Oh my goodness… Republicans are attempting to rebrand themselves as compassionate conservatives (again)… shades of George W. Bush. “Compassionate conservatism” as a theme and rallying cry seem to arise after Republicans have taken rhetoric to such an extreme that the country is disgusted and the party fears citizens will push them and their nasty ideology of unbridled greed and hate aside. George W. Bush famously resorted to the term campaigning for president after Republicans disgraced themselves with anti-Clinton conspiracy theories, witch hunts, and the unpopular impeachment.
Of course, Bush is better known for wasting trillions of dollars and killing more than a hundred-thousand lives in Iraq, failing citizens injured during Katrina, and the financial collapse of the U.S. and world economies.
And now we have a budget “deal,” courtesy of Paul Ryan, that drops unemployment benefits for 1.3 million long-term unemployed. Earlier, Senator Rand Paul said helping the unemployed does them a “disservice” because it keeps them from getting jobs.
Last month the Washington Post published, “Paul Ryan, GOP’s budget architect, sets his sights on fighting poverty and winning minds,” and portrayed Ryan as attempting to steer Republicans away from the angry Tea Party and toward a “more inclusive vision.” Right. The Paul Ryan of the infamous “Ryan Budget” — also called the “Path to Prosperity” and passed by House Republicans — that privatizes Medicare, repeals Wall Street regulation, wipes out student loan programs, repeals Obamacare, guts Social Security, and dramatically reduces taxes for the “deserving” wealthy and corporations.
That Paul Ryan hardly seems “compassionate” — well not to those who actually want to see all citizens doing better, and at least not toward anyone making less than half a million a year.
One need only seek the source of Ryan’s personal philosophical motivation (his love affair) to understand his deep psychological dysfunction and the reason why he can create such absurd rationalization’s for his priorities. Ryan said it himself, “[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand.”
Who is Ayn Rand, and what is the philosophy of this person Ryan calls a “thinker?”
Ayn Rand’s philosophy actually says it is not only bad for society, but morally wrong to help other people because it makes them “dependent” — sound like familiar rhetoric? Rand’s philosophy says that,
- altruism is evil, and that…
- democracy (which they call “collectivism”) is the ultimate expression of this evil because it brings about a society in which government works to make people’s lives better.
Rand’s, Ryan’s, and current Republican philosophy says that,
- “individualism” — looking out for oneself only—is the moral principle that should rule society, not democracy…
- a “utopia of greed” is most humanly liberating… I suppose they might better claim it’s “compassionate greed,”
- there are but a few “producers” or “makers,” and the rest of citizens are “parasites” or “takers” who live off of the producers,
- Collectivism, or democracy, is bad because the many underserving takers can vote to do things like make the producers pay taxes so regular people can live better.
I’m sure there must be a few ways Paul Ryan and the Republicans can form a philosophy of “compassionate conservatism” out of their core belief that altruism and democracy are not just wrong for people and society, but are actually evil. And, I’m sure some citizens will fall for the ploy. Recall that many slaves during the Civil War supported the South, and even after, refused to leave their plantations.
But here is what compassionate conservatives like Ryan intend in the pursuit of “Randian” Liberty…
- they say that giving the big corporations more tax breaks, subsidies, no-bid contracts, etc. will load them up with so much money that they will just have to use some of it to hire people… eventually, and…
- when they say they want to overhaul federal health and retirement programs they mean
- cut Medicare (healthcare for the elderly),
- cut Medicaid (healthcare for the poor),
- eliminate Obamacare (healthcare for the rest of us) and
- destroy Social Security (retirement)
An evergreen Republican mantra is that government is too big, so it must be cut. What they mean by this is not cutting the huge, bloated, astronomical, sky-high military budget (we spend more on weapons and preparing for destruction than all other nations combined). They mean they want to cut out the things government does to make our lives better, like assistance for the needy, sick, disabled, elderly and unemployed. And get rid of the minimum wage, child labor laws, equal pay for women, workplace safety rules, etc.
So, “Compassionate Conservatism” is a euphemism for Libertarian Individualism that enshrines destruction of society, the commons, the middle-class, and then purchases only further means of destruction through a vast and powerful military power.
Frankly, I only see psychological dysfunction in any of this, in the Libertarian philosophy. I wonder what depravity in formative years leads to such a condition?
Quite the love affair with Ayn Rand utopianism. God help us all.