Much surprises my students. I’m sure their parents, in many cases, would be equally surprised. Each year I teach a unit on the media. Among the first things I must teach—along with a bit of media history—are the two basic American political philosophies: conservative and progressive. I know there are more and various shades of each, but roll along with me, please.
It is necessary to cover these philosophies because my 15-year-old students, virtually without exception, know nothing about these philosophies. They might know their parents are Republicans or Democrats, but have little or no idea what that means, or the implications of those political beliefs. They usually have some idea of their own philosophical leanings, but can’t politically categorize them. Most don’t know whether they are Republican or Democrat. As much as some teenagers prize being rebellious, most are pretty conventional.
The answers to this question are always revealing: “who gives more to charity, conservatives or progressives?” Most of the kids think, due to general media indoctrination, that progressives are far more generous. Progressives are commonly portrayed as caring deeply for the poor, minorities, any favored victim group, while evil Republicans hate such people, want to throw grandma off a cliff, want to poison the air and water, etc. They’re shocked when I point out the conventional wisdom is wrong. Evil Republicans like Dick Cheney give millions to charities, while progressive demi-gods give, if anything, a pittance. In 2005, the Cheneys gave 77% of their income to charity–$6,8000,000. In 1997, Al gore donated $353. Joe Biden, from 2009 to 2012 gave $16,710.
In this, socialist democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is conventional. From Powerline:
SANDERS TO CHARITIES: DROP DEAD
From a 1981 New York Times story, revealing Bernie Sanders as the full totalitarian he is underneath his ‘democratic’ socialism:
For the kickoff of the 40th annual Chittenden County United Way fund-raising drive in Burlington, Vt., the sponsors considered themselves fortunate to have as guests Mayor Bernard Sanders of Burlington and Gov. Richard Snelling of Vermont. . .
‘I don’t believe in charities,’ said Mayor Sanders, bringing a shocked silence to a packed hotel banquet room. The Mayor, who is a Socialist, went on to question the ‘fundamental concepts on which charities are based’ and contended that government, rather than charity organizations, should take over responsibility for social programs.
There you have it. Given than so many charities are left-leaning, it is revealing to see how much Sanders hates competition of any kind.
The problem is not competition, though leftists abide no other philosophies, particularly any that enhance individual freedom at the expense of the power of the state. Is Sanders just a cheapskate? If he cares so much for the poor and disadvantaged, shouldn’t he be willing to put his money where his sentiments are?
Of course not.
Progressives believe that government should be solely responsible for providing for the needs of the poor, therefore, there is no need for any individual progressive to donate to charity. Their task, rather, is to encourage and support an all-wise and loving government in taking an ever-increasing share of the earnings of American citizens to give to progressive’s favored victim groups–and current political cronies.
What sacrifice is there, what nobility, in involuntarily seizing the earnings of the hard working and giving them to the far less deserving? Progressives think themselves highly moral for their willingness and imagined ability to discriminate between those deserving of the wealth of others and those that are not. Obviously, those willing to spend the money of others are far more evolved beings than evil Republicans who resist such urges, wastefully choosing to give their own money to people that aren’t progressively certified as deserving. Only the elite know how to properly use the money of others and political power.
Another facet of Sanders’ aversion to charities is that legitimate charities tend to be private, non-profit enterprises, for the most part beyond the control of government. They, not government, determine their policies. They, not government, disburse funds and services. In properly run charities, there is little or no opportunity for graft or political favor trading.
Conservatives, general believers in small government, believe that it is the duty of the individual, not government, to help others. And so they do, outstripping Progressives by enormous margins in charitable donations. It’s not even close.
True virtue lies in willing self sacrifice, in seeing those in need, and giving freely of one’s time and resources to help. Clearly, there will be no such virtue in a Sanders’ administration.
Margaret Thatcher was right. The ultimate problem with socialism is you always run out of other people’s money, but not virtue. Socialists, like “The Bern,” have none to begin with.
Other than some surprise, what is the reaction of your students?
Mike McDaniel said:
I’m not quite following you. Reaction to what, exactly?
Do they get it? Small government vs. an expansive, over-reaching government? Self reliance vs submissive dependence? One of the most instructive moments I had with my son (regarding such things) was encouraging him to write his high school civics paper on The Contract with America. We discussed all 10 (?) points and the reasons for a them. Now, while underemployed in Austin, he is still a solid conservative. He got it.
Mike McDaniel said:
Ah! Now I understand. After discussing the general beliefs of progressives v conservatives, the overwhelming majority of my kids understand themselves to be conservatives. I suspect this is mostly because they are relatively small town Texans, where hard work, making your own way, and valuing being left alone by government are commonly held beliefs. That’s why so many are moving to Texas. It works.
I think he means reaction to the truth about socialism and liberalism. The reaction to hearing that the evil and wicked Darth Cheney gave millions to charity while our current dictator of the closest golf course gives pocket change. The reaction to Free Stuff For All Bernie thinks government should be one big charity to the causes government thinks are worthy.
My own kids were brought up through the public system. Its only because I would explain the way real life works compared to the pie in the sky bull being taught that they all vote conservative now as young adults. Over hearing some of the conversations between them and their friends makes me laugh sometimes as I hear things I taught them come out.
I’m amazed that your allowed to teach these young minds of mush. Thankfully a few good teachers, like you, slip through the cracks to offset the full on push to liberalism. Hopefully your students remember some of the conservative values you have brought to the classroom as they move on through life. I know looking back that the teachers and professors I remember in a positive light were the very few who weren’t straight up Bernie’s.
Mike McDaniel said:
That’s very kind of you. I do what I can.
Of course, the over-riding principle being “what the gov’t giveth, the gov’t can taketh away”. Which is how you maintain control over the people.
Of course, the elites have no such worries, because some are more equal than others.
Mike McDaniel said:
Quite so. Any government big enough to give you everything is big enough to take it away, particularly if the Second Amendment is effectively repealed.
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