Monday, January 02, 2006

WELL-MEANIES LIKE TO SPY ON PEOPLE (and a story of an argument)

Cynthia Tucker has a great post at Working For Change about what it means to be a well-meanie...the subhead to her article: "Selfishness disguised as hard-headed compassion" is as good a definition of "well-meanie" as I've yet been able to manufacture. Here's a quote:

So the last thing we should do is establish a broad social safety net that provides generous health care and raises the minimum wage and ensures decent housing for all. Why, any one of those things could prove absolutely ruinous to the poor!

That political philosophy -- which claims to be a hard-headed compassion rather than the hard-hearted selfishness it really is -- has become the conventional wisdom. But it's an odd thing for a nation that claims to be overwhelmingly Christian. There is nothing in the New Testament that says that helping the poor merely makes them worse off.

And that reminds me of a discussion I had with a family member the day after Christmas. This family member (f.m. from here on out) used to be a liberal and has traveled the world, received two masters' degrees, a doctorate, and a master of divinity degree and is pretty smart.

F.M. and I have had many political discussions and it seems we are diametrically opposed even though I basically got my politics from f.m. Anyway, I was trying to drive home the point (as I have done before) that there exist objective truths/facts about the world that are neither liberal nor conservative and that there is in fact such a thing as an unpolitical truth (because f.m. had told me two months ago that f.m. couldn't read about politics because each side distorted the facts to fit its bias).

Anyhoo, f.m. basically said, no, everyone is biased--libs and cons. I asked for specificity about which issues f.m. sees this happening with. After f.m. hemmed and hawed, offered then rejected welfare as an example, I said--well, how about Social Security privatization?

F.M. immediately says, with no prompting from me--"well, that's not a good example of what I'm talking about because obviously if all your retirement is in the stock market and the stock market is down when you want to retire, you're screwed." Oh my!

F.M. kindly made my point for me! I said, "well but that is a perfect example of what I'm talking about--you just cited an obvious, objective fact that shows that privatizing Social Security ain't a great idea." Well, we never resolved anything, but I was astonished and pleased to see that even if f.m. won't acknowledge it, f.m. knows what I'm talking about.

My hopes for 2006

1. Republicans out of power in one or both houses

2. Rove indicted

3. MSM indicted

4. Abramoff brings down Republicans--and some bad Democrats

5. Iraq war ends

6. War on terror replaced by non-provocation policy

7. I get rich and famous (for doing something positive and productive)

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