Wednesday, August 15, 2012

"Freedom" or "Selfishness"?

Jesus of Nazareth was absolutely clear that we have a responsibility to care for one another. Jesus instructed us to “love one another” (John 13:34). Cultivating the virtues of empathy, compassion, and support for other people is the way we love one another in an individual and in a social sense.
The virtue of selfishness, however, is becoming more and more permissible. Much will be made of the influence of atheist philosopher Ayn Rand on Ryan. Ever since Ryan put out his draconian budget proposal that slashes essential programs for the poor and gives big tax breaks to the rich, Ryan’s attachment to the works of Ayn Rand has been highlighted. Jonathan Chait, in the pages of Newsweek, referred to Ryan as a “Rand nut,” and called out Ryan for launching a “war on the weak.” ....

Through decades of conservative ideology, the concept of freedom itself has been narrowed to mean simply ‘it’s okay to be selfish.’ In fact, caring for our fellow citizens is regarded as the antithesis of our own individual freedom....

This national election has now become a referendum on whether we will choose the value of selfishness or of compassion. The depth and the height of our core national value of freedom is at stake in this choice.

Freedom isn’t selfishness. My freedom ultimately depends on my capacity to feel compassion for you, and the freedom we achieve together in mutual responsibility.
 I think we see this selfishness in the comments about "freeloaders" and "welfare cheats".  The idea that "we" don't want to pay for "them" if "they" are poor, brown, sick, or weak.  The idea that we're taxed too much (despite having the lowest tax rate since the 50s).  The idea that regulations are wrong (as though Listeria in your food is a good thing).  The idea that I don't deserve medical coverage if your religion disapproves of my choices. 

Gordon Gekko is still among us. 

Them, or us?

4 comments:

Grandmère Mimi said...

IT, thanks for the link. What a splendid article.

Ryan is a devout Roman Catholic. Just saying.

dr.primrose said...

Michael Hiltzik's column in today's L.A Times. warns that the Ryan budget plan would not only make the lives of the poor "immeasurably worse"; in addition, "the middle class would be destroyed."

Tom Sramek, Jr. said...

@Grandmere Mini: Ryan may be "a devout Roman Catholic" but his policy positions are antithetical to Catholic social teaching, as was pointed out by the "Nuns on the Bus". My fear is that Christians who should know better will look at the pro-life, anti-tax, "pro family" Romney-Ryan ticket and choose to ignore things which ordinarily would make them unelectable in a Christian worldview.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Ryan may be "a devout Roman Catholic" but his policy positions are antithetical to Catholic social teaching...

Tom, I know that, and I have pointed out that very contradiction more than once on my blog.

Are the pro-lifers who support Ryan troubling themselves to examine Ayn Rand's position on abortion?