Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Your Standards Are Not Your Own

The other day, I posted a long screed over at The Declination. That, in itself, is not unusual. I am prone to long, meandering topics and generally use my own forum for those. However, our curmudgeon had a very thought-provoking reply in the comments section which demanded a further expansion. It seemed that this was the appropriate venue for it.

The meat of the reply was contained in this quotation:
The assumption is this: You are not permitted your own standards. We, the Left, will set them, and you are required to meet them.
You can see this phenomenon played out everywhere in popular culture today. Fire up social media and see arguments between Rightists and Leftists about, say, poverty. Or inequality. Or a host of other topics from rent control to firearm regulations. Popular standards are invariably Leftist standards, and the Rightist must argue from a very weak position, namely that fulfillment of Rightist political goals will, in fact, further stated Leftist political goals.

A casual example is when a Rightist argues that Capitalism will decrease poverty relative to Socialism, and this is why Capitalism is better. Yes, it's actually true but it omits an implied assumption: namely that we must meet the Left's standard for what is satisfactory before we are permitted to prefer Capitalism over Socialism. This is a mistake.

Who established that decreasing poverty was a duty and not a charitable act? Leftists will say our very own Bible tells us so, but it does not. Charity cannot be a duty, or it is no longer charity. The desire to give must be genuine, and we must genuinely believe such aid to be helpful and not hurtful. Hand a crackhead a pile of cash and you are, in fact, hurting him, not helping him. How much of your welfare money is going to crackheads and other addicts? How much money is taken from us in order to actively harm other Americans?

Furthermore, even if we concede that charity is a duty (a concession I do not make), why is it that the government is set as the standard arbiter of this duty? In other words, why must government policy be set with respect to poverty? It is assumed that the role of government is to decrease poverty. Questioning the assumption is considered heresy. Would the duty not be from an individual to another individual?

Lastly, if charity is a duty, and if we concede it is the government's proper role to do this duty for us (again, a concession I do NOT make), who sets the success condition? Is the success condition that most Americans have enough to eat, have shelter, basic care, and other such things? Then congratulations, we succeeded decades ago. Ah, but the Left sets new standards. They complain of income inequality, they throw around metrics like "food insecurity." Food insecurity is defined as a condition where a person might worry how they are going to afford food in some theoretical future time-frame. It's not saying you're starving, but rather that you might actually have to budget for your meals this month, and you might worry that you don't have enough.

That's a lot of people who are not starving. But somebody counts them as if they are anyway.

Back during the Apollo moon landings, there were a number of protesters who, then as now, complained that spending funds on spaceships when we could be spending money on the impoverished black community was a travesty. Forget space travel, they said, we have poor people of color here at home, and we should spend the money there instead.

Some time ago on Twitter, I saw a similar sentiment when a radical feminist complained that Elon Musk wasted money shooting his car into space when he should have thrown his billions into fixing Flint's water supply problems.

If you are not spending all of your time and money on the Left's pet causes, you are a horrible, immoral human being. And yet, the number of Leftists who spend all their money trying to fix Flint's water supply are few - if any even exist at all.

They demand that we adhere to their ridiculous and contradictory standards when they are not even willing to do so. 65 million people voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Each of them could have donated $10, and Flint would have had $650 million to fix its broken water supply. Of course, the Democrats who run Flint would surely steal most of it, but hey. You can at least claim you helped, right?

Leftists make the standards. Rightists are required to live by them, while Leftists are excused from doing so. This is utterly ridiculous. And even when Rightists demonstrate that the stated standards are probably best served by embracing Capitalism anyway, the Leftist will post a link to some CNN or AP journalist, surely a flaming Leftist, claiming that Socialism is the Best Thing Ever (tm) and Capitalism creates poverty and economic ruin (Venezuelans are surely confused by this).

Tell a Leftist that curing poverty - what limited poverty exists in the most wealthy nation in the history of humanity - is NOT your number one goal, is not your duty (if you have a duty, it is to your fellow man, not to some amorphous concept of poverty), and surely doesn't belong in the hands of the government in any case.

Their heads will explode with fury and they will shout every denunciation they can think of. But it'll be amusing, at least. NPCs do that, you know. Someone took an arrow to the knee, and that's why he can't help the people of Flint get clean drinking water. But, you know dude, it's like totally your responsibility, man! Because peace-love-tolerance!

Then, at least, your standards will be your own. Reject their demands and decide for yourself.


Linda Fox said...



Charity IS a duty - to me, anyway. But it is a duty that I must do within the context that *I* do it, and do *NOT* compel others to do it for me. To force someone, through government coercion, to take from their own resources to give to causes / actions from which you benefit (whether materially, i.e., people who vote for a living) or emotionally (hey, look how generous we are with other peoples' money!) is wrong-wrong-wrong.

Every Shabbat evening (Friday for you non-Jews) I give my kids a coin each to put into our charity box. When it's full - and we've gone through a number of cycles - THEY get to choose where it goes. And I tell them that even if it's only a penny, put something in. But I also tell them that you must give charity without injury to yourself...

Jess said...

If liberty isn't the demanded environment, there is no charity.

Bear Claw Chris Lapp said...

I like to donate anonymously. Dystopic it would not be quite 650 million as some of those voters are still in the cemetery.