Legislatures are like animals in a zoo. You can’t do anything about ‘em’. All you can do is to stand and watch ‘em’
About being a U.S. Senator, the only thing the law says you have to be is 30 years old. Not another single requirement. They just figure that a man that old got nobody to blame but himself is he gets caught there
— Will Rogers —
Archives For Politics
Part of the reason conservatives have historically opposed the growth of the welfare state is the belief that it grants people a sort of karmic exemption, allowing those who are lazy or irresponsible to draw resources from those who are more industrious (see Mitt Romney’s “47%” comment). Hence conservatives agree that the world would be a better place if we “let unsuccessful people fail.” That also includes unsuccessful countries (like Greece) and companies (like GM).
Liberals, by contrast, would prefer to live in a world governed by compassion. They are more likely to give people second and third chances. For example, they are more likely to endorse this statement: “It is generally better to show mercy than to take revenge.”
The law of karma is not real. In free-market societies, hard work does pay off much better than laziness, yet cancer, unemployment, and other forms of bad luck can strike anyone. And cheaters, exploiters, and law-breakers do often prosper…
I can see some truth to the thoughts above but I think the article paints with too broad a stroke? It basically says conservatives align with karma and Liberals with compassion. That may be generally true but other factors certainly come into play in how we react so differently under the same conditions. I think fear is an even more dominant emotion in discerning this difference.
But the purpose of this post is to talk a little about the idea of karma. Karma is actually believed to originate in India and is an integral part of Buddhism and Hinduism beliefs but generally the phrase has a different meaning in its western interpretation. Here is what Wikipedia says about that:
Karma — The Western interpretation
Many Western cultures have notions similar to karma, as demonstrated in the phrase what goes around comes around. Christian expressions similar to karma include reap what one sows (Galatians 6:7), violence begets violence and live by the sword, die by the sword.In Hinduism, God plays a role and is seen as a dispenser of its version of karma. The non-interventionist view is that of Jainism and Buddhism, the latter originally a non-theist religion. Generally, Western popular culture portrays karma as more of a supranatural mystical force than a perspective on causality. This is more similar to Hinduism’s concept of karma than Buddhism’s.
To state it as simply as possible I don’t put much credence in the idea of karma. I don’t think there is some supranatural mystical force that I have little or no control over that drives me to be what I am. We are not destined to be a certain thing. The other aspect of karma is living with the consequences of your actions. Of course we must live the with consequences but that does not mean that one mistake at some point in our lives should doom us to an eternity of grief and inhumanity.
Poverty is systemic and government must have a role in reducing it. This is not an ideological assertion but a basic truth given the size of the problem and the complexity of modern society. The Census Bureau reports that government safety net programs cut the poverty rate last year by nearly half. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps, kept 4 million people out of poverty, and most of that support went to families with children and a wage-earner with a job that didn’t pay enough to fully feed their families. Without a safety net, the poverty rate would have been 29 percent in 2012, according to an analysis of the Census report by USA Today. Government benefits protected 41 million people, including 9 million children, from poverty.
Conservatives need to stop saying that government programs don’t reduce poverty, because the facts demonstrate that is just not true. Referring to safety nets as “hammocks” simply betrays a lack of knowledge of, or relationship with, people who are struggling and need help. Government is not always the enemy, but often a valuable partner.
Yet, liberals cannot imply that government alone is enough, or that the safety net is capable of completely lifting people out of poverty. After all, the whole idea of the safety net is that it catches you after a fall. There are vital programs that protect people from poverty during hard times and keep many people from falling into further impoverishment, but they do not eliminate the root causes. The problems of family breakdown in our society need to be taken seriously and the cultural pathologies poverty creates require a response. Both social and personal responsibility are needed to end poverty. Economic opportunity must be actually available to everyone, especially lower-income people and families. This is a basic premise and goal that should be the starting point of the conversation between liberals and conservatives.
I just received another moving email from my friends over at Sojourners. Above is part of that message. As usual in our political system the truth lies somewhere between the two-party extremes of wanting to eliminate all help for citizens struggling and trying to fix all the problems with government programs.
There is a medium point between blaming those who have for one reason or another gotten themselves into trouble and those who think their problems can be totally fixed with government resources without doing something to address the underlying problems, and corresponding lack of responsibility, which caused the distress. As mentioned above BOTH social and personal responsibilities are needed to end poverty. You can’t do it with only one of these solutions.
I can only dream that someday those yahoos in Washington can put aside their petty bickering and come to an agreement on this very powerful problem.
Social scientists find many questions about values and lifestyle that have no obvious connection to politics can be used to predict a person’s ideology. Even a decision as trivial as which browser you’re using to read this article is imbued with clues about your personality. Are you on a Mac or PC? Did you use the default program that came with the computer or install a new one?
In the following interactive, we put together 12 questions that have a statistical correlation to a person’s political leanings, even if the questions themselves are seemingly apolitical. At the end of this (completely anonymous) quiz, we’ll use your responses to guess your politics.
Here is an interesting article that asks you twelve questions seemingly unrelated to politics but will attempt to guess your political leanings. You might want to try it out to see where you fit.
This article starts out a series of posts about what makes a person conservative or progressive. I know I have sworn off the vitriol politics of Washington but this is a different matter. It is widely acknowledged that our country is pretty much split down the middle by the conservative/progressive feelings. I am currently in a study of trying to discover the different views of what it means to be in these two categories and how did each of us get into the mindset we are in.
Soon you will be seeing some more news articles about this topic here at RJsCorner. I am also reading a book entitled The Great Debate by Yuval Levin. Mr. Levin attempts to go back in history to try to discover where the sources of the conservative/progressive divide started in this country. He has decided that the debates between Edmund Burke and Thomas Paine soon after our country’s founding is where the divide started. In the forward to this book the author states up front that he is on the conservative side in the debate. I am just now starting this book and trying to keep an open mind about what he proposes but still have to be aware of the political leanings of the author. This will be an interesting study of why we might be so divided today.
Getting back to the topic about Time guessing your politics, My results of the questions are shown on the right. I came out as a moderate leaning slightly liberal. I really consider myself more liberal than conservative. My score leans that way but not as far as I imagine myself to be. But as always I suspect that this divide is more complicated than a single twelve question survey can cope with. More on this topic in coming posts.
The church is in Politics more than the Politicians.
February 17, 1929 – Will Rogers
As I have mentioned a few times already in our study of Thomas Jefferson, his principle of the separation of church and State was more to protect the State than the church. It seems that Will understood this also. Unfortunately not much has changed since even Will’s day. The bible says we are not of this world but you couldn’t tell it by the words of some of my conservative Christian friends. They literally hate our president, especially since he has been re-elected. I am told they even voice that hatred when they are studying the Bible together! They should take the message of Buddha from one of my recent posts to heart. The hate they have punishes them much more than anything it could possibly accomplish. Why can’t they drive their hate out of themselves and replace it with the love of Jesus.
But then again these times are nothing compared to the post-Constantine period and far beyond that period where the church leaders were literally the politicians and that included judge, jury, and executioner for thousands they deemed as “heretics”. Church history, even including recent history, is messy…. but the messages of Jesus Christ are quite clear if only we listen and actually do what he said. I have hopes that that is actually happening today in the emergent church movement. If you want to learn more about that see today’s post at RedLetterLiving.
But I’m just a simple guy, so what do I know…
The “Radical Right” and the “Liberal Left” are so twentieth century! Its time we invented some new monikers for these two opposing groups and I have the perfect names. These names just seem to be more descriptive than the old one. Who knows what “Right” and “Left” really mean anyway. For some reason I know I am right-handed but I am also called left leaning. I know we in the U.S. read from left to right but some countries read from right to left and some read up and down. Left and right just don’t have any solid meaning.
So, I am going to invent some new names here and I expect them to be in common use by the end of 2013. ;)
“Fiscal cliff” this “fiscal cliff” that; I am really getting tired of all the rhetoric. It is almost as if some evil empire dropped the “fiscal cliff” viciously into our laps. This reminds me of all the gloom and doom associated with Y2K. Does anyone remember that one. That happened in 1999 when some wise guru decided that the world was going to end when the calendar turned to January 1, 2000. The reasoning was that computers would get the date confused with 1900 as we only use the last two digit in most of our year designations. Of course when the date actually happened it was as mundane as the year before. No the “fiscal cliff” wasn’t dropped down on us by some evil empire, it was a result of a big majority vote by those same folks in our congress that are so upset about it now.
In a phone call with his presidential campaign’s financial backers, Mitt Romney today said he lost the election to President Obama because of the “gifts” Mr. Obama gave to certain constituencies, like young voters and Hispanics, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“The president’s campaign,” he said, “focused on giving targeted groups a big gift — so he made a big effort on small things. Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.”
It seems that Mr. Romney is pretty much a run-of-the-mill politician. He wants to blame his defeat on everyone else but himself. In his mind he ran a perfect campaign so it must have been something else that caused him to lose. In his case he wants to blame it on “gifts”. Continue Reading…
I know I promised to move away from politics but when I saw this bumper sticker last week I couldn’t resist showing it to you. Especially because it was in Indiana which is a very red State. It kind of surprised me like when I come across another deaf person. :) If anyone has something similar for Democrats I would love to see it. But then again an elephant has to hurt worse than a donkey…