Callous Conservatives or Caring “Progressives”?

One of the most defamatory and yet risible charges against conservatives is that we don’t practice what we preach, that we are essentially religious bigots enslaved by specific dogma and as a result, we only selfishly care about ourselves and not our fellow man, especially the less fortunate.

This is actually a very common viewpoint of “progressives”. It is one promulgated in a letter to the editor from a left wing college student headlined; “Republicans Don’t Practice What is Preached” (it was published last week in the Panama City News Herald, my local paper – before my move to Scotland).

A little excerpt from a left wing commenter on the website is representative of this viewpoint:

“…the Republicans do practice what they preach: Cold, hard-heartedness, a form of extreme Social Darwinsim, a Theocratic system of laws based on a Christianized version of Sharia, and, an intransigent resistance to the American principle of compromise when Democratically-held election doesn’t go their way.”

Under scrutiny, this canard does not survive.

In December of 2006, John Stossel reported on the research and subsequent book by Arthur Brooks, Ph. D., who at the time was a social science researcher and a professor at Syracuse. Dr. Brooks is currently the president of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research. Stossel writes:

“When you look at the data,” says Syracuse University professor Arthur Brooks, “it turns out the conservatives give about 30 percent more. And incidentally, conservative-headed families make slightly less money.”

Researching his book, “Who Really Cares“, Brooks found that the conservative/liberal difference goes beyond money:

“The people who give one thing tend to be the people who give everything in America. You find that people who believe it’s the government’s job to make incomes more equal, are far less likely to give their money away.”

Conservatives are even 18 percent more likely to donate blood.

What “progressives” really mean by “conservatives don’t care” is that we don’t believe it is the role of government to function as the vehicle to provide charity and because we identify as religious people, we want to force our religiosity on others as a consequence of providing assistance.

We differ in that as they prefer a secular, cold and aloof government to dole out money as a representation of how much they “care”. “Progressives” have so little faith in themselves and others that they believe that people are generally evil and must be forced via taxation to “care” about others. It says a lot about their mindset.

There was a recent report in the Silicon Valley Mercury News that illustrates the stark difference. On Memorial Day 2011, a suicidal (and perhaps mentally ill) 52 year old man waded into the surf off Alameda, California and took his own life. Unfortunately, a tragic suicide is not the remarkable part of the story, what is remarkable is that a crowd of an estimated 75 people, including police and firefighters, watched it happen and did nothing. This was no rapidly developing emergency; there was at least an hour that elapsed before the man actually drowned.

Raymond Zack paced back and forth along the shore for several minutes before he waded into the waves about 11:30 a.m. on a stretch of Robert Crown Memorial State Beach along Shoreline Drive near Willow Street, according to witnesses.

For nearly an hour, Zack stood in the neck-deep water — sometimes raising his arms above the surface — before he eventually floated away about 150 yards from shore.

Police and firefighters said they arrived within minutes of receiving the 911 call that Zack was attempting to commit suicide at the beach. But firefighters did not enter the water because they are not trained in land/water rescue, while police said they did not immediately step in because Zack was suicidal and possibly violent.

“It’s a very tragic event,” police Lt. Sean Lynch said. “But he was engaged in a deliberate act of taking his own life. We did not know whether he was violent, whether drugs were involved. It’s not a situation of a typical rescue.” On Tuesday, interim fire Chief Mike D’Orazi said he was instituting an immediate policy change that would allow a senior firefighter discretion on how best to respond to an emergency in the water. D’Orazi also said a rescue swimmer certification program for Alameda firefighters would be “on the fast track.”

Great…Let’s try to anticipate every possible permutation and substitute a bureaucratic policy for morality, common human decency and concern for our fellow man – but really, what was the issue that caused this tragic even to culminate as it did?

D’Orazi said the fire department’s water rescue program was shelved in March 2009 due to cuts. The loss of overtime also led to fewer training hours for firefighters, he said. As a result, department policy prevented firefighters from entering the water to help Zack, D’Orazi said.

Ahhh, Zack drowned due to budget cuts – but the government employees didn’t do “nothing”.

Lynch said it “couldn’t be further from the truth” that emergency workers did nothing as Zack drowned.

“That’s simply not the case,” he said. “Every circumstance is different and there are protocols that need to be followed.”

They just took no actions that could have saved Zack – but they should get credit for thinking about it. After all, they did follow government procedure. Their job wasn’t to “protect and serve” anyway, it was to adhere to policy. Compliance was more important than a human life.

But Brunetti said witnesses were still shocked that no officer or firefighter went into the water to try and save Zack.

“It’s like you are living in a different country that does not care about its citizens,” she said.

The public safety employees didn’t even enter the water to retrieve the floating body:

When the tide swept Zack’s body back about 50 yards from shore, a passer-by swam out and pulled it into the beach, witnesses said. Zack was pronounced dead at Alameda Hospital. He was in the water about an hour. The water temperature was about 55 degrees, Lynch said.

The officers and firefighters — who later said they are not trained in land/water rescue — also remained on the beach as a passer-by waded into the water and pulled the man’s body to shore after he drowned.

If the firefighters and police aren’t at fault, who is? The “progressives” know…it’s Eric Cantor and Ron Paul – and by extension all conservative Republicans, of course. Why? For the act of attempting to cut federal spending, that’s why.

Searching the internet, several commentaries from “progressive” sites like Kos, The Daily Beast, Gawker and the Huffington Post that said essentially the same thing, but perhaps the most succinct one that was found is titled “Eric Cantor’s America: 75 Rescue Workers Watch Man Drown, No Funding for ‘Water Rescues’”.

Strangely enough, this was posted at a Christian website called, a site that has evidently been taken over by liberal fanatics. An excerpt:

This story is the latest from an America where the Speaker of the House thinks we do not need money unconditionally appropriated for emergency services.

This is Eric Cantor’s America. You fend for yourself and there is no social services (sic). Ron Paul must be pretty proud around now, too, because he has a kooky buddy in arms to deny any sort of logic. But that’s what America is all about. Psychiatric patients drown as 75-people watch, unable to do anything because it’s not a part of the budget. Compassion. Mercy. Way to go, Eric Cantor. Thanks for giving us a great lead to follow as you sit high upon Capital (sic) Hill, looking down on the suffering masses of America.

So the fault is not that the reliance on government has decayed the moral fiber of a community such that they watched a man drown, it is that Republicans didn’t fund a government program.

There will be those who say that this is a gross exaggeration but we are all familiar with the case of a serviceman who is in jail for a clerical error on his passport application, incidents of people being charged for shooting intruders in their own homes, police executing raids on the wrong houses (there is a case in the UK where cops raided the wrong house 41 times!) – and in some cases opening fire on and killing innocent people, calling out SWAT for default on an education loan (they say that they didn’t, but if that wasn’t the intent, then why does the Department of Education need 27 shotguns and what is the Education Department doing executing a raid for a “criminal matter”?), the infallibility of government inspectors, and so on.

“Progressives” believe in subservience to government over reliance on individual common decency, that government knows best and there is no need for reliance on individual inner morality. Conservatives prefer individual freedom to act over enslavement to a government rule, freedom instead of a police state.

There is a difference and it isn’t that conservatives are heartless and “progressives” are caring. Counting on an unfeeling bureaucracy to take care of your fellow man is about as heartless and callous as it gets.

I’m really looking forward to compassionate and efficient healthcare run by the DMV, how about you?

3 thoughts on “Callous Conservatives or Caring “Progressives”?

  1. I have some sympathy for conservatives who do not believe in big government. I think that any big institution is inefficient and corrupt. The problem is you have a big country. With big government. Big companies. Big unions. Large population. Big money. No money. How do you make it work? Your problem is you have a lot of people with big voices and no ears.

  2. Pingback: Compassion And Sympathy Are Not The Same | The Rio Norte Line

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