by D Robert Dunn
Fear is a powerful motivator and perhaps the most powerful negative feelings there is. If one can effectively feed the fears of others, he or she can also effectively grasp or hold on to power. The one who assures others that there is a danger in the woods that he understands and can handle is often the one hired by the frightened townspeople to defend them. In modern days, it is the Congressman who is elected.
I’m referring specifically to Representative Andre Carson with his comments before the Congressional Black Caucus in which he commented that TEA Party members “would love to see you and me,” (as he speaks to a predominantly African American audience) “hanging on a tree“.
Masked behind words that evoke a strong sense of fear and racial tension is a division on one point: What is the role of the government and how far should that government go in carrying out that role? Is it the role of the central government to provide for the less fortunate members of society?
I’m an adherent to the belief that the central government’s role is national defense, international relations, interstate commerce, and general laws and rules that protect the citizenry. Examples of the last point can be found in the regulations the FAA, FDA, EPA, and NTSB publish.
Social programs that bolster the “less fortunate” without effective guidelines and stipulations, or that lack self-improvement milestones and accountability measures are un-American and threaten society as a whole.
At issue in the case of Representative Carson is the very reasonable call from fiscal conservatives to reduce government spending on social programs which for a variety of reasons may disproportionately benefit minorities. The fact that we’re rushing headlong into deeper, unsustainable debt and government spending seems to escape the representative’s focus. The fact that hand-out programs often serve to build long-term dependence and stifle improvement also escaped him.
Social welfare programs have been a part of the American plan for the last eight decades. Yet the number of programs and recipients of the benefits only grows. The numbers have never gone down. In addition to building and feeding the bureaucracies behind the programs, we have created a class of citizen who no longer has the means to achieve a self-sustaining status. So rather than build programs to fix the social ills that feed the underlying issues of poverty and social inequality, we have built programs which help meet the hand-to-mouth needs of the recipients, likely ensuring their lifelong dependence on these programs. Out of such dependence come lifelong constituencies— constituencies that can be manipulated through fear of loss to support any agenda.
Andre Carson, rather than malign and slander conservatives, would do better to provide his constituents with opportunities to improve their education and job skills so that they can become self-supporting, contributing members of society. If you give a man a fish, he comes back the next day with his friends and asks for more. Teach a man to fish and he can then teach others, who in turn can teach others, and ultimately, everyone is fed.
Wanting to stop the handouts is not a racist agenda. Wanting fiscal responsibility in Washington is appropriate. Wanting Americans to work for what they receive is just. Wanting illegal immigrants to face the consequences of their illegal status is just. And wanting our politicians to keep a civil tone and to strive for harmony in governing rather than division is appropriate.
The full article on this appears on WRTV’s website along with a reader poll. As of 4:00 pm on Wednesday, August 31, 2011, a little over 1,500 votes had been cast with 76% (1,187 votes) showing disagreement with Mr. Carson’s comments.
The views expressed in this post are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Indiana Conservative or any other contributors.
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