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Friday, August 06, 2004

Politics: Republicans v. Democrats 

I ended up bar hopping with a few friends after the Astros debacle last night, and our last stop took us to north Austin's very own pretentious slice of Dallas -- Cool River. My buddy Robert was "feeling it, so I expected to toss back a few overpriced drinks while he cased the dance floor, looking for a girl younger than 40.

Unexpectedly, we ended up in the cigar room, talking politics with a bunch of strangers. It's not uncommon for Robert and I to debate current events with our Liberal friend, Evan, but the conversation usually doesn't extend beyond our table.

After an hour or so, one of our new friends decided to offer up his opinion on the differences in Republicans and Democrats:

If a Democrat walks down the street and sees a homeless guy, he feels bad, as if society has failed that person. He sees himself in better shape than the homeless person, and he feels that he can best help him by giving him five or ten dollars.

When a Republican walks down the same street and sees the same homeless person, he also feels bad, but not because society has failed the guy. His solution is not to give a handout. Instead he talks to the homeless guy, and offers to take him to the local Burger King to fill out an application, so that he can provide for himself.
Maybe so. I like to think it gets a little more complicated than that pedestrian metaphor, but one point that I agree with is: Conservatives, by and large, still champion the ideals of rugged individualism and self-determinism. Personal responsibility lies at the heart of all of our problems, and solving them is more our own burden than the Government's.

The Liberal mindset replaces self-reliance with entitlements. It removes personal responsibility from the equation. Those that fail are taught that it's someone else's fault, and those that don't wish to work hard enough to support themselves needn't worry -- the Government will take care of you. That line of thinking runs contrary to every principle upon which our nation was founded.

I realize that the Republican party doesn't always live up this brand of Conservatism. But it comes a whole hell of a lot closer than its counterpart.


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