I have been arguing with a family member today about extending a helping hand to others. At some point it became clear to me that in this, as in politics, & religion, & pretty much our entire world-view, we would never see eye to eye. If he weren’t family, I doubt we would even have any impetus to talk at all. Thinking about it afterwards, I think his viewpoint and mine can be fairly said to represent the extreme ends of the Left/Right spectrum.
It seems to me that the majority of far lefters and Liberals are impassioned and moved to pay forward without conditions or strings, or at least with minimal ones. We do not want to dictate terms or hold up hoops to jump through. We don’t necessarily expect to induce those we aid to conform to our ideologies, and we are not very concerned with alternate or opposing viewpoints in the face of tragedy. If we see a need or a place to lend a hand, we want to do just that. We also do not expect reciprocation or immediate return, because our investment is in humanity in general. We want to make things better for everyone, everywhere, not just ourselves & our own interests.
Far righters & Conservatives, on the other hand, seem to me to be far more driven by control issues. Public works and other assistance programs are viewed with distrust and resentment. This could be because when aid is given through these channels, each individual contributor (either by taxation or donation) is a step removed from decisions regarding perceived worthiness.
In conversations I have had with my mostly Republican, far right, Conservative family and friends, I see a fairly consistent theme in regard to who deserves help. The main thing they all seem to agree on, and I totally oppose, is the sentiment that no help should be given until the cause, or person or persons, in need submit to qualifying standards. It would seem, at least from them, that being in need is not enough. You must prove to be sufficiently needy, and your need must be of an acceptable nature.
This is a fairly good reason why having sane, rational, reasonable Moderates from both sides is so important.
As a fairly extreme Liberal, I recognize that I and those like me occasionally need a gentle redirecting hand to help us do the most good for the largest group. We can be easily diverted and spend an enormous amount of time and resources in areas that perhaps could have been better used elsewhere. That in no way negates what good we might do in those ares, and it in no way means we should not continue to try to lend a hand wherever we can, but we need a balance.
Likewise, Conservatives need a nudge to be less interested in exactly what the needy do in their private lives, and more concerned with the actual benefit derived from the action of giving. Assistance should actually be assistance. It should not be a lever to force obedience, nor should it be a method of weeding out or penalizing those who disagree with you.
We need someone to bring us together, and to force us to play nice in the world’s sandbox. Clearly, we won’t ever do it on our own.