Friday, March 6, 2009


"To cure a world perishing from selfishness, we are asked to destroy the self." - Ayn Rand, from The Fountainhead.

Agree, or disagree? Is selfishness the cause for decline in our society? When a civilization rises to great heights, is it selfishness that brings it down? I sense an interesting dichotomy within the conservative and progressive movements. The contradiction boils down to our philosophy. In our instant gratification, Hollywood driven society, philosophy is a forgotten art. Liberal, Conservative, Democrat and Republican, we need to examine, understand, and learn to defend our personal philosophies.

The humanitarian, "One who is devoted to the promotion of human welfare and the advancement of social reforms; a philanthropist." The humanitarian looks to increase rights for those that cannot increase them alone, they seek to serve the downtrodden, the helpless, the poor. I believe there is no more noble a goal. In Matthew 25, Jesus said "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me." For a humanitarian, a christian, and those seeking to serve, these values are of the utmost importance. They require a selflessness that is admirable and noble. From my humble view of the world, I believe that these very motives, when lying at the foundation of ones beliefs, drive the liberal, democratic agenda that has taken root in our country.

I respect these views. Actually, who wouldn't? Hopefully, I have captured a piece of the genuine passion that many in this country have for other people. This is not to say that more conservative minded people cannot share these views; it is to say that I believe, for the democratic humanitarian, these views seem to lie at the foundation, upon which all other values are built. This, in and of itself, is commendable, good and decent.

We must decide whether the means justifies the end, or if the end justifies the means.

I can only speak for myself here. This is what is observed from my perspective, which is assuming that most people are fair minded and want to do something good in the world, to be less selfish. I think most people have heard the one rule, that rules all other rules. The golden rule.

Treat others as you would treat yourself.

From my conservative perspective, I believe that the path many liberals take undermines the very values they fight for, and ultimately undermines their selfless goals. For me, the foundation of our country is built on Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These to me, guide the humanitarian principles that I too seek to propagate; only I advance these causes through my own means, not through the means of others. The liberal agenda has stepped on our liberties, to promote (at seemingly un-ending cost) their values of "fairness" and "equal rights." REDISTRIBUTION. Their convictions become greater than the law. Eventually the law is forgotten.

Through the control and redistribution of rights, liberties, wealth, and opportunity, the liberal agenda is destroying the the possibility for progress, destroying the only means by which it can be progressed. The desire for power becomes the motive of the leaders who campaign on the issues of the heart, feeding off of the passions of those who truly want to do good.

Through some experience on missions trips, contact with the poor, and discussion with people in similar circumstances, it has become clear to me that people in the lower-class, who regularly rely on others to survive, can only exercise selfishness. Giving of themselves is not an option, for it would mean pain, destruction and death. Survival, at some point, relies on someone thinking of themselves. Subsequently, the ability to move forward, out of dependence, and into a position of sustainability and service is not possible.

Similarly, the liberal progressive agenda requires the wealthy, self-sufficient, sustainable, and hardest working to give less of themselves by eliminating all avenues of service through social programs. These programs REQUIRE the government to TAKE more from the upper and middle class, forcing the entire society to focus only on the self.

"Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver." -2 Corinthians 9:7

By taking from the people, our government takes away our ability to give and to enjoy the command that God has given us. Giving becomes a total act of compulsion as our resources are taken and distributed as another person sees fit, rather than where our hearts may desire.

Our founders knew that these christian conservative values must be relied on for the country to succeed. They understood that if life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was taken away, to be replaced by government run programs that inspire dependence and degradation, the country would fail.

We must understand the principles that have allowed success for all, and return to them. We must reject the principles that lead to decline and ultimately slavery. Please meditate on this last quote. I believe it clarifies a great confusion between the liberals and conservatives of our time.

"Socialism, like the ancient ideas from which it springs, confuses the distinction between government and society. As a result of this, every time we object to a thing being done by government, the socialists conclude that we object to its being done at all." -Frederic Bastiat, ca. 1837

Conservatism does not desire the rich to rule over the poor, it desires that men be free to pursue the things that make them happy, of which it is assumed that giving to others will be a joyful experience.


  1. I have been thinking a lot about this post. I can understand why you are opposed to your tax dollars going to "socialist" government programs.
    But if we are talking about wealth redistributions, the 700 billion dollar stimulus package that was passed by President Bush sent our tax dollars straight to banks, Wall Street and other major corporate entities without ANY requirements or stipulations whatsoever. How is me giving my hard earned money to bail out a billion dollar company (which I probably support already by spending money in everyday life) or to send a bonus to a corporate exec not a redistribution of weatlth? I think this scenario encompasses power, greed and governing above the law. LIke you said, it's a matter of philosphy. But when it comes down to it, we need to send tax dollars to fund socialist programs ranging from our police force to government roads and NOT to a Wall Street CEO.
    The Pell Grant program and Federal Loan Program are socialist programs. They give someone who can't afford college the chance to get a higher education. The "American Dream" is for everyone to have the chance to thrive and make a decent living, regardless of economic status. We need everyone in our country to be better educated. If we cut these programs, we eliminate those freedoms and we take away many people's chance to achieve the American Dream. I wouldn't have been able to get my college education without federal aid. And I just don't see such programs being funded by the goodness and generosity of corporate America's heart.
    The big companies who got our tax dollars are certainly not doing much to help us in return.
    The housing market is facing huge foreclosure problems. We all know that, and it's not always because silly buyers took loans for way more than they could afford on an ARM. It's also that people are losing their jobs due to layoffs, who have responsible loans but can't pay them without a job. What it essentially boils down to is that many homeowners are being forced out of their homes. The homes are then turned around and sold for a WAY lower price to someone else. Why not take all the money that was given to the banks and negotiate the principal on these houses to make the mortgages more manageable for those who are already in them? That would be a great way to help out the very people who bailed the banks out. They are already going to take the loss of the foreclosed home.
    Wow, I always end up writing way more than I planned. Your posts really get me thinking! Thanks and keep `em coming!

  2. Laura, Great questions. There is some good meaty content here. Regarding your first questions, see post "Learning From the Mistakes of the past:

    Many of the fiscal actions taken by the Bush administration were not conservative actions at all and I wish to heck he had not taken them. It is not my goal to support or oppose any person, or even political party. My issues arise between the liberal/progressive and conservative principles. Giving taxpayer money to the banks, car companies, insurance campanies, etc... was a mistake, and continuing to give money to these companies after the first installmants haven't shown a benefit, is even more of a mistake. I think we agree on that point.

    I need to do some thinking on police, infrastructure, fire, etc... spending because these are typically local services that are available to everyone and serve different purposes than Pell grants and other social programs. I think we're comparing apples to oranges in that debate. The roles of the state vs. the federal government is a big issue here.

    There is a lot to go into regarding federal "assistance" programs, but here is a brief overview of my position, and I believe the conservative position. I'll highlight Pell grants and Section 8 federal housing. Both of these programs take low-income families or individuals, and based on their income, qualify them for amounts which are given to them for college tuition or housing, respectively.

    Through these programs, the free market is distorted and prices are inflated. Colleges and Universities can get away with much higher rates because tuition is being supplemented. I would argue that if tuition was not being supplemented, the universities would have to compete much more actively in getting students and be forced to lower prices to actually make the education affordable. The same principle applies to Section 8 federal housing. Go on a field trip and visit one of these housing units. The rent collected by the landlords will be some of the highest in the area, yet the housing itself will typically be run-down and poorly maintained. The landlords can get away with this because the people getting the assitance don't care about negotiating prices, they are getting a free ride. No one paying full price would ever consider renting these units, because they can get a better deal elsewhere. The government doesn't have nearly enough resources to actually monitor what is going on and make sure prices are not inflated.

    More depth is probably needed here, but I wanted to highlight my thoughts.

    Finally, it would be a tragedy to blame the "housing crisis" solely on the banks. There are 4 entities working that led to the inflated prices. 1) the central bank kept interest rates too low, which allowed banks and the government to authorize the release of too much money, 2) the government (through Fannie and Freddie) subsidized loans to risky lenders (low income) which inflated values and allowed people who shouldn't qualify for a loan get money, 3) the banks lent much more than they actually had, when home values fell, they didn'have the equity to support their own value, and 4) PEOPLE took out loans that were far too much for them to afford and kept borrowing money on the equity of their home when the value increased. To say that any one of these entities is solely responsible would be false.

    In my opinion, the American Dream is to live in a country that leaves one free to achieve. It does not guarantee success. I don't think it is the governments responsibilty to monitor everything and make sure nothing negative happens, we must take responsibility for our aions.

    Thanks for your comments. I need to be exposed to every perspective possible.

  3. Your 4 reasons that led to the housing crisis are right on. All 4 can be summed up in one word-greed. I believe this greed was brought on by "moral bankruptcy" which is going to be impossible for any politician to fix by throwing money at the problem. It would be better fixed by some self examination through reading God's Word.
    Sorry Andrew, I knew I couldn't resist forever commenting on your blog!