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Lakeshore
An author of no particular popularity

Jay Lake
Date: 2010-01-29 19:40
Subject: [politics] Your thought for the day
Security: Public
Tags:healthcare, politics
You can analyze much of American politics and policy, not just healthcare, by keeping in mind that the guiding principle of virtually all conservatives as well as many others is the dread fear that someone, somewhere, might be enjoying an undeserved benefit at their expense.

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Ken: Pissed
User: ken_schneyer
Date: 2010-01-30 03:55 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:Pissed
Agreed. I think I first noticed this in the early 1980s, listening to the Reagan Administration argue about federally guaranteed students loans. The argument seemed to be that, since a very tiny percentage of students were abusing the loans (taking vacations etc. with the money), it followed that none of the students who needed the loans should get them.

Of course the unspoken corollary is that the benefits "we" enjoy are deserved, because they are the fruit of our "work," rather than someone else's "largesse."
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Kevin Standlee: High Speed Train
User: kevin_standlee
Date: 2010-01-30 04:08 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:High Speed Train
Further semantics: funneling government money to modes of transportation you like is "a critical investment in our nation's infrastructure," while money spent on other modes is "a wasteful subsidy."

(Not that all conservatives are anti-train; the late Paul Weyrich, with whom I would have little agreement on anything else, wrote an excellent study over a decade ago called "The Conservative Case for Transit," in which he refutes those so-called conservatives who think that all public transportation investment is entitlement programs for poor people and should be discontinued because Real Honest Right Thinking Conservative People Always Drive Cars on the Freeway, which is of course free. But I digress....)
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User: lonfiction
Date: 2010-01-30 04:06 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
That's kind of odd you mention it now. Just today I sat through a lecture on the various commonalities of African cultures. One the speaker mentioned repeatedly was the zero-sum principle, especially as it applied to what persons got from institutions such as government. Makes for strange philosophical bedfellows.

Though to be honest, I think you are seeing the conservative leaves and forgetting the trees. The unifying factor among most brands of conservative (especially the sane and secular varieties) is a focus on property rights, limited/responsible government, and individualism. It isn't that someone else is getting something over on them that has most of my rightier friends upset these days. It's the sense that their moral value of self-sufficiency is being violated at its core. The difference between being angry at the man who picked your wallet and being angry at the man who made theft legal, in their eyes.

Of course, the same rightier folks tend to accuse the left of being driven by the fear that someone who works harder/smarter has an unfair advantage over those with less ability. Which is just as much a "missing the forest for the leaves" thing on their part, IMHO, in that the principle most of the left is morally worked up about is that of equal treatment and opportunity under the law.

But of course, you may well disagree.
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russ: quo vadis
User: goulo
Date: 2010-02-01 09:20 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Keyword:quo vadis
> "Of course, the same rightier folks tend to accuse the left of being driven by the fear that someone who works harder/smarter has an unfair advantage over those with less ability."

The difference is:

I have heard many conservatives I've encountered in real life explicitly say that it's wrong for someone to get something they didn't personally work for and earn.

I.e. that characterization of conservatives seems to have a lot of truth to it.

But as far as I can honestly recall, I don't recall hearing anyone I've encountered in real life (left-wing or otherwise) saying that it's unfair that someone who works harder/smarter will earn more money or have more success in life than someone who doesn't. Indeed, most everyone I know (left-wing or otherwise) seems to believe that it's quite reasonable and fair that if someone works harder/smarter, then they might achieve more success than someone who doesn't.

I.e. that characterization of liberals seems to be a bogus straw-man caricature.
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User: lonfiction
Date: 2010-02-01 11:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
>But as far as I can honestly recall, I don't recall hearing anyone I've encountered in real life (left-wing or otherwise) saying that it's unfair that someone who works harder/smarter will earn more money or have more success in life than someone who doesn't.

One man's straw argument is likely another man's selection bias.

The concept that the rich should be taxed more is regularly trotted out by folks on the left--though you are probably right that "fear" isn't usually the emotion righties see attached to it. More often I have heard lefties make such statements with the air to it that righties take as "punish those who can to reward those who can't", or either basic envy.

(Note: I ain't sayin' I agree with this assessment, just pointing at the waypoint along the rift between Right and Left.)
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jtdiii
User: jtdiii
Date: 2010-01-30 04:40 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
What I find most amusing is that if you compare per capita taxes versus federal spending, you will quickly realize that the most conservative states screaming the loudest about how individuals should not be given money by the government, are the ones receiving the most money per individual for infrastructure and federal projects/bases/farm subsidies.

The majority of red states are net recipients of Federal money, while blue states are contributors. Talk about a welfare state.
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theresamather
User: theresamather
Date: 2010-01-30 04:58 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Yep, I live in one. Utahns constantly scream that blue states, especially California, are taking all their tax money, when in fact Utah slurps large amounts of tax money, far more than it pays in. They take it and then complain loudly about the people they take from, suggesting that the people they take from are really the ones taking from them. It's rather astounding to watch up close.
Our largest current local tax suck is a $200 million dollar airport to replace an existing one, but it will still feature one airline and one destination- Salt Lake City. It's an easy drive to Las Vegas airport and there are cheap daily shuttles to it so there isn't even a need for an airport in St. George at all. Of course the new deluxe terminal will have marble floors and a special greeting room for returning missionaries... and each of you contributed something like 40 cents to this glorious monument. But they still hate you for "taking" "their" tax money. :P
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Kenneth Mark Hoover
User: kmarkhoover
Date: 2010-01-30 18:24 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
It's just another manifestation of their lack of empathy, imo.
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