Monday, September 27, 2010


More about Values

In a previous post I set forth a few of my beliefs that I asserted should qualify as values.  Conservatives keep talking about people voting their values in an election.  I agree.  I vote my values.  It occurred to me that I should write a few lines about what I perceive to be conservative values.  It will clarify the distinction between my voting preferences and those of a conservative.

Like most liberals I believe in health care as a right, not a privilege.  Good health care must be available for all.  That means to me that one doesn't have to pay for it as an individual, any more than I have to pay for police protection as an individual.  I pay for police protection through taxes.  I would pay for health care the same way.

Conservatives simply do not believe that health care should be a right.  Everyone should take care of his or her own health.  If, in spite of a  healthy regime you become seriously ill and can't pay for the medical treatment you need, that's too bad.  As President Carter once said, "life is not fair."  Conservatives do, however, believe that police protection is a right and they have no problem paying the taxes that support our police departments.

I believe that elderly residents, like myself, who have spent their younger years doing work that was useful to society, should have the right of a moderately comfortable life in retirement.  Their standard of living should not depend on the vagaries of the economic system or the fluctuations of the stock market.  Hence, I believe in social security with adjustments for a gradual rise in the cost of living.

Conservatives do not believe that old people have the right of a decent living guaranteed by the public.  One should save money for old age.  If you make a poor investment and lose most of your life savings, too  bad.  "Life is not fair."  No matter that the investment looked very good and sound when you made it and that your loss was not predictable or even foreseeable.  Bad luck is your problem and not something that others should care about.  In addition, providing a guaranteed retirement income tends to subsidize laziness and poor judgment and tendency to make risky investments.

I can make similar arguments about individuals who are unemployed because of the recession.  I think that they are entitled to some minimum standard of living as long as they are unable to find work.  Conservatives believe that providing such is subsidizing laziness.  If the unemployment income is cut off, many of the unemployed will manage to find some kind of employment.  Too bad for the others.

These are a few of my values and the contrasting values of conservatives.  I welcome your comments.


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