Mike Polioudakis, from “Democrats and Republicans”, Part 15
PART 15: MORE ON REPUBLICAN VIEWS
Republicans make people feel creepy even when we agree with some points. Republicans show some contradictions. They try to have it all ways on more fronts more often even than do Democrats. As a result, people don’t know how to take their points.
Heirs to Old Moral-Religious-Practical Authority and to Modern Economic Authority
As heirs of the old Conservatives, Republicans assert traditional moral-and-religious authority and the traditional authority on practical issues that comes with moral-and-religious authority. They can tell everybody else what is right and wrong, why it is right and wrong, if it came from God, and what works as a result of being right and wrong. As business boosters, Republicans also inherited the authority on practical matters that came from the original Liberal economists (roughly, before Keynes, and including select aspects of Keynes if you accept Nixon’s statement that “we are all Keynesians now”). They can tell everybody how to best run the economy and the country. The mix of traditional moral-and-religious authority, traditional practical authority, and modern authority about economics does not always work out. Traditional moral-and-religious authority and traditional practical authority always have potential to clash – morality versus practicality has some notorious issues that never go away. On top of that, traditional moral-and-religious authority mixed with modern practical authority almost are doomed to clash. Republicans can’t resolve these issues but they do try to have it both ways when contradiction comes up. When people see that, they feel creepy about Republicans.
Ideally, from both Democrats and Republicans, I would like (1) a set of important first principles such as “make sense” or “God said this”, from which I can get (2) some general rules such as “fairness” and “equal opportunity but not necessarily equal outcome”, and, from those, (3) decide particular cases such as whether to allow school vouchers for parents who send their children to private school and if the small nuclear family is absolutely basic, potentially universal, a moral imperative, and enough on which to build a nation. I don’t expect perfect consistency but I would like enough consistency so I can judge if arguments make sense to me. Nobody gets that from either Party. You don’t get perfect consistency from my basic principles and some following conclusions, as given in other work. Instead, from political parties, we get vague principles that can support about anything, often made up on-the-spot to support a position in a particular case that was decided for entirely different reasons such as to keep a client group. For reasons that become apparent, I want a bit more consistency from Republicans than Democrats but don’t get it. Without at least some “bare bones” consistency flowing from basic principles, we have to decide consistency in particular cases, which means we have to bicker endlessly about particular cases. I don’t know what to do about this annoying silliness except what I am doing in this paper.
The first question anybody always should ask any Republican: “What are you trying to conserve? What are you trying to preserve? Why that and not this? What is your hierarchy of values and of practical concerns?” You rarely get a coherent answer but it is still worth asking.
The second question applies to Republicans but not Democrats: “How does religion serve as the basis for what you are trying to conserve? What religion? What are its principles? How does what you are trying to conserve follow from the basic ideas of the religion? If you are trying to conserve something that does not follow from your religious views, what are we to make of this situation?”
The third question: “How is your religion, and what follows from it, compatible with the fact that other Republicans believe in other religions? Do all Republicans agree enough on all religions so that we can trust what you say about religion and real life to apply to all of them and to us? How does the fact that you rely on religion go along with the American Constitution and with modern plural democracies that feature many religions, many of which are not in the Judeo-Christian tradition? ”
The fourth question: “If the principles that you derive from your religion can serve as the basis for a modern plural democracy with many religions, then why not stand on the principles by themselves alone apart from any particular religion, including your own religion?”
It is not enough simply to hate Democrats and their schemes. It is not enough to support whoever fights Democrats and their schemes. It is not enough to be alright with whatever gets your kids good jobs. As a Republican, you really do have to answer the questions above.
What I Infer of Real Republican Ideas
If Republicans won’t tell us the exact links between God, morality, practicality, economics, and specific policies, then we have to infer their principles from what they do. We infer like that all the time as part of human life in various arenas. Most of what I infer is typical of well known powerful nation states of the past including Israel, Egypt, Rome, China, and England. It is easy to dismiss what I say as typical of a class analysis or Marxist analysis but, even my view coincides with other views, it does not mean what I say is wrong. What I say is true enough. Sometimes I speak in my voice but more often in the voice of a representative Republican. Here is what I infer:
-Continuity of us matters.
-We take seriously the ideas of Abraham Lincoln: America is a great experiment and it deserves to be carried on, by force if need be. Lincoln did not say it as we would say it now but it is clear that Lincoln believed in God and that America is an experiment by God. We are the stewards of God’s experiment. We must carry on America and must make America succeed. Many factors contribute to American success. Two of the factors are force and commercial business. If you wish to disbelieve this view, you have to re-think your attitude toward Lincoln and toward the American founders.
-For continuity of us, power matters. Power really matters. We need a resource base including both a material base and non-material base of relationships. To get and hold a resource base, we have to have power.
-Other people want a resource base, people in and out of America. There are not enough resources to support everyone in the world adequately. People who compete with us over resources are enemies. Our enemies want power and want to take the needed resources. It is unlikely that we can negotiate a lasting settlement that allows us and our enemies to share resources in a way that is mutually satisfying. We have to confront our enemies with superior power. There is no other way.
-To safeguard power and resources, we need a certain economic and social structure. It helps if the two kinds of structure reinforce each other. Capitalism gives us that combined structure.
-“Us” means, first, people who already own things and already have power, that is, the upper class and the upper middle class. Now “us” also means groups that we need as blocks of voters and activists to support the political process that keeps us in resources and power. So, in America, “us” now also means much of the middle class who are not aimed at feeling good through fake social justice, and most of the White working class. Later, “us” can include non-Whites if they rise enough in the class-power hierarchy and-or if they have enough numbers, as, for example, East Asians, South Asians (Indians and Pakistanis), and Hispanics.
-We have to lead America correctly. Nobody else can lead America correctly. We might not touch all the bases – that’s what Democrats are for sometimes – but we are the only ones who can keep the game going. We might have a few confusions but everybody else is caught up in ideological delusions about human nature and how a real economy works. Only we see human nature, society, and economy realistically. If you don’t see this then you cannot understand us.
-We see realistically and they cannot see realistically because we have inherited the wisdom of the old Conservatives, the wisdom of the business elite that evolved in the 1800s and 1900s, and God guides us when needed.
-If you don’t believe God guides us, and guides us more than them, then also you can’t really know us or the world. Unlike what TV preaches say, God does not send people to speak for him but uses tradition, Republican ideas, and Republican leaders. Few of our leaders are so crazy they think God directly uses them more than a few minutes out of their whole lives. It is not like that. It is steadier and requires a lot of work on the part of dedicated individuals. God gives us a mission where we have to fill in the details. Democrats, Feminists, some crazy people on the Religious Right, old Communists, Russian and Chinese Fascists, and some other political factions, might believe this about themselves but they are wrong and we are right. We are right because God has given us success so far. The best of our leaders are more servants and dedicated to service than they are demagogues, despite how the Left portrays us. We are comfortable with strong leaders but not demagogues.
-God’s principles are not always what the Religious Right says they are but that is close enough to offer for public view. We can figure out God’s principles for ourselves and follow them. The remaining points in this section give you a good idea of what we think. Our ideas are not so far from those of old Israel and young Christians. Like the good kings of Israel, our good leaders do not seek absolute power but seek only enough power to maintain a godly state; we accept God’s corrections. If we deviate from the principles of God far enough, God lets us know through problems for the country. So far, we have not deviated so far that God has abandoned America.
-To maintain our power coalition, we have to make clear that people not in the coalition are enemies of people who are in. Under capitalism in the United States, the poor, people with bad jobs, some working class people, and many non-Whites but especially Blacks, are out of our coalition. Even more, they are competitive enemies of some people in our coalition. They want to take away the power and resource base of the first “us”, and they want to take the jobs of more recent “us”.
-The working class and middle class people in our coalition fear the poor and non-Whites but many of us do not. It is a common misconception of Republicans that we hate anybody who is not us. That is not true. If the US were ever to get enough world resources and achieve enough lasting prosperity so that the poor, working class with bad jobs, and lower middle class were not a threat to the working class with good jobs and middle class, then everything would be fine with us. Then everybody would be on our side, and we could carry on together.
-Of course, many of the people in our coalition, including even upper middle class people, are so used to thinking of the poor and poorer working class as enemies, and thinking of non-Whites as enemies, that it might take generations of prosperity for them to think of all Americans as in the same boat. That kind of prosperity is not likely to happen soon.
-In the meantime, for the working class and middle class to have enemies makes them better for our needs and the needs of the nation. They are far more likely to work with us if they think the big threat comes not from us but from the people lower in the socio-economic hierarchy. The way that capitalism worked from about 1880 to 1945, and then again from about 1965 to 1995, that was true enough, and we used it to build the coalition that we needed.
-We are not selfish. What we do to help Republicans really does help America. America can be a nation devoted to social goodness, but, to do that, it has to be a nation and a strong nation. What we do also helps America to be a good strong nation and to be as just as any nation has ever been in the history of this world.
-Without what we do, do you think there would be much social justice? Social justice is not full and perfect in America and never will be. Even so, America, with all its flaws, comes closer than any nation has ever. Even the poor, lower working class, and all the non-Whites, really are better off if we keep our coalition together and help America than if we succumbed to false temptation about short term social justice and let America become weak. If America had to scratch for resources like France or England, do think there would be more or less social justice here? Democrats might understand this fact, and those that do understand won’t admit it, but a lot of working people and non-Whites understand and some even admit it.
-Sometimes the new Party members get out of control and elect weirdoes like Newt Gingrich or Donald Trump, but we can usually keep the Party and the country on track. We put the natural talents of men like Ronald Reagan to best use. We come back with leaders like George W. Bush (the son) and the men who served in his Cabinet.
-If, in the future, the security of the upper class and upper middle class in America becomes more tied to the security of similar classes in other nations than to the well-being of the middle class and working class in America, then we will work out another arrangement. We won’t utterly abandon Americans but we might have to get them used to a different standard of living, one that still fills their needs, but not one that promises opulence as a carrot.
-We need to understand that business has to go on. It can speed up as long as that doesn’t undermine Republican relations but it can’t slow down too much or for too long. To get and keep resources, and to get and keep the socio-economic system in America, business has to go on fast enough. Anything that threatens to slow it down too much threatens the whole system.
-It is not a case of a gradual getting smaller or slower. Rather, there is a threshold. Everything is pretty much alright until we get to the lower threshold, then the bottom falls out pretty fast, as in the Great Depression of 1929, or threatens to fall out, as in the Great Recession of 2007. It the economy slows down a little bit or speeds up a little bit above the threshold, that result is alright, as long as we always stay comfortably above the threshold. If a slow down brings us near the threshold, then something drastic has to happen such as a war.
-Also, it is only not a case of America being faster or slower while American capitalism stays above the threshold. In addition to staying above the threshold, America has to control enough resources so that it stays ahead of major competitors such as Russia and China. America not only has to stay ahead, it has to stay far enough ahead so they are never likely to catch up and so America can almost impose its will on a situation if needed. If we had less power than this, we soon would have no power. Then we could all live as clients of Vladimir Putin and enjoy Russian social justice.
People have to see many things that Republicans say and do in that light and in the light of preserving the sustaining socio-economic power relations and business. The truth or not-truth of any idea is less relevant than whether an idea threatens to slow down business so much that America falls behind China and Russia or slows down so much that it nears the threshold of strong concern. Republicans don’t usually offer anything out-and-out immoral, and they do try to offer things that Republicans basically believe in, but Republicans don’t offer any coherent overall ideology and people shouldn’t expect that. This might be the best answer to the four questions above.
Take global climate change for example. Who cares if it gets a few degrees warmer and some cities in the tropics have water problems? If the world gets warm enough, Canada will make a lot of money in agriculture, and Canada is a friend. If we try to reverse global warming, then we will have to change our economy so much so fast that it will put us at a temporary disadvantage against China, Russia, India, Brazil, and a few other countries. We can’t let that happen. We need to slow down. China is working on cleaner technology now. They got the ideas from us but they will develop the ideas faster because they want the credit and they want the jump on the market. When global changes are obvious, we are beginning to lose as a result of its impacts on us, and the technology exists to switch without much pain, then we will switch. We won’t lose a step. In the meantime, we deny global climate change as a short term strategy. Denying global climate change makes the anti-science pro-religious guys feel happy and it makes the business people feel we will always put them first. Some Republicans do feel stupid denying obvious scientific evidence but we are not scientists and so we can live with that. We can always show that we will accept scientific evidence when the case becomes clear enough.
Take the family as an example. The mythical TV family is one husband and one wife all through their lives, both live at home, the dad goes to work, the mom tends the home, and the biggest crisis for the kids is Susie’s hemline. Everybody knows this ideal is out of the reach of any but a small minority of families. Nowadays, even upper middle class moms have to work or want to work. Even in the past, this family was not typical of the upper class and upper middle class because of ties between families. It is not the typical family of ancient humans or the typical family in the Bible. But it is the family that makes life work best for the working class and middle class when things go well. It is a good ideal for them to strive for and a good ideal that they can use to assess other classes, other ethnic groups, and other religions. The poor and working class people with only bad jobs can’t possibly live this way. They have to adopt other strategies to survive including single parents and multiple spouses with blended families. Fine, if that means they continue to supply lost cost workers. It also means working class and middle class families can look down on the poor and on working class people with only bad jobs. Working class and middle class people can judge the other people and find them wanting not only in family life but morally and religiously. Those people live in broken families. Anybody who lives in broken families is broken morally and religiously as well. Those kind of people don’t deserve our help and they would only abuse our help if we give it to them. So, Republicans can support the idealized nuclear family because it helps keep the classes separated and at odds with each other, and it makes the steady working class and steady middle class even more our allies. Who cares how people really live as long as they live in ways that make sense in how we want society to run?
The same is true of gay marriage. It is a good tool whereby the working class and middle class can despise a big group of people and can use their attitude to unite among themselves and so support good Republican candidates. Who cares if gay people “shack up” and raise kids? They’ve been doing it for a long time and nobody cared that much in that many places until recently. Of course, if gay people do come to support Republicans because of our economic policy, and it turns out married gay couples turn out good Republican kids, then we might have to change our stance on gay marriage. It depends a lot on how “Millienials”, the new key voters, see the situation.
It is not that we don’t care at all how people live. It would be nice if everyone could have the American Dream and if everyone could have a good job with high pay and benefits – and also voted Republican, as likely they would then. But as long as that can’t be, then we have to pay attention to how the classes fall out and interact, we have to make sure the dominants among the lower classes and middle classes come over to our side, and we have to make sure they go along with us. It is not that hard and it does do the most good given reality.
-People misunderstand the Republican position on happiness in America and on social programs. When we say we want people to be happy and modestly prosperous, we mean it. When we say we don’t want people to suffer needlessly, we mean it. When we say we want people to advance according to ability, training, and drive, we mean it. It’s just that, in the real world, things don’t turn out that way as much as people can imagine. We have to take things as they are in the real world and make the best of that. Social programs help a little, and we are glad of that much help, but they hurt more than they help, and so we have to stop that damage to America. We have to deal with things as they really turn out, not as we can imagine them. In stopping obviously bad social programs, we again help the steady working class and middle class against the poor and the unsteady working class.
-Think about the social programs of the 1950s through early 1970s. Look up the record. We were not against those programs. The Republican Party as a whole did not endorse the Goldwater Right of the 1950s and 1960s. We are not Birchers. We supported modest social programs. As Republicans like to say every chance we get, President Nixon created the Environmental Protection Agency. We were the Party of Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Rockefeller, and the Doles more than of Ronald Reagan or the Religious Right. We like to conserve nature, and not just so we can hunt ducks. But after the programs got going, people abused them. People took more than they should; stayed on programs rather than go back to work; did not get useful training; and three times as many people, or ten times, got on programs than programs could sustain. We can’t do that; we can’t put up with that. This judgment is more practical than moral here but it is both and has to be both. Some Republicans predicted that outcome but we had to go along with the rest of the country to try the experiment. When the experiment largely failed, then we had to accept and use that result too. The working people and middle class people who had to bear the brunt of support for the programs began to hate the programs and the people in them. So Republicans did what we could to turn the overall situation to the good of the country. We attracted the disgruntled mostly White and Asian people into the Party. We pointed out that the programs did more harm than good. We condemned the moral quality of people in the programs. We condemned the costs and unfairness – and the programs really are costly and unfair. We made a show of not funding and of cutting back whenever we could. We did not create that conflict; if anybody created it, the Democrats and their clients did. But we could use the gift when it came. It was a gift not just for us but for the whole nation.
If we could develop limited programs that actually work, do not balloon up, and really train American workers for the jobs that American can hold in the future, at appropriately limited salaries, then we Republicans would go for those programs.
-We have to be careful with programs like Social Security and “Obama” Care. In fact, correctly managed, those programs can help the steady working class and middle class and can turn them to the Republican Party. We don’t really want to destroy those programs. We don’t really want to destroy Social Security just to pacify a few up-and-coming-go-getter “Millenials”. Now that we have socialized medicine, we don’t really want to destroy the system. We do want to manage socialized medicine so White steady working people and middle class people (and maybe East Asian, South Asian, and some Hispanics) get enough care when they need it but so that working people with bad jobs and poor people don’t so much care, and drive up prices so far, that they endanger the steady working class and middle class. We have to remind the steady working class and the middle class that the poor and the unsteady working class are trying always to get more medical care and to make the steady working class and the middle class pay for it.
-Contrary to what people think, Republicans don’t hate anyone just because of his-her race, skin color, gender, religion, or national origin. What matters is whether you agree with our view and you are in a position to aid. It also helps if you have a stake in the game that is similar to our stake, that is, you are in the comfortable middle class, upper middle class, or upper class. You don’t have to be rich. You can be in the military or academia. We are comfortable with Blacks with this status. Republicans are nervous around Blacks for some of the reasons described below but mostly because too many Blacks won’t see (not merely can’t, but won’t) that there is no way completely out of class-based relations, and that class and race have overlapped for all of human history.
It is possible to separate class and race but that would mean a different system that we have in the United States.
We could work toward that different system but only if Black leaders and Black people in general would accept the realities of the world and would help us keep security for America and everyone in it.
It is almost impossible to sort people out by talent individually. Almost always class has a group effect such as through race or religion. So we would need another basis for moving people to the class of the poor and insecure working people, a basis such as religion or another race. This does not mean that all people of any one particular race or religion would be poor or that all people of any one race or religion would be middle class. Race and religion would be factors but Black would not be as big a factor as it is now. All this would be hard to do in America now.
Black people will not see this reality about class, and, until they do see this, little more can be done, and likely Blacks won’t get what they want. Poor Whites, Hispanics, and Native Americans get this picture clearly.
We could make America so prosperous in general and offer enough opportunity that to be a poor child would not mean to suffer greatly or not to have your talent recognized. Honestly, Republicans would look forward to that system. But we are far from that now.
We would have to undo the relations that grew in the 1970s when Blacks became enemies with secure working class and middle class Whites, Asians, and Hispanics. Now, after forty years, undoing the 1970s would be harder than finding a system to give good opportunity to all children, even the children of the poor, without also supporting their obnoxious parents.
-So far, Republican points have been give more from a practical than a moral view but we should not overlook the moral heritage from the old Conservatives or overlook the role that belief in our relation to God plays.
-People move toward-or-away from a socio-economic class not only because of their talent, training, drive, background, and the forces of class dynamics but also due to their character, attitude, customs, and habits, that is, their morality. It is not only prejudice that keeps people poor and badly employed but more so their morality. People do have to overcome class barriers, but people with the right moral character often can do so, not all the time but often enough so prejudice and class inertia are not the decisive factors now. The decisive factors now are moral. People with a bad moral character sometimes do rise up, at least for a while, but they do not stay there long.
The people who rise and who stay high, and who give the benefit of a good start to their children, have a good moral character. People can see a good moral character. People who already have made it help people with a good moral character and they do not help, or hinder, people with a bad moral character. Thus, people of a good moral character succeed and people of a bad moral character fall back, and the process feeds on itself. This is as it should be.
-Critics say we blame the victim and we are racist. The critics are wrong. The critics turn a blind eye to reality and they serve modern political correctness for their own gain. Kinds of character run in groups. The kind of moral character that people wish to associate with is more common in some groups. The kind of moral character that people wish to avoid is more common in some groups. That leads some groups to be more successful and some groups to be less successful. Once that pattern gets going it tends to be stable. You can’t blame the people who wish to be around morally decent people and who wish to avoid hurtful people with inadequate morals. There is no point here going through the traits that make good moral character and bad moral character, or listing which groups tend to have more of some traits than other traits. Open your own eyes. Be honest for a change.
We are not saying moral character is written into the genes. Wherever it comes from, it can change. If bad moral character persists it is because people choose to carry on bad moral character. So, change it. If you want to succeed, develop good moral character and suppress bad moral character. Change your group and let everybody see the change clearly enough and long enough to trust the change.
-Groups with good moral character succeed and groups with bad moral character fail because people-in-general-with-good moral-character reward other people with good moral character and hurt others people with bad moral character. It is not only in that way that some groups succeed or fail. If you take God seriously, whether in Judeo-Christian-Muslim books or in books by Chinese and Indians, over time God rewards groups in which good moral character prevails and God punishes groups in which bad moral character prevails. People do God’s work when they help out a person with good moral character and when they avoid people of bad moral character. Good people helping good people and not helping bad people is God’s way of enforcing his moral law. If your group is failing in modern America with all its opportunities, then look to the moral character of your group and heed the lesson in the holy books about moral character. It is hard to hold to the holy books and still say moral character is not a big cause of your group’s success or failure and a big cause of the success or failure of other groups. If you insist moral character is not a cause of success or failure, if you insist moral character does not vary by group, or you insist that mere prejudice is stronger than moral character, then you deny the holy books and you do not really believe in God.
-In explaining the failure of social programs above, mostly the practical failure came to the fore. It is worth pointing out the moral failure. The programs cost more than they bring benefit by any rational measure of cost and benefit. Put that aside.
-Now apply this lesson to America as a whole, especially America versus other nations, and keep in mind the fact that America is a great experiment in goodness, likely launched by God. If America has the right moral character, it will succeed, likely more than other nations. If America has the wrong character, it will fail, or fail more than other nations. If other nations have a better moral character than America, they will do better than America.
We have to look over the long haul. If at any one time America has some problems and other nations seem to rise, as China in 2018, that outcome is not necessarily because America has a moral character inferior to the average moral character in China. It is because America needs to make adjustments, as God had Israel make adjustments. When America makes adjustments, it will get back on track and do well again.
-We do not define what doing well means. It does not mean merely to conquer the world by force. It does mean to be a moral example to the world. It also means more than a mere moral example as Israel was a moral example but was more than a mere moral example and as the Christian Church was a moral example but Christendom came to be much more than a mere moral example.
-We know that a group can claim its own moral character is best, pick what characters to call “moral” or “immoral”, and use its made-up superior character to justify its acts, good and bad. We don’t do that nearly as much as our critics say we do and not nearly as much as they do. Our use of moral character is not a backwards way of justifying what we wish to do for other reasons. If that was how we used moral character, we could call anything moral that was to our practical benefit. But we don’t use “moral” in that way. Our moral character often requires sacrifice of some practical benefit. We have a list of moral features laid out for us in God’s holy books and the tradition of the Church, including the Jewish Church, Christian Church, and Muslim Church. We can even learn God’s lesson in the holy books of the Chinese and Indians. We have to conform to ideas of morality laid out by God. We cannot use our own ideas of morality to justify what we wish to do for mere power or wealth. If we do that, as Israel did, then God will make us fail. Republicans who do that should fail.
-We know that other people say we pick and choose from the holy books to justify what we wish to call moral and wish to do such as national military service, and we pick and choose so as to condemn what other people call moral and wish to do such as gay sex. We know there is enough variety in the holy books to support this kind of picking and choosing. We Republicans admit to doing this a little bit, but everybody does it, and we do it less than most. We try to be consistent with ideas of good character and good institutions now that would have made sense to Burke in 1810. We know when people who call themselves Rightists pick and choose from the Bible for their own ends and we condemn them as loudly as Democrats condemn them. Think of how many Democrats have abused the story of the Exile (Captivity) in Babylon to justify the plight of a minority client or of women when really that story does not fit them and other stories fit them better.
-We know quite well that the Old Testament (Tanakh) and New Testament call for social justice yet some groups, mostly clients of Democrats such as Blacks and women, accuse us of not paying enough attention to those passages and not caring about social justice. We don’t want to punish the poor for being poor. We don’t want to punish the poor because we think all poor people are immoral and we want to punish bad people. We don’t want to take away the “widow’s mite” to give it to a rich guy. We read the story of King David and the lamb. We don’t want to make the rich guy richer just because we think rich is moral, and we don’t want to make the rich guy richer buy taking from the poor. We would like social justice too. If you can devise programs that lead to social justice but don’t lead to abuse that causes even more harm, we would go along with those programs. The programs have to bring more to the country than they cost, measured in terms of money or GDP. The programs have to not erode character by letting people sponge off their fellows, breaking up the family, setting bad examples, teaching children to be dependants, and setting the stage for other immoral behavior like drug abuse. If programs can’t make both those kinds of goals, then the poor, in America, get far more social justice without state help than with state help. You really have to look a little further.
-We know other people look at Republicans as if we all suffer from “preacher’s daughter” syndrome, that we are all like the preacher in “The Scarlet Letter” who knocks up Hester and then preaches strict morality from the pulpit, we all have a stick up our ass, and we are all moral hypocrites. We all secretly drink, smoke pot, gulp pills, gamble, and screw around but we want to put the poor in jail for twenty years for looking at a pill. If we are moral, it is because we don’t want to get caught being hypocrites and not because we really are moral or we want to set a good example. If you are poor, then pot is a gateway drug but if you are rich it is a little harmless fun. If you are poor, then pot is a sign of general moral decay while if you are rich then a few pain pills is just another way to unwind after a long week serving your country by getting richer. In a rich family, any slightly risqué fun is only that but in a poor family it is a sign that the whole family is degenerate and the kids will all wind up drug addict creeps on welfare. If you are a poor single mother with a boyfriend then you are a slut and you will teach your daughters to be sluts but if you are a rich guy with a mistress it is because your wife is too concerned with charity work. Some of this portrait is true but not as much as you think.
Again, we would like to find the right line between moral and not, and the right grey zone in between where people can have fun but not do any permanent damage. In most states, we let the people have a lottery. Eventually, Republicans will go along with legalized pot and not only because it makes money but because we are sure pot is not more harm than fun. Again, the problem with shady stuff is that a little means a lot, and the slide down the slippery slope is a more likely among poor people and working people than among the upper middle class, and the slide does more damage among poor and working people than among the upper middle class. I don’t need to go into details and I won’t.
We enforce morality because the people in general need morality. The people in general are better off with more morality than less morality. The people in general do stand in danger of sliding down slippery slopes morally and they will suffer a lot if they do slide down. Black preachers with poor and working class congregations preach the same kind of morality that we do because they know the danger. The poor stand more in danger of free fall, and from free fall, than do the middle class and upper middle class. Liberal middle class parents, after they get out of college, and once they get married and have kids, preach the same kind of morality as Republicans, and they want to make sure their kids don’t go so far as to fall. If you can find a way to keep kids in general from scrambling their brains and learning lifelong bad habits without preaching morality then you don’t live in the real world.
-President George H.W. Bush hated the abortion issue. I leave the whole hassle at that.
-We do know that the justice system has a small bias against the poor, working class, and non-Whites non-Asians. If you can find a way to make the justice system absolutely fair and that also gives judges enough discretion to carry out their job properly, then let us know. The discretion of judges also helps the poor. Per person, poor people and working people do more crimes than middle and upper middle class people, and do more crimes where they are likely to get caught such as walking around with drugs in their pockets or driving around with drugs in the car. Just because grandma won’t let you smoke pot in the house does not mean you can do it in the car. On weekend nights, a police officer is guaranteed to bust four people every time he-she stops a rolling boom box. Poor kids and working class kids get caught more often, and get longer terms, because they are more into crime. When a judge sees a non-White non-Asian kid, the judge gives him a tough sentence because, in the back of his mind, the judge thinks the kid did five crimes without getting caught besides this one the kid got arrested for. It is only human to think like that. Black people think about White people like that but have different crimes in mind. Old people in bad places love “stop and frisk”, hate when the police don’t “stop and frisk”, and crime goes up when the police don’t “stop and frisk”. If we can stop a kid when all he-she does is smoke pot, before he-she gets into serious drugs and crime, and ruins his-her character, then we will do that. A few months in “juvy” or on probation is not a big price to pay for getting your moral character and your life straight.