One of the most effective, albeit hypocritical, tools used by the left to “sell” socialism to the American public is false compassion. Aided and abetted by the media, the left claims to be more compassionate toward the so-called victims in society—a message that plays well to Americans encouraged by trial lawyers and government bureaucrats to view themselves as victims. However, the truth is that conservatives are significantly more compassionate in giving to the needy than are liberals. For example, conservatives give a much higher percentage of their personal income to charity than do liberals. For a complete accounting of this fact—a fact that is little known because liberal journalists keep it under wraps—see Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth about Compassionate Conservatism (New York: Basic Books, 2006) by Arthur C. Brooks. What Brooks demonstrates in his book is that liberals are generous with the money of other people, but stingy with their own, and that the attitudes of liberals toward the needy are condescending, paternal, and opportunistic (i.e. if liberals can create a broad base of people who are dependent on the government they can ensure a broad base of support in elections).
In fact, with the assistance of the media and trial lawyers liberals have turned victimhood into one of America’s most prospering industries. Unfortunately, the so-called compassion of the left is the type that gives in to the alcoholic who begs for a drink or the addict who pleads for a fix. Giving might stop the tears for the moment, but it will just make the addiction worse in the long run. The unavoidable result of this advocacy of victimhood is the encouragement of dependence and entitlement. The more that people view themselves as entitled victims, the more dependent they become. The more dependent citizens become, the faster America slides downhill toward socialism.
The left has mastered the art of compassion rhetoric and uses it effectively to sell socialism to a gullible American public. Smiling socialists sell their philosophy in the same way a snake oil salesman hawks his wares. One of the left’s favorite terms for selling socialism is equality. “Equality” has become the mantra of the left. After all, didn’t Thomas Jefferson advocate equality for all men in the Declaration of Independence? Didn’t Jefferson say that “…all men are created equal”? Historians still debate whether Jefferson meant that all men are created equal before God, before the law, or in human dignity. But there are no serious scholars who believe he meant what the left means by equality: equality of outcome.
The left advocates, legislates, and sometimes intimidates in its on-going attempts to guarantee equality of outcome in society regardless of merit or effort. Anyone on the right who dares claim that an unproductive member of society deserves less than a productive member is quickly labeled “hard-hearted” or “mean-spirited.” The left makes no connection between contribution and reward. Leftists find nothing wrong with taking from a productive person and giving to an unproductive person, even one who has the potential to be productive but makes no effort to be. Socialists call this government-ordained theft “redistribution of wealth,” one of president Obama’s favorite concepts. The radical left thinks it is unfair for a thrifty, diligent, self-reliant producer who pulls America’s economic wagon to have more than a lazy, irresponsible, entitled person who just rides in the wagon. This is one of the main reasons for socialism’s long and consistent record of failure.
This is the sixth in a 10 part series on Socialism: