For liberals who find it difficult to comprehend the differing beliefs of their conservative counterparts, I have unlocked a great mystery. In an attempt to better understand the inner workings of the American conservative mind, I discovered that viewing my household as a microcosm of the United States leads to a firm grasp on the tenets of an alternate political reality.
First, I had to acknowledge the connection between household politics and national politics.
The most significant similarity between my household and the nation is the measurable division between the haves and the have nots. For some time, America has seen the erosion of the middle class and a growing gap between the rich and the un-rich. The economic makeup of my home mirrors this separation, as my wife and I account for over 99% of the household income, while our two toddler sons don’t even bring in 1% via their cash welfare handouts provided in their birthday and Christmas cards.
Understanding that my household consists of two distinct economic classes has been a major step toward understanding and appreciating conservatism. I have further learned how an idol of the right, author Ayn Rand, bifurcated her fictional societies into what she saw as the makers and the takers, the former monopolizing virtue and the latter existing as a scourge. Based on the economics and consumption habits within the small society of my household, Rand’s portrayal could not be more accurate, and she is not the only high-profile figure to lucidly explain how only half of society is worthy of even the most basic human needs.
Speaking on behalf of modern conservatives, Mitt Romney famously elaborated on the “47 percent of the people…who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.…These are people who pay no income tax…My job is not to worry about those people.”
I see it now. Rand and Romney get it. The takers in my household are constantly expecting things like food and shelter, even though they don’t contribute any portion of their measly incomes to the generous food and housing programs that my wife and I fully fund. There are, of course, far higher priorities than Cheerios and fruit snacks when it comes to the allocation of our vast riches. For instance, according to the relative scope of federal defense spending, by conservative logic my household should be spending at least $28,000 annually on guns, ammunition, and security to ensure that our defense capabilities exceed the combined capabilities of everyone else in our neighborhood.
Now, I have already anticipated the liberal counter to my airtight analogy: “But, Jason, your children do not have the opportunity to earn money and become part of the maker class.” Baloney. Once you start to understand things from the conservative perspective, you realize that liberals are full of excuses. My little boys have ample opportunity to earn their fair share. For instance, there is baby modeling, a lucrative and glamorous livelihood. The fact that there are 100 applicants for every one baby modeling job could have some parallel in regards to America’s unemployment situation, but to my newfound conservative sensibilities, that sounds more like another excuse.
The demands of the moocher class in my household are indeed tiring and financially draining. Sure, there are starry-eyed idealists who say that the only way to ensure that the moochers will have a chance to become self-sufficient is to temporarily meet all of their basic needs while they attempt to work their way out of poverty, but why should I gamble on them when my money could achieve almost guaranteed returns on the booming stock market? After all, progress for a household or a nation can only be measured in terms of economic growth, not some heartfelt stories about how there are fewer hungry children. Based on this conservative definition of success, I am now able to completely identify with the principle of investing in thriving American businesses rather than struggling American people. And now that corporations are people thanks to five justices on the Supreme Court, conservatives are just picking the most deserving “people” to support and subsidize.
There are still some secrets of conservatism that I have yet to decipher, like why so many conservatives would gravitate toward a religious figure who was so obsessed with helping poor people. However, now that I am able to recognize the worthlessness of half the people in both my home and in my country, conservatism makes perfect sense.