Got into a frustrating back and forth yesterday with some folks who are friends of someone I knew in college a century or two ago and who is a fan of all things right.
It began with the post of a word:
A system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.
Any attempts, by me or one other who sallied forth, to ask questions, to get examples, to have a conversation, were answered with charges of socialism, Marxism, or communism. With assumptions that the other poster and I were both living "off taxpayers."
There were no actual replies to my questions. Which included "Do you know anybody on welfare?" "Do you have actual friends who receive food stamps?" "What is to be done with the least of these our brethren?" No "I think that ..." or "I know this guy who ..." Only references to layabouts. And solutions of family, church and neighbors. Which implies a social mandate of sorts. An assumption that it is the place of the community (for what else are family, church and neighbors?) to provide help when help is needed. And what else is government, from small to large, but the community governing and providing for itself?
What was confused me not a little through all this was that several of these posters were people who came out of that same small Midwestern college that I attended very early on. A Lutheran college. Where we lived in sex-segregated dorms and were supposed to go the chapel every (day?), maybe just once a week. It's been a long time. But they were basing their social and political philosophy on a woman who was an avowed atheist. Who sneered at compassion. Who was all too happy to allow the wives and children of the inept to perish in the tunnel. Sorry - you have to read Atlas Shrugged for that reference, and I can't recommend it.
I'm disappointed that no one would participate in an actual conversation. With all the slinging about of socialism, Marxism, and communism, I wanted to ask whatever happened to good old fashioned Christianism, which used to be kind of a good thing. And which, although I don't really have a belief gene, is still something I was inculcated with and still informs my ethical base.
At last, I just asked what their favorite TV shows were. Couldn't we talk about something in common? Couldn't we just have a conversation? Is there any way we can begin to understand each other?