Liberals, Finis, part i (Promiscuous Compassion)

The most fundamental difference between American liberals and conservatives is in what they believe about their compassionate obligations to others. This may seem an odd characteristic for me to pick since liberals and conservatives mostly seem to share the same core belief: I have a deep moral obligation to help those who are suffering and needy, whoever and wherever they are.

(Before I continue, fair warning that my Objectivist roots will be exposed in this post, so don’t bother accusing me of being an Ayn Rand fanboy. Damn straight I am. But I will try to refrain from using these words or phrases:

  •  depraved
  • willful evasion
  •  only those who…
  • and, drumroll, please, the archetype of Randian smite-speech:  There (is/can be) no greater (depravity/crime/abdication/evasion/immorality) than to…. )

I call this sense of moral obligation to the less fortunate Promiscuous Compassion, or PC. It is the excuse for every liberal power-grab. Without exception. If you learn how to deal with this, you have learned how to deal with every stupid thing liberals say and propose. If you undermine this in a liberal’s mind, you plant cancer in a liberal’s ideological brain stem. If you undermine this in a conservative’s mind, you plant self-respect.

Conservatives have a hard time arguing with liberals in a way that convinces bystanders. Conservatives typically cede moral high ground right at the beginning of the argument, and then have to work hard to take it back.

Typical Liberal: “Conservatives would let babies starve in the streets rather than pay a little extra in taxes to help them!”

Typical Conservative Response: “No, we wouldn’t! We just think it’s not the role of government/government will make it worse, etc.”

Typical Liberal: “Ok, what if the churches and voluntary organizations don’t feed all the starving street babies, then is it OK for government to step in?”

Typical Conservative Skulking Away: “Well, yeah, I guess, I mean there has to be some kind of minimum safety net…”

Let’s rewind that and do it over HLET-style:

Typical Liberal: “Conservatives would let babies starve in the streets rather than pay a little extra in taxes to help them!”

HLET Response: “That’s why I like conservatives better than liberals. Conservatives don’t stick mop-handles up starving babies’ butts and wave them around like a flag.”

Typical Liberal: “How much have you had to drink?”

Neither conservatives nor liberals come anywhere close to living up to their self-imposed PC obligations. Because it’s impossible to do so without living an absurd, miserable life. I’m not saying that conservatives get 50% of the way there and liberals get to 70%, I’m saying neither gets to 1%. Taken seriously, PC means that it is wrong for you to spend your resources, however acquired, on luxuries while anyone else lacks necessities.

Even the most weepy American liberal will dine at a fine restaurant without feeling guilty about the fact that the money he spent could have, quite literally, prevented some child somewhere from dying. He’ll even do it with a sense of self-righteousness if the Brie and Chardonnay are being inhaled at a fundraiser where the homeless would be beaten and tossed out by private security if they dared crash the $1,00-a-plate gate closed against them in their honor.

Same goes for a conservative going through the drive-through at KFC because she feels too tired to cook for her brats. She could eat much more cheaply at home and send the extra $10  to that dying kid who is no more and no less precious in God’s eyes than her own brood of overfed plushly upholstered little monsters. She could subscribe to several of Sally’s kids if she’d sell the plasma TV that keeps her own birth control failures entertained while she surfs for rescue dates on

I won’t spend much more time trying to screw in this light bulb. It will either come on for you or it won’t:

It’s not your obligation to fix every misfortune or injustice in the world. You can spend money on your TV, Thanksgiving dinner, a nice vacation and renovating your deck while knowing that the money could have made a dent or even a big difference in keeping a starving child from expiring, or a wrongly imprisoned man from being executed. You should not feel even a soupçon of guilt for not helping those who most need help.

So what should you feel? Not indifference, that’s for sure. I’m saying guilt is not the right thing to feel if you don’t help. I’ll take that up next. For now, I’ll just tease it by saying that conservatives feel guilty for not being helpful enough, and liberals focus mostly on trying to make other people feel guilty for not giving enough.

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