Ralph J. Dolan: Questions who we are becoming as a society

Sunday, April 16, 2017
Questions who we are becoming as a society

Along the entire spectrum of conservative politics one finds a solid ideological foundation: the belief in personal responsibility.

According to this belief, every human being must carry his/her own weight, work for his/her daily bread, no free lunch, no soft and understanding nanny state to take care of you, no safety net.

Now who could object to the idea of personal responsibility?

These same people with their conservative, less-is-better cast of mind will fall all over each other to support a corporate bailout of trillions. Corporations are good and deserving of a safety net. Society needs corporations. Corporations provide jobs. Corporations contribute to a vibrant economy. Corporations are persons. They have rights too.

Poor people are bad. Natural consequences are imposed upon us all by the marketplace. Government must get out of the way and let the “invisible hand” do its work. Those who are shiftless, lazy and immoral must face the music of the street.

Question is: How far do you let that go? Do you conclude that people starving to death in the richest country in the world is acceptable? Do you let people die of preventable diseases because they can’t pay their medical bills? Do you let children die of exposure to the elements?

These questions go to the heart of who we are becoming as a society.

Capitalism is a man-made construct of an economy. It pretends to provide an “equal” playing field. In fact, the deck is stacked against the majority. In this context the idea of personal responsibility must be interpreted as conforming to certain, arbitrary rules about how one must live, rules that favor only the few.

These conservatives are delighted by the prospect of expelling the objectionable and inferior people who refuse to embrace the prevailing wisdom. Throw the bums out. Let them see what it’s like to live on the street. Society has no personal responsibility for them.

Brutal, top-down, authoritarian economic ideology upholds the privilege of the ruling class. Free humans have no responsibility to buy this insidious method of twisting words. The only sane society is one in which everybody’s basic needs are provided, no matter what.

Ralph J. Dolan