Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV.
There are two distinct political messages that can be easily divided along ideological and party lines in the USA. Conservative and liberal, or Republican and Democrat, are the most prominent labels of our country’s warring factions. However you slice it, they are fundamentally different viewpoints.
This is why so many “conversations” turn into debates and eventually arguments. We’re talking to each other about the same thing but from two very different perspectives. It makes finding a middle ground nearly impossible.
Recently, I had an exchange with someone on Twitter, the place where all “intellectuals” gather for friendly debate. We were discussing government regulations, in particular with the food industry. The account (and I say “account” because who really knows who you’re talking to) I tweeted with responded to someone who said “abolish the FDA” because prices for food and medicine would be much lower. My opponent argued that this would lead to more death and disease as companies put “profits over people” by “cutting corners” on how they produce their products. In this case, food. Now watch how we have two very different starting points.
My argument is simple: the market will regulate itself because people and businesses have an incentive to produce products that are safe and work properly. If a burger stand opens up and they try to “cut corners” on how they prepare the food, causing their customers to get sick, they can rest assured they won’t be in business for long. No one would be willing to spend their money on a defective product, especially food. The need for a tax-payer funded entity is really non-existent as consumers themselves will dictate with their dollar if a business is worthy of competing in the marketplace.
My friend did not have such faith. They believed consumers are ignorant and needed a “government stamp of approval” in order to make these decisions. I will concede here that he was in fact, partially right. Consumers today are ignorant as to what is considered “healthy” and “good for them.” However, that is due to not having an incentive to do “their own research.” Why would the individual need to look into the health and safety aspects of a product when there’s a government agency in place to do the thinking for them?
He said that businesses will produce “cheap” products that could be harmful and that people will buy them due to costs. To that I say: let them. If someone is willing to jeopardize their health to save a dollar, then by all means why should we employ a department fully-funded by our hard-earned money to stop them? We already have “cheap food” in the form of fast food that causes many of the leading ailments plaguing us today. People continuously buy it knowing the health risks. Where’s the government agency to stop them?
The fundamental difference here is the same that is seen in every argument between right and left: one believes a centralized government is there to care for them, make decisions for them, and ultimately, think for them. The other side believes they do not need an entity outside of themselves to govern their lives.
This is the problem we see manifest during election time. Liberals, specifically Democrats, campaign on the many programs and entitlements they can promise to their constituents. Conservatives, specifically Republicans, campaign on how they can shrink government and have less interference in their constituents’ lives. This is where the disconnect happens.
We have become conditioned to be dependent. Our lives have been engineered, so to speak, so as to always be accommodated in some way, shape, or form. Everything we need is at our fingertips, literally. Food, clothing, and shelter can be ordered and delivered to our doorstep in minutes.
This carries over into other areas of our lives. We go to the grocery store and get frustrated when we have to wait in line to check out, so we demand “self-checkout” lines. We get frustrated with having to look for a product so we browse online, order, and then have it delivered to our car window. But even that’s too much of an inconvenience, so we have it delivered straight to our front door. We frequent the businesses that have “drive up” or “delivery” because it conveniences us.
We use the “grocery shopping experience” in our political lives as well. Who can give us something? What politician will provide us with something to make our lives easier? This is why Republican messaging always falls flat, because it’s not promising anything. Democrats on the other hand, have something to give, something to offer, this makes their message easier to accept.
The Democrat points to the Republicans’ unwillingness to “offer a hand” and demonizes them as “racist.” They want to “take away” the social programs holding the community together. So, they must not care about those people. Meanwhile, the people have no incentive to create businesses and infrastructure for themselves. A few grifters from the community get rich keeping the people dependent on their handouts while the rest of the population stays stagnant.
You can’t convince people who don’t believe in themselves to only rely on themselves. That’s why the message of “self-reliance” and “self-determination” falls flat. Nobody wants to admit it out loud but the reality is this scares most people. To have to stand on your own two feet and succeed or fail on your own merit is not a path most want to take.
We can have all the debates, but the only relevant fact is that we are dealing with a culture that has contempt for freedom. This is where the authoritarian agenda is winning and will eventually win if we don’t change course immediately. A dependent person is a controlled person. They yearn for more government control, less accountability, and more excuses. If we don’t fight the battle on that front, all of this is futile.
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