One major difference I’ve noted between the left and the right in American politics is who they each prefer to cast as villains — and it’s a telling one.
Of late, the left’s premier bete noirs are Big Insurance, Big Pharma, Big Oil, and Big Banks. They are the evil, rotten, despicable, selfish greedheads who are the cause of so many of America’s woes.
On the right, the perennial baddies are the unions, the community organizers, the social activists, and the like.
I’ve been giving the matter considerable thought, and I’ve discerned a fundamental distinction between the two groups that strikes me as quite germane.
Both groups are actively seeking money and power, but that’s no big deal — at our core, that’s what we all want. What separates us is what we are willing to do to achieve it, and what we will do once we achieve it.
The left’s foes, for the most part, want my money directly from me. And in return, they’re offering goods and services that I want or need. Big Oil wants to sell me gas and heating oil. Big Pharma wants to sell me medicine. Big Insurance wants me to pay them to handle my medically-related paperwork and expenses. Big Banks want to handle my money, offering me interest and services in return for its custody.
On the other hand, the other groups want my money largely indirectly — from the taxes I pay the government. And in return, they promise — honest! — to take it and do good deeds. They’ll help the oppressed, care for the needy, and hound the bad guys with the money — just don’t look too closely at the books, if you don’t mind.
Further, our Corporate Masters are willing to let me in on the game. If I want, I can invest in them and share in their profits. And a lot of us do — especially those of us with retirement funds. (My own 401K, by the way, has recouped most of its losses over the last year or so. And they were significant — about 25%. I am reminded of the late, great Paul Harvey’s observation that the stock market is like a roller coaster — and the only people who get hurt on a roller coaster are the ones who try to stand up or get off.)
On the other hand, the Do-Gooders aren’t that interested in helping out those who help them. Well, you can sometimes get tax credits for donations, and if you end up in dire straits they might help you, but in the main the only payback you get is that warm, fuzzy feeling that you did a good deed. Probably.
I have no problems with that, but I prefer to make my charitable contributions more directly. I like to personally decide who gets the largesse of my generosity (or, more often, guilt). I don’t like the government taking my money and then deciding who is worthy of it — after it takes its cut, of course.
In the end, it’s all a matter of who you choose to trust: those who are upfront and say that they’re out for themselves, or those who insist that they’re just trying to do good deeds out of the goodness of their hearts — but still manage to keep “doing well by doing good.”