Florida Conservative

A Conservative Take on Florida and U.S. Politics

Left vs. Right

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While searching for an appropriate thumbnail for this post (I’m nothing if not predictable), I stumbled across a great article entitled Democrats vs. Republicans at http://www.toberight.com.  Needless to say, it highlights some of the idealogical differences between Democrats and Republicans.  I would like to take a step back, toss the party monikers aside, and explore the differences between the idealogical left and right.

Interestingly, my desire to write about the political spectrum stem from my experiences as a parent.  The title of “parent” entitles an individual to a never-ending stream of advice, cautions, and rules with complete disregard for facts.  In our kindergarten-educated society, we seek the most obvious solutions to problems while ignoring the unintendeded consequences that are sure to follow.  Common examples are requiring children to be in car seats until they can vote, not allowing them to eat peanuts until they qualify for retirement, and providing a perfect quarantine for germs from cradle to grave.  It’s a bit over-the-top.

Make no mistake, both the progressive left and the conservative right want to solve today’s problems, but they disagree on both the means and number of steps required to get there.  The best results are always achieved by planning ahead and focusing as much on avoiding unintended consequences as on solving the problem.  While the example of a chessmaster is appropriate, that of a skilled surgeon is perhaps easier to understand.  If my father had an arterial blockage, I could simply cut it out and the problem (arterial blockage) would be solved.  The unintended consequence would involve my father bleeding to death, however, so perhaps it would be better to seek professional medical care.  A skilled surgeon would prep for the incision, take measures to stop the bleeding, remove the blockage, and ensure my father had no other ill effects from the procedure.

Why is it that young students, the poor, and learned academics tend to be “progressive?”  Young students clearly don’t have much experience to rely on, but they also have the idealogical drive to want to solve worthy problems.  The poor have been trained to live day-to-day and avoid the bigger picture.  Learned academics, however, love the feeling that they are “doing good” as long as they’re making someone else do it. 

Let’s explore a current problem and two possible solutions.  I love the idea of ending hunger so that no child nor adult ever has to go to bed hungry.  Perhaps we should take food from the wealthy, oppressive corporations that produce it and give it to the poor.  Problem solved!  (Please note:  If the government takes something, it’s not stealing.  Think of it as a “tax”.)  But what about the unintended consequences?  How will the wealthy, oppressive corporations react?  Will they keep making food?  Investors (including anyone with retirement savings) stand to lose a lot of money.  Will they raise the price on what food they do sell?  Raising prices will mean more people going hungry while further widening the growing gulf between the rich and poor.  Will the corporations do everything they can to support candidates willing to lower their taxes?  While I like a good Robin Hood story as much as the next guy, stealing from the rich to feed the poor never actually works because it has unintended consequences.

Since I still believe that ending hunger is a worthy goal, how else could we achieve it?  What if the poor had more money with which to buy food?  What if they were encouraged to work hard and lift themselves from poverty?  Could that work?  Maybe the poor need more training and better jobs.  Is there anything we can do to encourage organizations to make long-term investments in hiring new employees.  But wait, what if the poor refuse to work?  There’s got to be a reason that kids drop out of school, right?  Even with the risk of some negative outcomes, should we allow others to experience freedom and make their own choices?  On behalf of the conservative right, I offer a resounding “yes.” 

Let’s find real solutions to societal problems while encouraging personal freedom and responsibility.  Utopian?  Perhaps.  But it’s the only way to get there.

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Written by floridaconservative

May 9, 2012 at 11:30 AM

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