There But For Fortune, Go You or I
Despite the topsy-turvy nature of labels in our current political atmosphere, we believe there is a fundamental difference between those who tend toward what is considered a more liberal philosophy of government and those who lean to the conservative side.
The liberal generally believes government policies can be used to assist the less-fortunate in our society to soften some of the harshness of the competitive economic world in
which we live--in essence, it is support of the "safety net" concept.
The conservative has a more hands-off approach where government is concerned, believing independence suffers when citizens begin to rely on social programs for their support and sustenance. "I am from the government and I am here to help you," is a concept conservatives poke fun at, often rightfully so.
While there is no question "victimization" has gone too far at times in our current society, we lean toward the liberal or moderate philosophy because of our view that so many of our citizens tend to suffer primarily because of the environment in which they are raised.
Those of us raised by responsible parents, who taught us the right concepts needed to navigate through life are very fortunate -- and we shouldn't ever take that for granted(or
even begin to assume that everyone received that needed early-life training and sustenance).
With that in mind, we think government has an important role in trying to help the less fortunate in the areas of education, health care, job training and family assistance.
The "liberal" tends to focus on the fundamental reasons behind the inability of some in our society to compete and succeed in what is indeed a tough and sometimes cruel workaday world. The problem with the thinking of some, in our view, is when they try to translate their own abilities and motivation onto to those who did not have advantages or
proper training in their formative years. People are not really created equal (at least not in ultimate capability), and they most definitely are not in the opportunity sense.
There are extremes on both ends of the spectrum on this issue. There are those who do indeed seem to find a victim in every situation. The result is a lack of emphasis on
individuals taking responsibility for their own lives and situations. This does lead to clear abuses in the system, in which people seem constantly to look for government,
organizations and other individuals to, in a sense, take care of them from cradle to grave.
We see this situation far too often in our society. But the other extreme is the "I've got mine" mentality, in which some individuals give themselves far too much credit for that they have achieved in life while, at the same time,
downgrading the factors that prevent others from accomplishing similar goals.
It's okay to think that way to an extent, but the reality of the world is there are lot who haven't achieved that level of success and comfort.
There are many who do indeed believe, ultimately, we should be our brother's keeper.
Clearly, individuals, churches and voluntary organizations should do all they can to help people out of their difficult situations. But the reality is the task is so great that
government must play a crucial role in that area. Some embrace their idea of pooling our taxable resources to help where we can, while others tend to resent it.
As the Phil Ochs folk song of the last century said -- "There but for fortune go you or I."