I Love Jet Noise On Choice & Personal Responsibility

Cassandra from I Love Jet Noise punched up a superb response to a Michael Kinsley’s whinging about the values issue (Free LA Times Subscription Required To Read).

Although the main thrust of the piece was supposed to be about values, Cassandra did a masterful job of explaining how libs & conservatives differ on personal responsibility, choice, & consequences. That’s why I wanted to post a big excerpt of her piece on RWN.

Take it away Cassandra….

“Liberals love to frame the values debate in terms of choice. It’s not a potential human life: it’s a choice. If you disagree, I can dismiss your opinion because you’re obviously a religious whack job.

Choice is such an attractive word: who could possibly oppose having more choices?

In the political arena, liberals do a better job of framing the debate: of packaging the pill for easy swallowing. In all fairness, they have an easier task. Liberal ideology is intrinsically positive in nature: Everyone should be allowed to choose,

“It’s not fair that some people have more than others – let’s help the downtrodden. No one should go hungry/uneducated/jobless/unfulfilled.”

…(C)onservatives aren’t against choice. We simply believe that choices have consequences.

We have no desire to bear the consequences of other people’s personal choices. We’re perfectly willing to bear the consequences of our own choices. Which leads me to the clever wording of the excerpt quoted above (by Michael Kinsley):

“But at least my values — as deplorable as I’m sure they are — don’t involve any direct imposition on you.”

I beg to differ. If a young girl chooses to have six illegitimate children before the age of thirty, I don’t have to raise them, nor do I have to enter the delivery room. But money is taken from my paycheck to subsidize her welfare check, her state-sponsored health care, her two failed attempts to get a GED, the police who patrol her crime-ridden street where gangs of fatherless boys gather to terrorize the local residents, the juvenile hall her oldest boy ends up in 14 years later.

I didn’t make those choices, but I get stuck with the tab. And I live in a world in which some people work hard and pay their own way, while other people do as they please and have their expenses paid by others. For a party that claims fairness as its mantra, this hardly seems appropriate.

The prevailing view of the Left is that people ought to be allowed to make choices without facing the natural consequences of those choices. That, in and of itself, might not be objectionable to the Right, if they did not also maintain that it was the duty of all right-thinking people to protect the chooser from facing those consequences.

The Michael Kinsleys of this world portray the Right as harshly judgemental and anti-choice. I don’t hate that unwed mother. I don’t condemn her. But I’m not sure it helped to subsidize her refusal to face reality. I wouldn’t support that behavior in my own daughter because I understand it’s not good for her or her children.

…The truth is, values are not a cost-free proposition. The ‘values-neutral’ approach of the left has real social and economic costs: higher divorce rates, STDs, illegitimacy, single parent families, juvenile delinquency, declining academic achievement. Look at the destruction of the black nuclear family over the past 40 years for a salutory lesson in social engineering run amok.”

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