 6 months and just wants to get his check and go home?  Conservatives have been running the show for 20 of the last 30 years, do you think our country is better or worse today than it was in 1980?

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