If you read the popular progressive literature, you would come to believe that only progressives actually care about other people. It’s a startling observation, no? There’s no reason to try to rebut this aside from its obvious absurdity.
Do most people actually care about other people in the first place? Regarding the progressives, a group with which I used to have much sympathy and continue to be fascinated by, if you examine the disgust and vituperation steaming off of their web pages for anyone who is NOT a progressive, it sure seems hard to believe they care about anyone other than their small group of wonks. Lord forbid anyone utter the word “conservative” or “libertarian” in their presence – the spears and arrows soon come out. And let’s not talk about “the rich?” If a group of folks wanted to champion itself as actually giving a hoot about humanity, it sure is odd to see them treat some portions of humanity as subhuman – if I were into analogies now would be a perfect time, but it would be lost on folks and likely misinterpreted. Let’s just say such treatment is reminiscent of how certain groups of people are claimed to be treated by none other than the progressives. What is particularly odd about the progressives is that their worldview seems to rule out the possibility that there are actually some poor conservatives and libertarians out there, that there are actually some underrepresented conservatives and libertarians out there, and that when blanket statements like, “Conservatives believe …!” (they KNOW this because a ridiculously put together poll says so) they therefore are calling every single conservative and libertarian similar, and not worthy of individual consideration. Strange for a group that supposedly champions the opposite.
NOTE: this is not a particularly generous assessment and commits the very “group” association of all “progressives” as being the same that I quite abhor. I think grammatically we need to come up with a way to talk about “a prominent theme that is encountered by public representatives of a group of people who like to fancy themselves by a particular name …” but that’s a little cumbersome.
What, exactly, does “working class” mean? I have a funny feeling that I am not included among this group. I wonder if my more progressive colleagues would be honored with the label?
I’d like to start a new movement. It’s the “what, exactly, do you want?” movement. When I hear someone railing against some condition or some supposedly ignorant thought that a group of people hold or propose some policy, I want to see people say exactly what it is that they want. I want to see, for example, what kind of pay distribution they think is OK. I want to see what people are permitted into what occupations and at what levels, and I want to see it in fine detail. I want to see people say exactly who should pay more in taxes, who exactly should be more regulated, on a very detailed basis. So, if you think “the rich” should nonetheless do more, I want you to say how much more, I want you to investigate my current income, my current assets and spending habits and tell me what ought to go. I want to see folks apply every bit of the logic that they apply to broadly defined and fuzzily observed groups down to themselves, and if their ideas are not applied consistently to themselves I’d like to see why they are exempt from it. After all, in the context of the global poor and global inequality, even the most moderate apportioned of Americans is disgustingly rich and part of the “global 1%.” When I hear arguments that the minimum wage should be increased, I want people to go into the small stores and shops that have workers, identify who is underpaid and why they are underpaid, and tell the shop owners that they must pay all of their workers more, and to tell them why this is so, and tell them why as entrepreneurs that they have an extra responsibility to pay people more while the wonks and really serious people get to tap away at their keyboards demanding it all the while not hiring a single person themselves. And more. It will never happen of course.
I am very much in favor of a generous welfare state. I’d change it of course, but I am myself skeptical that the changes I prefer would actually be an improvement on what we have now. I’ve been wrong about a few things in the past too. I would wish, on this labor day, for people to admit they might not know how to do things, and that they have been wrong in the past. I’d like them to mean it. It will never happen of course.
I am very much in favor of a generous welfare state. Among the changes I’d like to see are cultural ones. I would start by inculcating in all people that sure you may be entitled to “help” by some moral philosophy, but that there are conditions upon which your entitlement should be granted, including among them gratitude and a requirement that you actually ASK for the help that you will be getting, and that this is not a one-shot deal. Of course, this will never happen.