Wednesday, 1 June 2011

A Conservative, Compassionate Response To Poverty

I love my family, friends and people in my life.  I have a heart for serving and giving.  My decision to believe in 'limited government' does not preclude me from expressing my heart of compassion.  I have argued limited government actually realizes and mobilizes people to be compassionate.  I have further argued that socialism hurts the poor.
Here are 4 myths the 'left' uses to play on Canadians limited understanding of poverty;

Myth #1
If you care about the poor, a strong government response of large spending is required
This statement is presupposed by the conviction that the government is responsible for 'the plight of the poor'.
If we agree that in certain times, and certain situations the government does have (limited) jurisdiction and therefore responsibility it does not follow that at all times the government has lots of expansive jurisdiction and therefore almost unlimited authority.  The left needs to make a better argument then surface points ('fighting for families', 'fairness', 'leaving no Canadian behind').  Their approach is incredibly overly simplistic due to them not supporting their 'surface comments' with anything substantial (bring out your constitution!).  Men and women of compassion ought to argue the opposite of this myth.  People are called to be compassionate.  Compassion is an act of the free will.  When the free will responds in love to meet another's need, that is compassion.  By the government taking 'moral authority' to fight for families in the context of 'helping the poor' they are calling themselves the responsible party for a solution and therefore minimizing the responsibility on the citizen to help people in need.  This removes 'compassion' from the equation Mr. Layton.  "Free choice" is eliminated from the individuals approach.  It becomes a 'mandate' of the Country, not a directive of the heart.  Let's argue the opposite of myth #1 by citing the logic of: "seeing a need we have the capacity to meet + responding in love from our free will = real compassion and powerful giving".  Call out left leaning logic "Government sees need + taxes and creates programs = manufactured solutions" as not compassionate.

Myth #2
If matters were left to the private sector, people would be hurt and left behind: and this is plain wrong.
The question is not: who is guaranteed to do the best job?  The question is: who is responsible for helping the poor? It is a logical fallacy to argue something is right because we presume (without evidence) a potential negative future.  If we say, "the government does better then private sector, therefore the government is responsible", then we open the door to the same 'logic' extending itself in area's we would abhor entry into.  An obvious example, "the government does a better job than parents, therefore government is responsible for running my family".  The government does a better job than business, therefore the government is responsible for business".  This 'logic' is a continual 'assault' on our families and businesses all across the country.  The abdication of personal responsibility via government passing laws to expand is the basis on which the 'left' desires to expand government.  We need to call this logic out as wrong and contrary to our values.  We need to replace it with, "I don't care who's better, I care who's responsible: as those responsible ought to do better". 

Therefore, if we establish the poor is not government responsibility (except in limited, last resort circumstances) then we can argue for solutions from the private sector (personal giving, business, charity etc) without being branded as heartless, uncaring etc.  This is not an argument about 'caring for the poor', rather it is an argument about 'who is responsible?'. 

We can argue 'the private citizen, family, friends, charity' are to be mobilized to serve without any 'moral wrongdoing'.  The left does not have the corner on 'loving the poor via massive tax collection and redistribution'.

Myth #3
Conservatives are heartless and think the poor are lazy
This is a brutal accusation that lacks truth.  I think there is merit in that some conservatives are heartless and selfish.  However, the 'part does not represent the whole' by any means.
Conservatives need to stop being passive and afraid to talk about real issues.  I love 'blogging Tories' because I read about courageous bloggers who share their thoughts openly.  Lets really 'hone in' on demonstrating our values by how we act and serve. Let's not only 'argue' it's our responsibility to give and serve those less fortunate…let's be the answer.  I have not found poor people to be lazy.  I happen to believe that the best way to help 'business owners like me' also represents the best way to help anybody…rich, poor etc. 
Here is how we love on people and help people in the free market (rich or poor):
1. Connect with people who we can learn from.  Be invested in from others.
2. Develop and grow as an individual
3. Build relationships with people 'less fortunate': be their solution by investing in them.
4. Building relationships with others and communicating that they are valuable , loved and have potential is more powerful then the left will ever acknowledge and possibly conceive.
5. Recognize that if we are not helping others, the population will just vote in a government that does.  Don't hand your opportunity to love and serve away to a government.

Myth #4
Government making massive investments in the poor is the solution.
Often, I believe this is the problem.  I had a 'job placement' agency tell me that if I hired this particular young man, the government would pay  8 weeks of his salary.  They told me he was on welfare and really need a chance.  I remember telling this particular job placement agent, "Thank you for the offer.  I do not want this individual to have the government pay 8 weeks for free.  Tell him that his abilities will win him this job, not a 'government handout'.  I respectfully decline the free 8 weeks and I graciously will give him a chance.  The 'value' I get from this individual as an employer is not from him being free for 8 weeks, but rather the potential inside of him that we all want unlocked."  The agent was blown away by my comments.  I was preaching 'free market 101'.  She called me back a few days later and said, "when I told the individual (on welfare) about what you said Ryan, he broke down and cried in my office.  The young man said, "I felt so helpless and unloved as a person. When Ryan said he wanted me without government support, I never felt so valued before".  This came from an individual on welfare.  People want to be loved, valued and invested in.  All of us do.  I personally see government handouts often as an enemy to the poor's cause.  Everyone is valuable and has potential.  The key is developing ourselves and others through personal responsibility, meaningful relationships where we are loved, not judged.  This is best done by accountable relationships, not government investments.  The gentlemen on welfare was not 'valued' when I accepted special treatment (8 free weeks paid for by taxpayers dollars).  He was valued when I treated him like everyone else and give him a chance.  I met with him several times (per my suggestions 1-5 above…just like others invested in me) to develop a relationship.

The basis on which the 'left' argues for 'fighting for families' is dangerous.  They call themselves the 'responsible party' for every social challenge, including poverty.  Our deep care for those in need ought to me modeled by action, not argument.  Conservatives, our fight for limited government starts with being the answer not only for ourselves and family, but also for those in need. 

Be the answer today.  The "Jack Layton" NDP alternative is not what we want.


  1. Thank you - well said. I feel conservatism is more caring. Everything you say is 100% true - denying people self worth is denying people a chacne to have an identity. There is nothing wrong w/ the concept of the "protestant work ethic". With any privilege should come responsibility and we dish out the freebies in Canada with zero expectation of productivity. Then we pat ourselves on the back that we take care of those in need with: employment insurance, subsidized housing, etc - when in the end I don't think it does anything for them. Take nationalized daycare - who does that work most for - people with 9-5 jobs. It does not work for a couple of waiters/nurses, etc - working shift work - who is to look after their kids after hours??? What about a family with one car and the daycare spot - 25 minutes each way in peak traffic in the opposite direction from home/work - that is helpful when the neighbour next door wants to take in children...... and on it goes. How is it that the conservative philosphy which I believe to be the most caring and practical gets positioned as the most heartless. I feel that it is more heartless to chuck money and people and then marginalize them at the periphery - because these folks no longer feel comfortable making an effort for themselves. I hope in the next 4 years some of this side of conservatism can be portrayed.

  2. Wow. I'm encouraged Ryan. There is hope for our nation. I have long believed that our "entitlement" industry is hurting the poor of our nation rather than helping them and you have put that in a personal, clear and understandable way.

  3. socialism is not about the NDP talking points of "fairness" etc, its about a fantasy equailitarian world where everyone (except party memebers, and unionists) MUST be equal in every way regardless of ability or effort. It's a perverse poisonous philosophy that considers every aspect of ones life, government property; its funny how these people squaak about "freedom of choice" but would acutally allow very little if given power


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