A Letter to Conservatives (from a Progressive) [Part 1]

May 9, 2011

 Dear Republican Brothers and Sisters:

I’d like to dispel a myth about the Republican Party, a myth that most of you seem to cling to as truth. I know that many of you have strong faith in God, and thus, naturally have a strong faith in your Republican politicians who claim to share that faith. Thus, you may naturally deduce that that shared faith should lead to trust. But let me say this bluntly: Republican politicians do not care about you. By “care,” I mean “willing to put your needs and well-being as working people above their own financial and political gain.” By “you,” I mean “the American people who do not own corporations.” It’s that simple. Republicans are passionate and true to one thing, however: Money. I’m not the first person to say this, but it is crucial that we connect the dots and come to rational conclusions.  So allow me to make my argument.

Now, let me clarify my argument before you write it off for stating absolutes. When I say “Republicans,” I’m not referring to every single Republican politician or citizen in the country. I’m sure there are some politicians who make the people of their district a priority over their personal gain. Nor am I referring to individual Americans who hold conservative values and vote Republican. I am referring to the Republican Party, whose leadership establishes the agenda and sets the tone for the entire party.

So what is my evidence to this, you ask? Privatization. I’ll take this single issue, although there are many, to demonstrate my point. One of Republicans’ well-known strategies for achieving their fundamental principle of “smaller government” is privatization — privatization of social security, of Medicare, of public education through voucher promotion, of the military (Halliburton), of anything that they can get their hands on. This can also be understood as the “anti-anything-that-sounds-like-socialism” gospel. Ask yourself, “Who benefits when we privatize?” Let me give you hint: If you are reading this blog, it is not you. Those who benefit are the owners of corporations.

Corporations have TWO goals: 1. to make money; 2. to make more money than they did before. It’s safe to say that the government is not trying to get rich from the services it provides. If it were, we would not have a national debt. So when services are privatized, do you think we the consumers, are collectively going to pay less for the services, or more? I know the counter to this argument is the linchpin of capitalism – competition!  Proponents of privatization say that competition will drive down costs. To that, I provide one counter (of many possible counters): Health insurance. There is plenty of competition, but the costs paid by consumers are outrageous. Interestingly enough, insurance companies’ profits are outrageous, too. Do you think there is a connection?

Now, the other argument you may hear is that corporations are more efficient, and that government services are full of waste. Well, some services need considerable improvement (e.g., public schools), while some run quite well (e.g., social security). Now, we can definitely have the discussion about how to make the government-run services more efficient. Absolutely! But to argue that we should abandon them all together in favor of corporations clearly demonstrates one’s allegiance.

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