I am, in most things, liberal because to my mushy eyes, the American "welfare state" has been (mostly) a success. Not a big fan of government, but a believer that some things are best done together, rather than individually.
History is quite clear about what happens when the "haves" don't bother to take care of the "have nots," or even the "have somes": Rule by the rich, the few, who will, eventually, lose control, often violently.
But as diehard conservatives insist we move from America's New Deal ethic into Ayn Rand Adventure Land — minimal taxes; everyone out for themselves — I can't imagine why they think our (far from perfect) system has been so awful.
After all, since Roosevelt, the United States has won the only war that really mattered, blasted into the economic stratosphere, raised standards of living, cultivated the middle class (that powerful antidote to pluto-oligarchy), become a technological Godzilla, and built the most dominant (if excessive) military in history.
Gee, what a trainwreck.
But people like change, I guess, and these days we seem to be demanding it regardless of the likely consequences.
In Missouri, Gov. Matt Blunt piously declares that raising taxes on "hard-working families" is immoral even as he strives to eliminate Medicaid services for the poor. This Christian politician seems to have missed one of Jesus's most oft-repeated messages: Take care of the poor.
In Kansas, the state board of education proposes redefining science as "a systematic method of continuing investigation" that does not limit its inquiry to the natural world. Under such Dark Ages claptrap, the "supernatural" would be fair game in Kansas science classes.
The supernatural they are after, of course, is God. But thousands of years of inquiry have not brought "naturalistic" proof of God, and good, old-fashioned faith has had to suffice. And once you open the door to the supernatural, what's to stop a kid from writing a biology paper on werewolves, unicorns or Oz?
I keep wondering if these people even "believe" in science, and if they are willing to eschew the medicine and technology — produced by "naturalistic" science — that has granted them such cushy lives.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration is in high dudgeon over a Newsweek item about alleged "Quran abuse" at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A small item, since retracted (though it's bolstered by substantial evidence), "caused" Muslim riots in Afghanistan, according to the Bush spin.
Now the White House, ignoring the undisputed abuse and murder of Muslims by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, is playing the schoolmarm, telling Newsweek it has blood of 16 Muslims on its hands.
No mention of the tens of thousands of Muslims killed in ill-advised military actions, or the 1,622 U.S. troops killed (and more than 10,000 casualties) in Iraq because of much more egregious "errors" by our elected armchair gladiators.
And if we are to believe Newsweek is to blame for these deaths, then why aren't we blaming loudmouth ideologues in Congress for the dangers faced by judges who don't rule as some think they should? Following the tragic Terri Schiavo case, for example, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) suggested that we can hardly blame wackos for going after judges when they don't like their rulings.
Chicago Judge Joan H. Lefkow, whose husband and mother were murdered by a lunatic who didn't like her dismissal of his malpractice suit, chastised the agitators last week. Such rhetoric, she said, "can only encourage those who are on the edge ... to exact revenge on a judge who displeases them."
But our outrage is now selective, directed by people drunk on their vision of an America unfettered by collective responsibility, a society ruled by belief over facts, a judiciary beholden to party politics, and a foreign policy that may make us feel like kick-ass warriors from afar, but in fact makes the world more dangerous.
Call me what you will, but what, exactly, is so appealing about that grand vision?
Contact Clay Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2005 Daily Camera