Here's what I really think about conservatism

I found a nice little essay over on Huffpo called "What Conservatives Really Want", which nicely summarizes why I'm a political liberal. The article's a bit inflammatory (as is to be expected from the title alone), but it still captures some important ideas that reflect my own thinking. Some choice quotes:
Budget deficits are a ruse, as we've seen in Wisconsin, where the governor turned a surplus into a deficit by providing corporate tax breaks, and then used the deficit as a ploy to break the unions, not just in Wisconsin, but seeking to be the first domino in a nationwide conservative movement.
Deficits can be addressed by raising revenue, plugging tax loopholes, putting people to work, and developing the economy long-term in all the ways the president has discussed. But deficits are not what really matters to conservatives.
Fun fact: in 2001, George W. Bush in one year turned a record surplus into a record deficit. How did he accomplish that historic feat? You guessed it – tax cuts, the bulk of which were aimed at the upper class. We're about to have another record deficit this year, and of the projected $1.5 trillion the government is over-budget, roughly 1/3rd of that is coming from the tax cuts that conservatives demanded be extended to the top tier of earners. And this isn't a new thing: between the Reagan and H.W. Bush administrations, the national debt more than tripled. It doubled during Dubya's administration. Don't believe the lie that these people give a shit about deficits. They're fine with deficits that come from things they like – namely tax cuts for the wealthy and for corporations which, courtesy of loopholes, pay proportionally far less taxes than citizens do. But when the deficits come from tax breaks to the working class and infrastructure investment, better hide the women and children cause there's a war a-comin'.
Conservatives believe in individual responsibility alone, not social responsibility. They don't think government should help its citizens. That is, they don't think citizens should help each other. The part of government they want to cut is not the military (we have 174 bases around the world), not government subsidies to corporations, not the aspect of government that fits their worldview. They want to cut the part that helps people. Why? Because that violates individual responsibility.
Hear, hear! Conservatives hate social programs of any kind. They fought tooth and nail against social security, medicare and medicaid. They reamed the health care bill of its most social aspects – the public option or, more ideally, a single-payer system – and even with a bill rife with ideas they thought of (John McCain and Mitt Romney both endorsed the individual mandate years ago, and conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation endorsed a national exchange), they bash it as socialmarxocommuBamacare.*

And now they're wanting to slash about $100 billion from government spending, and guess what? For all their talk about restoring jobs, they'd be laying off thousands of government workers. The hypocrisy is mind-blowing: lay off working-class people and tell them good luck in free market, but spending hundreds of billions to cater to the wealthiest earners and say nothing about closing corporate loopholes. 
Is there hope?
I see it in Wisconsin, where tens of thousands citizens see through the conservative frames and are willing to flood the streets of their capital to stand up for their rights. They understand that democracy is about citizens uniting to take care of each other, about social responsibility as well as individual responsibility, and about work -- not just for your own profit, but to help create a civilized society. They appreciate their teachers, nurses, firemen, police, and other public servants. They are flooding the streets to demand real democracy -- the democracy of caring, of social responsibility, and of excellence, where prosperity is to be shared by those who work and those who serve.
The thing about individual responsibility is that those of us on the left believe that those who are able have a moral responsibility to help those who – often through no fault of their own – are unable to afford things we often take for granted, from health care to food. That's because we have the capability of recognizing that the playing field isn't level – that success involves a lot of hard work, sure, but also a lot of luck. Of course, with any government program, there's a chance to exploit it and some people do. But we should never lose sight of the fact that our government – in the words of Abraham Lincoln – is of the people, by the people and for the people, and those programs help millions of people in need. The government is not some monolithic beast. It's we the people, and we have a responsibility to help our fellow citizens.

* I don't think too many Tea Partiers know the first thing about Marx, but they just know he's gotta be bad.


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