Discussion of Imprimis article: ‘The Case Against LIberal Compassion’

Click here for this Hillsdale College Imprimis article

This was a lengthy piece but William Voegeli well documents and investigates the origins of an ideology that ‘feels your pain’ but cares nothing about the waste of your tax dollars.

He lays out the gigantic 2013 and ever-growing welfare state in these United States of America:

  • $2.279 trillion
  • $7200 per American
  • 2/3 of all federal outlays
  • 14% of the Gross Domestic Product

This money that we all pay for with our tax dollars goes to:

  • Social Security
  • All other income support programs such as disability insurance or unemployment compensation
  • Medicare
  • All other health programs such as Medicaid
  • All programs for education, job training, and social services
  • There is also a yearly $728 billion spent beyond the federal amount on state and local programs for ‘social services and income maintenance’.
  • There are also regulations/laws that require help to others directly such as with minimum wages, maximum hours, and mandatory benefits for employees, rent control for tenants.

Liberals, however, keep insisting it isn’t enough. Forget the fact that waste of money in these programs is horrendous. Forget the fact that no amount of money seems to improve the suffering of the needy in our country. The war on poverty started long ago and poverty is still winning. Why is that?

And why do liberals feel that no matter how much we do through government to alleviate poverty, it’s always shamefully not enough?

Mr. Voegeli states that conservatives are aware that “liberal activists and publicists have successfully weaponized compassion.” Think on that.

Garrison Keillor wrote, 2004, “I am a liberal and liberalism is the politics of kindness.”

President Obama said last year: “Kindness covers all of my political beliefs. When I think about what I’m fighting for, what gets me up every day, that captures it just about as much as anything. Kindness, empathy-that sense that I have a stake in your success…”

Then the politics of kindness is liberalism, so conservatism, the adversary, is the politics of cruelty, greed and callousness.

1984, Speaker Tip O’Neill called President Reagan and evil man ‘who has no care and concern for the working class of America and the future generations…he’s cold. He’s mean. He’s got ice water for blood.”

There are more examples but you get the point.

Conservatives have never come up with an effective rebuttal to these accusations or liberals would have stopped these attacks.

What can we do?

Perhaps we can understand why liberals think the way the do.

The reason, according to Mr. Voegeli is

The Satisfaction of Pious Preening

This explains the liberal reason behind the welfare state which continues to grow geometrically without really ending any poverty.

The empathizer is accruing compassion points that he and others will admire.

…Sometimes empathizers such as those in the helping professions acquire a vested interest in the study, management, and perpetuation…of sufferers’ problems. It’s why so many government programs initiated to conquer a problem end up, instead, colonizing it by building sprawling settlements where the helpers and the helped are endlessly, increasingly co-dependent.

…the politics of kindness is about validating oneself rather than helping others…

We do have things to say in response to the liberal pious ‘compassion’ that has caused our welfare state:

Much more than our rulers’ compassion, however, we deserve their respect-for us; our rights; our capacity and responsibility to feel and heal our own pains without their ministrations; and for America’s carefully constructed and heroically sustained experiment in constitutional self-government, which errs on the side of caution and republicanism by denying even the most compassionate official a monarch’s plenary powers.

Compassion…doesn’t begin to cover all the beliefs that have sustained America’s republic…

About tannngl

Believer (God the Father, the Son and Messiah, the Holy Spirit), daughter, wife, mother, memaw, RN, hobbit, street evangelist I love people, music, reading, praying, studying the Bible, keeping up with national news and politics. I am a strict constructionist, a true American. I love my country. I honor her warriors. I am thankful for our Constitution and will personally bear arms for it.
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3 Responses to Discussion of Imprimis article: ‘The Case Against LIberal Compassion’

  1. Tannngl,

    My copy of Imprimis arrived a few days ago, and I thought that article was great. (Of course, they always pick great articles.) Voegeli affirmed one of my biggest frustrations in the following passage:

    “If conservatives had ever come up with a devastating, or even effective rebuttal to the accusation that they are heartless and mean-spirited: a) anyone could recite it by now; and, b) more importantly, liberals would have long ago stopped using rhetoric about liberal kindness versus conservative cruelty, for fear that the political risks of such language far outweighed any potential benefits. The fact that liberals are, if anything, increasingly disposed to frame the basic political choice before the nation in these terms suggests that conservatives have not presented an adequate response.”

    Hearing him say that didn’t make me “happy,” per se. But if someone as articulate as him feels the same sense of futility as I often do, then at least I know I’m in good company. Unfortunately, as I’ve written about before, Conservatism’s virtues lie beneath its harsh-looking exterior. Similarly (but inversely), Progressivism’s evils lie beneath its rainbow-looking exterior. Isn’t that just about the most depressing paradox you’ve ever encountered?

    The best metaphor I’ve found for Progressivism’s appeal is The Magic Spell of Poppies:

    Take care, and enjoy election day, my friend.
    – Jeff


    • tannngl says:

      Jeff, thanks for the visit. Glad to hear you read Imprimis!
      I took the Constitution classes and I learned so much! Those are wonderful investments in time.

      You’re right about the conservatives being unable to face down the progressives and your paradox is right on. I think it’s the history everyone has forgotten or they have never heard it. I have. I’ve been in conversations with progressives and they cannot answer the personal responsibility argument. The idea that it is up to individuals to help the poor, that government is unable to do this with any respect for the people they are supposed to be helping. And that government welfare is truly stealing from others to give to those who are need, or maybe not so in need. The charity as well as the health care worked quite well almost a half century ago when I began my nursing education. All hospitals were started by churches. It was considered a command of our Lord to help others. Every church seemed to start a hospital. There were also other charitable arms of churches to help feed, clothe and shelter the poor and down and out. But these organizations actually helped the helpee to become self sustaining, to become healthy again.
      Where’s the history?

      (When I think of progressives I think of “Puff the Magic Dragon”.


  2. Dr. Bryan E. Galloway says:

    Reblogged this on bonhoefferblog.


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