Revolution 2.0™? You Must Be Conservative! (EP.315)
“Revolution 2.0–A revolution of the heart.” That’s how I start all the episodes. Does my implied honoring of Revolution 1.0 in 1776 make this a conservative podcast? Was the 1776 Revolution conservative? Am I a conservative?
That is the subject of today’s 12 minute episode.
To my surprise, I am encountering an increasing number of people who immediately label, dismiss in many cases, my podcast, Revolution 2.0™, as conservative because of the name. Really? Do these people see revolutions as inherently conservative? How about the French, Russian, and Cuban revolutions; were they conservative movements? Or does this view hold that the American Revolution was the rare conservative revolt?
I work to avoid the use of labels like conservative, liberal and progressive, but sometimes there is no way around them. Now for the question: Am I conservative? My youngest, a few years ago when he was in high school, in an attempt to understand my political thinking, said, “So, Dad, you are a Republican who supports gay marriage.” An interesting summary, showing some real insights. But we can get a better insight by not answering this exact question. As is often the case, we can get a better answer by asking a better question. In this case, I turn the question around saying, “Ask me my position on key issues, then you tell me if I am conservative or liberal.” At some point in this process, I will point out, if it does not become obvious without comment from me, that labels are completely unnecessary once an honest, fact-based discussion of the issues is on the table. Labels are a lazy and clumsy way of guessing at how people think without the hard work of actually engaging with them, listening, thinking, responding, and doing even more listening to discover how they actually do think.
Let’s get into some specifics. There is a lot of talk these days about equity, whatever that means. Until recently, the word that everyone used was equality, but equality of outcome was difficult to defend, so the word was changed to equity–with no explanation of why, or any definition of the new term. People assume that equity means fairness or justice. Equality is easy to define, and difficult to misinterpret. Equity is much fuzzier, so it can be presented as equality when that suits the agenda at hand, and it can be used to mean justice, whatever that means to the speaker or the listener in various contexts. George Orwell anticipated this in his book “1984” with the government concept of Doublethink, which means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them. Let’s stick with equality, a clear word, with no double meanings.
- Under the law. We have that now. If you disagree, please be specific about where that is not true.
- Equality of opportunity. It’s not there, and never will be. For example, some parents can afford to send their children to private schools Kindergarten through various levels of graduate school. But there is plenty of opportunity, more than sufficient for everyone to take advantage of to make good lives for themselves, with each generation in a family building on the previous ones.
- Equality of results. Don’t have it, don’t want it. We cannot have equal results and personal freedoms at the same time. “A society that puts equality—in the sense of equality of outcome—ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. The use of government force to achieve equality will destroy freedom, and the force, introduced for good purposes, will end up in the hands of people who use it to promote their own interests.” ―Thomas Sowell, American economist, social theorist, and senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.
The most effective and loving things we can do for people are to:
- Make sure that they understand that life is hard, and that is the only way that life works, and that life is worth living.
- Take care of the temporary needs that are out of some people’s control, and see to it that they are responsible for their long term needs when they are able. Very few people need to be taken care of long term, and we do everyone a huge disservice if we simply take over and do things for them.
The two main tenets of what we believe at Revolution 2.0™ are:
- Personal Responsibility; practice it, teach it and
- Be Your Brother’s Keeper. The answer to the question, “Am I my Brother’s Keeper? Is a resounding “Yes.” there is no other answer.
As we look at the people who need our help, they fall into three categories:
- People who can’t help themselves, and need temporary care.
- People who can’t help themselves and need permanent care.
- People who won’t help themselves.
Time to perform a sort of triage, to get a better picture of where we are, and how to proceed. Triage is necessary because all resources, ours, the government’s–all resources–are limited. And the needs are unlimited. This clearly means that we must prioritize. We must prioritize our personal resources, and when we vote and otherwise engage in the political process, we must work to prioritize the public’s, our government’s, resources. Remember: Our government has no resources–not a dime, nothing–that does not come from taxpayers–from us–by taxation. I want this point to come through so very clearly; we have our own personal resources, and the government has only the resources that it gathers from the people–from us. When we talk about resources that are used to address needs, all resources come from we the people.
Given that all resources come from us, the rules for triage, for prioritizing resources, in this case the resources needed to help others, are the same for government and individuals. Our government has more resources than we do, but it is only the size of the resources that is different. The rules should be the same.
Medical triage originated in World War I. Wounded soldiers were classified into one of three groups:
- Those who could be expected to live without medical care,
- Those who would likely die even with care, and
- Those who could survive if they received care.
Let’s look at how this definition can guide today’s discussion.
Brother’s Keeper Triage:
- Those who do not need help.
- Those who won’t help themselves. They may have fallen into the victim mentality, or otherwise simply feel entitled. And demand whatever it is they feel entitled to.
- Everybody else. Including you and me. At one or more points in our lives, we all–all–need either permanent or temporary help from the taxpayers.
The main benefits of performing this triage comes in asking the question of whether help is needed in the first place, and whether it is needed short- or long-term.
Here is a helpful chart. The X axis represents a continuum from flat Just Won’t to truly Cannot. The Y Axis is the continuum from temporary needs to permanent needs. Determining who is precisely where is not an exact science, but there is tremendous benefit to be derived from tackling these questions. All too often when needs are observed, the government responds assuming all needs are beyond the control of the individual or group, and are at least semi-permanent. In some cases, that is true; in all cases, these tough questions must be asked and answered.
One of the consequences of not asking these questions is generational poverty. A growing number of families are on welfare, “In the system” generation after generation. That’s not on them, that’s on the government–and us. The concept of learned helplessness is not new.
In addition to philosophy, let’s continue our examination by looking at some specific Revolution 2.0™ policy and issue positions.
- School Choice? Absolutely.
- Abortion? Answer two questions and go from there.
- When does life begin and
- When is it appropriate for the state to sanction the taking of that life?
- Immigration. Secure borders, generous and controlled immigration policies. After securing the borders, one last amnesty.
- Voting rights? Protect them. Now, what about voting responsibilities, e.g., solid proof of identity, and a tightly controlled voting process?
- Police responsibility? Of course. Are we also willing to have a conversation about the responsibilities that citizens and suspects have as well?
Answering the question about labels myself, I see Revolution 2.0 as common goals and issues oriented. What is your take?
Tell me what you believe. I and many others want to know.
As always, whatever you do, do it in love. Without love, anything we do is empty. 1 Corinthians 16:14
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter, @willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.