Monday, October 14, 2013

Why social conservatives barge into the lives of those who are different in their quest of "freedom" from government

I was particularly appalled at a news story about how a particular federal employee was treated at the Bank of America when she tried to get some sort of temporary forbearance on her mortgage when she wasn’t getting paid during the government shutdown, even though backpay is supposed to be given. (Not so for contractors.)  Banks have said they will work with loan customers.  But this customer was told, “No, we can’t help you.  Try asking family and friends to pick up your mortgage.”
Whoa?  I haven’t been affected yet, and don’t have any big bills for a while.  Property taxes, and a big dental procedure have all been paid.  No one has approached me.  Maybe I should feel grateful, or lucky. But, even though I didn’t “have a family”, am I supposed to become a personal insurance policy for others because of the misdeeds of those who don’t do their jobs (either at banks or in Congress), particularly when their failure is due to their own ego-driven agendas? Or is my asking this more of the same kind of talk.  The buck has to stop with someone; if everyone simply wants to blame hardship on someone else’s bad behavior, seek “justice”, and not step up, we all perish.
Yet, I hear rhetoric that sounds a bit like this from the far Right, including some not so libertarian members in the Tea Party.  The most radical members (even Ted Cruz) act like they want some kind of quasi-fascist coup.  They want to abolish all federal entitlement programs and throw people on the dependence of “family, friends and neighbors”.  Think how this plays out with all kinds of issues: pre-existing conditions, homelessness, food stamps (where the system that processes them failed this weekend), unemployment, even bank failures.
That has an effect on “family values” that doesn’t get stated often.  The “socially conservative” view sees taking care of the vulnerable as a highly personal responsibility that everyone must share.  It’s not just a matter of deciding to have children, or knowingly engaging in behavior that can bring children into the world.  Everyone will, in their view, have the responsibility for supporting other family members anyway.  For example, everyone has filial responsibility to take care of aging parents (and many states have filial responsibility laws, which gets nettlesome with longer life spans and an epidemic of Alzheimer’s).  Sometimes childless and/or single people are asked to raise siblings’ children after family tragedies.  This is a very difficult matter for me to contemplate, as I did not set up my own “domain” with my own “natural family”.  I have to face the idea that I found social competition humiliating and developed an attitude that I would not allow any intimate relationship with anyone where I could not use “upward affiliation”.  I wound up “rejecting” people based on any perceived imperfections. 
Social conservatism in the US argues that it supports “freedom” from government intrusion because it encourages self-sufficiency, but only within the family unit and local neighborhood.  Everyone shares chores and everyone shares a certain level of fellowship or social intimacy in their local surroundings before they try to make a name for themselves, as, for example, auteurs.  This is a very difficult situation for those of us who are “different”, that is, perhaps just a little bit autistic, in that gray zone where we understand everything but watch it from a distance, and build websites rather than work directly with people. 

Social conservatism also sees old-fashioned sexual morality, however it plays out for different people, as a kind of ultimate equalizer, a justification of necessary social hierarchy, maybe even patriarchy.
The current “Values Voter Forum” has a view of freedom that is still collective and the “natural family” level.  It is not the vision of the individualist, or libertarian.  I don’t even think Ayn Rand would approve. But maybe Jesus would.  

No comments: