Friday, October 31, 2008

Rightwingers and Compassion


much like Prez. Clinton's term...he tried to have more even handed wealth
distribution, instead of the 2nd gilded age of robber barons we have today. But--it seems the right does not like sharing much. I thought they were compassionate conservatives?

I agree with what you said: the "redistribution of wealth" is a positive, and economy-supporting, idea, if applied carefully and judiciously. The extreme right is absolutely terrified of certain words, including "distribution." Some fanatics are so deeply infected by selfserving greed that they feel threatened even by so gentle a word as "sharing."

These types used to be called, in pop-psych, "anal retentives"-- just another way of poking fun at their greed. They were the kind who squeaked whenever a penny escaped their desperate grasp. They can usually be recognized because their lives are completely drained of all joy.

Their greatest terror is a "welfare state." They believe correctly that everyone should work to earn her own bread. They have a special loathing and fear for "welfare moms"-- young girls who have several babies in order to increase checks from the government. And they also have viable and reasonable complaints against young men who are perfectly healthy, but insist on drawing welfare checks.

In this, they are right: In a perfect world, each person would do honest work to make and earn her own way, her living. But terrible fanatics would eradicate absolutely all programs designed to alleviate poverty, every one designed to help an honest and good person who has fallen on "bad times."

These extremists just say, "Let them get a job, pick themselves up by their own bootstraps." And that is fine, and true, when it is possible. But some unfortunates have also had their "bootstraps" removed.

The probllem with these humorless rightwingers is not only their loss of a sense of humor, but complete loss of compassion. "Compassionate conservatism" is one of their favorite myths; it makes them feel at least slightly human. But it is a myth precisely because they are behind it only if it does not cost a cent! In the real world, compassion can get expensive. (Just ask the Love Ministries Federation!)

But compassion is nothing but an emppty shell if it is only pretty words. True compassion must express as actions actually to aid those less fortunate than ourselves.

And what rightwingers never "get" is that compassion, by definition, is given freely from an open heart; it is not "earned." These rightwingers have sacrificed compassion, and even all goodness, in the name of greed, usually expressed as their personal pocketbook or bankaccount. Slamming shut the heart makes us less, less human, less divine. It also makes us less joyful, and less tranquil.

Rightwingers pay a very high price, in terms of the interior "jewels" of the universe-- such gems as goodness, compassion, positive selfesteem, and psychological wellness and balance-- for their greedy, gritty view of the world. It is a joyless expression of animal survivalism, and can never bring any joy or satisfaction, for it leaves the heartmind empty and arid, a spiritual desert, in which all the flowers perish.

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