Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Compassionate Conservatism

Once again, Rush Limbaugh has opened up the gaping maw that acts as his mouth and expressed the more of that great compassion that conservatives hold for those less fortunate than them:

In case you refuse to listen to the blowhard (and I can't blame you), here's the money quote:

“If people can’t even feed and clothe themselves should they be allowed to vote? Should they be voting?”

Of course, according to the prosperity gospel that many right-wingers subscribe to, poverty is merely proof of the laziness and moral turptitude of the lower classes. A True God-Fearing Patriot would take a minimum-wage job at Wal-Mart, work hard for forty years without health insurance (because Jesus will heal you if you wish hard enough, apparently), eventually working their way up to Owner Of Wal-Mart (it could happen!) and eventually become rich beyond compare! Such is the American/Canadian Dream According To Wingnuts.

I don't really understand how that's supposed to work, but when it comes to political, financial, or social policy, conservatives don't tend to be details-oriented. Apparently between 30-50% of the population can be easily fooled into believing that they, one day, will also be rich, so long as they pull themselves up by their bootstraps by working themselves nearly to death for the table scraps tossed at them by the rich. Couple that to the idiotic fear that some loose slut of a single mother or non-Christian, un-white foreigner might obtain social assistance, and it's apparently easy to get people to vote for the most tea-baggiest of political elitist jerks.

Let's be realistic though - this is nothing more than a rich Limbaugh doing his best to strengthen the grip of the upper class on the reins of power and take the opportunity to help remove the possibility that those dirty lower classes could threaten to ascend to their level in society (or worse, drag the rich down). Are we really shocked by yet one more example of conservative hypocrisy, where they shriek about the evils of intellectual or liberal "elites", yet have no problems with financial or conservative "elites" openly calling for the stripping of rights from the poor?

One thing I'd like to ask Rush though, is what about farmers who receive massive subsidies from the government? What about soldiers in the military? Politicians themselves? Private businesses that exist exclusively or mainly on government contracts? These people obviously can't run a successful business in the free market, so why stop at poor people receiving food stamps.?

Limbaugh's point is that poor people are obviously incapable of taking care of themselves, so therefore, they shouldn't be allowed a voice in politics. Secondly, landowners and/or people with large amounts of equity supposedly have a greater stake in ensuring that society maintains some semblance of stability. But how true can this be? Rich people have an abundance of assets that they can use in order to curry favour and build support. Poor people can't afford to donate much to politicians, nor can they purchase the same caliber of lobbyists (assuming they can afford any lobbyist) that rich people can afford! Therefore, the only voice that the poorest classes of people even have in government is their vote. (For an excellent discussion on the idea of property rights, check out this post from Ed at Dispatches From The Culture Wars.)

Therefore, in response to Rush Limbaugh, I propose the following: people who own multiple homes or have a net worth in excess of $250,000 dollars are ineligible to vote. Those who either own a single home or have a net worth between $100,000 and $250,000 dollars get one half a vote. People that are renting and have a net worth of less than $100,000 receive a single vote. Homeless people, especially the mentally ill, are able to vote as often as they like.

I know that last bit might seem odd, but here's my reasoning: letting mentally handicapped people perform the majority of voting likely will result in our current political process changing very little, since politicians and the upper class are apparently already able to take advantage of large numbers of people insane enough to vote against their own interests.

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