Need help understanding right wing perspective - please

This is a genuine post and is not sarcastic.

After reading the ‘socialized medicine’ post I started to froth at the mouth for a while but now I am trying to understand what it is like for people who believe that medical costs should be paid by the sick person. Similarly for the unemployment benefit issue.

Do you believe that the world is essentially just and you get out what you put in so if someone is falling behind it is because s/he is a slacker? Or do you believe that everyone has it hard to some extent so there is no need to compensate people? Or have I got it completely wrong?

Also, I think it must be refreshing and empowering to feel this way. I am quite overwhelmed with compassion to be honest, issues like homelessness really depress me. Do any of you right wingers feel there is a relationship between your beliefs and good mental health?

Not trying to be provocative, just trying to get an education (I avoid right wing people like the plague in real life).

Thank you.

No offense, Melanie, but if you are “not trying to be provocative”, you may want to consider
[li]Not labelling everyone who disagrees with you with the same term[/li][li]Not assuming that everyone who disagrees with you lacks compassion[/li][li]Not implying that everyone who disagrees with you is mentally abnormal[/ul][/li]
As regards your questions -
[ul][li] No, I would not necessarily assume that anyone who is falling behind is a slacker. Bad things happen to good people. Bad things also happen to bad people, so it is a mistake to assume that someone in a bad position is necessarily blameless. [/li][li]Is the universe essentially fair? Well, not exactly. By and large, in the long run, for the most part, good actions **tend ** to have good consequences, and bad actions to have bad ones. This is not the same as labelling anyone who hits a bad patch in life as inferior or sinful, since people can, and often do, suffer for the bad decisions of others. People die in accidents caused by drunk drivers, children suffer if their parents are low-lifes, etc. [/li][li]Is there any correlation between political beliefs and mental health? Not in my experience. There are at least as many loony lefties as there are loony righties. One general rule of thumb I have used is that the less mentally stable are the ones who migrate to the extremes. It is usually easier for those who share the same political beliefs to spot the real nutcases on their own side, in my opinion. I would put more faith in (for instance) wring’s opinion (to pick a Doper almost at random) that Al Sharpton was a fruitcake than if rjung labeled Ashcroft as a dangerous fascist. [/li]
The other rule of thumb is, if you cannot discuss politics without ad hominem arguments, you might not be the most stable person on earth. I wish this were more characteristic of the side other than my own - my experience is that it is roughly the same.
[li]Is it the job of the government to “compensate people” for their bad luck? Not as a rule. [/li]
Big government is a very blunt instrument. There are a certain number of roles for which it is well fitted, most of which are enumerated in our Constitution (I am an American). In most other roles, it does not work terribly well, and other organizations (state or local governments, private business, charitable organizations, voluntary associations, et al) would do better.
The basic principles of my particular brand of American conservatism can be oversimplified as

  • Limited government
  • Individual freedom
  • Personal responsibility
  • Free markets

I believe that these are the principles that “work”. These are the basics for a social order that, in my estimation, are most likely to lead to the maximum amount of human freedom and happiness.

I approach most political and social issues from that perspective. It is a mistake (in my view) to caricature one side as overflowing with compassion for the downtrodden, and the other as hard-hearted exploiters of a suffering world. In the same way, it is a mistake to regard conservatives as noble knights leading the struggle against the forces of godless Communism who want to enslave our children, rape our women, and force us all to live on twigs and berries while holding our breaths for long periods of time to minimize our impact on global warming.

Except for elucidator. He really does want all that.

This is getting too long, and I need to get back to work. If you want perspective, there is one.




Why are you posting on a USA site complaining about Australia’s healthcare system?

I am from Gymea, I had a double bypass following a heart attack three years ago and have no complaints. That was under Medicare, not private insurance.

Yes, I was not fast tracked in the public hospital system, but so what? I did not go bankrupt and the operation (being non elective) proceeded on schedule.

If you want to help solve the homelessness problem, invite a homeless person or family to stay with you.

You say you avoid right wing people like the plague? I recommend that you try to develop a higher level of tolerance.

Not just in the racial, religious and ethnic area, but also the political viewpoint area. Bigotry is not nice, even if it merely involves politics.

Right Wingers (whatever that means) are, after all, fellow human beings, our brothers and sisters.

I think this is one of Melanie’s points. I don’t what to put homeless people up but I do what the state I live in to have a safety net for such people. I’m willing to pay taxes so that that resource is there for any person who finds themselves homeless in Ireland.

I’m willing to pay taxes for:

unemployment benefit
medical coverage
disability benefits
single mother benefits

you get the idea.

I accept that some people will take advantage of these benefits and there should be checks in place to catch them but the benefits should be in place for the people that need them. Some people on this board and IRL do not want their tax payments to go to these schemes and Melanie is asking why they feel this way(I think).

Maybe if you were a little less intolerant of others and actually socialized with right-wingers you would get your education.

I will take you at your word. My response will also be sarcasm free.

I think I will be healthier if I control my own medical care. E.g., I’m now attending Weight Watchers to lose weight. This prograqm is not covered by health insurance, but it works for me. I would be worse off if I had to let my insurance company or the government choose a weight loss approach for me.

I don’t oppose unemployment insurance in principle. Again, in practice, one runs into a bunch of arbitrary rules. Also, the people who actually receive unemployment pay aren’t always the ones who are most deserving of support.

Not entirely. There’s a certain amount of luck involved. However, I think society will work better if we mostly behave as if the world is just. Why? Because, the people who earn their money by honest work are also contributing to society. Those who merely collect benefits are not. If people are paid just as much to not work as they are for working, then why will anyone work?

This is too simple, too black and white. Few if any conservatives believe that nobody should be compensated. Few if any liberals want total compensation, whether someone works or not. The debate is over who should get compensated, how much, in what circumstances and by whom?

There’s an ethical issue here. If you have compassion for homeless people and donate your money to them, everyone will respect you. But, does your compassion for this group justify your donating my money to them?


My main criterion is whether something works. Based on real world experience, ISTM that socialist and statist societies don’t work very well. Somehow, when invidual compassion is too systematized it creates a government that works badly for all citizens.

I’m sorry you don’t like right-wingers. I like left-wing people because they typically have good moral values. However, there’s an unreality to their belief in some of the remedies they espouse.

Fear not, Melanie, you are by no means alone. Many are the non-Americans who find this message board and are somewhat surprised when introduced to what I believe are peculiarly American ideas regarding the “have-nots” of society. Nowhere else in the world have I found what I perceive to be a rather odd philosophy held so widely.

The idea which I, and perhaps you, find such difficulty appreciating is that human rights must in some way be earned, and that the injustice of children starving is either comparable to or less than the “injustice” of forcing non-starving people to feed them. This idea is invariably justified by reference to “slackers”, reasoning that if the state provided adequate shelter, food, education and healthcare to everyone then civilisation would come crashing down and progress would come to a standstill due to so much of the workforce being content to drop out and live on the breadline.

Suffice to say, this philosophy is a gross oversimplification and flies in the face of elementary economics, particularly in a world where unemployment is deliberately kept non-zero in order to prevent labour shortages.

My advice is to persevere with earnest patience, as you are doing here. For all its faults, it is undeniably a fascinating viewpoint which yields interesting debates. Stick around!

Sentient Meat

Your sympathy is somewhat displaced. Melanie was complaining about health care issues in Australia which are not valid, as far as I could tell from her vague comments, all of which seemed to involve a general rant to the universe as a whole.

Melanie, as an Australian, is not deprived as far as health care is concerned. As far as homelessness is concerned, shelter in Australia is available for all who require it, if they wish to follow certain Government mandated rules and guidelines.

Strawman much, SentientMeat?

By what?

I should hasten to add that nobody who has posted here so far holds the ideas I described AFAIK, merely that there are those on this board who have put forward the idea that “Human rights must be earned”, and it is their viewpoint I find so fascinating.

American conservatives and libertarians don’t believe that human rights must be earned. We just disagree with you regarding what exactly human rights are. I believe that most, like myself, don’t really accept the idea of ‘positive’ rights.

Like, say, article 25 of these?

As I say, I’m not particularly out to debate this issue, I am simply empathising with the OP since I too found the introduction to the economic ultra-right quite a surprise.

Where does she make reference to Australia apart from the location field to the left of the post? Also, if she had, why is it not appropriate to discuss issues relevant to foreign posters?

And finally, where on Earth is Gymea? Assuming it is.

By searching I think Gymea is in New South Wales in Australia.

Alan Owes Bess this site isn’t just for the US or US issues and you are also misinterpreting the intention of the OP

Actually, one distinction between conservatives and liberals is that conservatives believe that we can better achieve the goals of article 25 by firmly enforcing the rights in article 17. Liberals believe that we can achieve article 25 by encouraging governments systematically to violate those same rights.

Isn’t setting up strawmen and knocking them down fun?


I will repeat, Shodan, it is the view that Article 25 is not a Human Right which I find fascinating. The view that paying for article 25 by direct taxation violates article 17 is similarly fascinating. I am ascribing neither view to you, the other posters here, nor conservatives in general: I merely reiterate that there are those on these boards who hold such views and that it can be surprising for non-Americans to come across them.

I too was very surprised by some of the (by UK standards) far right economic viewpoints expressed on this board. It just goes to show how different the US is from the UK in terms of political views.

As far as i can see, the far right viewpoint is ultimately based on the concept of freedom. It might have been in that socialised medicine thread that someone said that put it like this: Only slaves work for no money. By taking someones money without giving them a choice (ie taxing them) you are turning them into a slave. Essentially one person is a slave to pay for another persons healthcare, education, unemployment benefit or whatever.

I regard this as a little strange, but i guess it is a valid viewpoint.

My question though if any right wingers care to answer is which is more important - rights or freedom? Sometimes you have to take money from people forcibly (tax) to eg provide life saving medical care, food to prevent starvation etc. I’m not asking if you personally are willing to pay taxes for these things, but whether it would be right (in your view) to force someone who was unwilling to pay for them, to pay for them. Would you view change if the money was for non life saving but very important things like education?

I hope i made myself clear, and someone answers. I am genuinely interested in your answer - i’m not just trying to start an argument here or anything.

I was once a Republican.

Y’see, SentientMeat and others make some excellent points. Whose rights are more important – hungry people’s right to food, or my right to not have to feed them?

Homeless people’s right to shelter, or my right to not have to put them up in my spare bedroom?

Sick people’s right to health, or my right to not have to pay for someone else’s convalescence?

This is why I became a Republican. One of the planks in the Republican platform was, at one point, “smaller government, less spending, less compulsion.” Basically, the government should avoid getting involved in the issue of “welfare.” After all, weren’t there charities and stuff for this?

Furthermore, I liked the idea of keeping the government as small, weak, and underpowered as possible. Cheaper that way, for one thing, and less likely to be in MY face for one reason or another. Plainly, the government’s job was to handle things that I can’t, like interstate highways, foreign policy, wars, and moon rockets.

I have since changed that opinion somewhat – I went through a rather harsh financial situation a while back when my wife had breast cancer, and I learned what it was like to be working your ass off, making boocoo bucks… and STILL BEING POOR, to the point where we were running to the food bank and investigating every sort of financial assistance we could find to avoid losing the house.

This was no fault of ours. She HAD insurance. We simply hadn’t planned on losing her income for the better part of a year, or on paying some of the truly insane costs that cancer involves.

We weathered it okay. Didn’t lose anything except her cancer and a few nerves… but it was most educational.

I learned that without certain restrictions in place on industry and on the insurance business in particular… we would have been utterly screwed. Her job and her insurance carrier worked VERY hard at keeping us from finding that out, too.

I learned that many charitable institutions aren’t interested in helping anyone except a very narrow cross section of poor people, preferably those of their own religion, and who have a car, and who are able to be at a certain place at a certain time, when the volunteers are handing out the food parcels.

In short, businesses will attempt to violently screw you unless the government specifically stops them from doing so.

Private charities can do whatever the hell they want, and help whoever the hell they want, and the hell with anyone else… thus implying the need for at least ONE source of assistance that will help ANYONE.

Around that time, I noticed that conservatives don’t want to hear that stuff.

All persons on welfare are crooks, layabouts, and general scum who should be forced to quit getting abortions and/or squeezing out welfare babies and go get JOBS.

All welfare should be handled by private concerns and churches.

…and best of all, business should be deregulated, because government has no business telling them how to run their business. Especially insurance.

I’m not a Republican any more…

Exactly. Conservative Americans, in general, believe that “rights” are naturally endowed, i.e., “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Nothing that someone else has to provide you is a “right”. Rather, they are socially/politically mandated entitlements. A comfortingly magnanimous concept, but nothing so fundamental as a “right”.

I tried to cut out the rest of the excessive hyperbole in order to address this piece.

Actually, we believe that progress will come to a stand still if the govenment goes into the full-time entitlement business because so much of the national economy will be handed over to fill these demands that there will be scant left over for innovation.

It is our individual self-reliance that drives our society of achievers to innovate and sustain America’s pre-eminence. No doubt I will be accused of “typical American arrogance” by stating that, but here we have a saying: “It ain’t bragging if it’s true.”

Thank you, Tygr. It is precisely your point of view which I said non-Americans are often suprised at being introduced to. (Incidentally, it also seems that Americans are often themselves surprised at this reaction!)

In order to sidestep further accusations of strawmanship, I will repeat that Tygr is not all American conservatives.