It’s always slippery on the Left
Those on the Right say that for the government to give anything to anyone (unless it’s tax breaks for the wealthy and businesses) it’s a slippery slope. That social safety nets and government assistance, even for the elderly and the most vulnerable in our society, is wrong, that it’s just a way for the government to erode ones individual freedoms (and, yes, I’m oversimplifying, but the practical result of Republican rhetoric is very much this).
It’s always a slippery slope. A slippery slope to Communism, Socialism, to taking away your ability to think and act for yourself. A slippery slope to no longer taking responsibility for your actions.
A very slippery slope to a world where Government sees you, hears you, moves you like a puppet for you are nothing but a puppet. An empty sack of skin to be maneuvered and controlled and made to dance like some circus monkey. It’s always the Government.
It’s never a slippery slope to corporations large and small taking full control of it all. Control of your money. Control of your local government. Control of your town, city, county, State and Federal Government. Control of the economy and the military and who lives and who dies. It’s never that.
It’s never a gradual evolution to more prosperity, more social unity, more community, better education, better nutrition, a healthy environment. It’s never that. It can’ be that for that would mean the wealthy would be just a little bit less wealthy and the undeserving poor would be so much better off.
For Republicans it’s trickle down. Trickle down this, trickle down that, trickle down for everyone. Give all the money to those at the top and they’ll spend, spend, spend until somehow, someway, without rhyme or reason or very clear logic, those magical mystery dollars will find their way to the very bottom of the economic ladder lifting the most destitute of us all out of poverty and into the sunshine of limitless wealth. Or, so it seems. But, we saw how this all plays out in the real world under Reagan and the go-go, cocaine and stock market fueled ’80s. Not well.
Now, I’m not here to wholly discount the “slippery slope” argument, for it does have merit, but it’s so damned overplayed. We’re seeing this idea that the country’s going to be whole hog Socialist now that Biden is President. This sick fantasy that somehow the Democrats are all in with Mao and Marx and Lenin makes no sense. Sure, there are those who believe that Marxism is where we should head (I even follow some of them on Twitter), but let’s be really honest with ourselves, our friends, our family, and our elected representatives. We’ve seen the Marxist-Leninist experiment play out in real life, in real time. It failed. It will fail again. It will continue to fail for a few simple reasons, one of the biggest being that we do not live in a post-scarcity world. Scarcity breeds value to things, to work, to ideas. Another reason Marxism will fail in the here-and-now contemporary world — human nature.
Look at China as a great example. For as much as the country is run by a dictator and a single Communist party the economy is Capitalistic. Even the Chinese who revere Mao and Maoism know that the Marxist-Leninist Communism/Socialism won’t work in the here and now. Or, take Europe, Conservative America’s favorite whipping boy when it comes to evil Socialism. Sorry right wingers, but Europe is still pretty damned Capitalistic, even if the continent is rife with strong social safety nets, including the reviled by the Right Universal Healthcare.
In my observations of people, their behavior, motivations and interactions, greed is the driving force more often than not. Maybe not outright greed, perhaps the simple greed of wanting to ensure one gets something out of every transaction. Maybe something as simple as a warm, fuzzy feeling for doing good. Perhaps something more complex, such as the satisfaction of knowing someone else is doing exactly as you believe they should. However you parse it, however you look at it, today, in the here-and-now, riding so close on top of our base nature, so many people view life through a transactional lens. Can I get more than I put in? Is the interaction even? Am I getting what I deserve?
Maybe we don’t mean to. Maybe we have the best intentions and will our Ego out of the way. Maybe. But it’s there, lurking in the shadows. And, that there, combined with fear is what we must be wary of most. For, that is the true slippery slope. The slippery slope of scarcity, greed and fear that will lead us to more corporate domination, more voter restrictions and disenfranchisement, more financial inequality, and more social injustice.
The more the Haves can distance themselves from the Haves Not the more power they hold, wield and consolidate. The more freedom they have and the less of everything for everyone else. It’s happened before, the wealthy and powerful ruling over their serfdoms and serfs with an iron fist.
Make no mistake, the empty rhetoric and arguments that a more socially and financially just nation leads to ever expanding government control and reach into our private lives, an unrelenting erosion of personal freedoms, is just that. Empty rhetoric and lies for arguments, for the Republicans know full well who their masters truly are, and it’s not the Great American Worker, the farmer and laborer, the rancher or the assembly line worker. No, Republican masters are the monied and corporate behemoths that have a hand in every piece of our daily lives. The very people who time and time again enrich themselves, their cronies, their investors and their bankers at the expense of the average middle and lower class worker.
Don’t mistake the angry privileged hordes whipped into a frothing, seething frenzy by Trump and his ilk as the true foundation of the Republican Party, its policies and worldview. No, those folks are just a tool, a weapon, a blunt force used to traumatize the already traumatized, to scare off the “others”. They do not represent the guiding principles, but they are the Monster of the Frankenstein Republicans.
Until this dynamic, worldview and social order changes we are not Free. Freedom comes from the bottom up. The levers of power must be wielded by the citizenry, not corporations. When an entity has power over the individual we fail to be a country governed Of, By and For the People. We are nothing better than the monarchies and autocracies of our past. Maybe with a bit more say, but not much when those with money buy our votes (and principles) and sell our politicians.
Giving all the People more power, more say, more hope, a better life free from worry that the next medical emergency will bankrupt them or kill them, a better education free from worry that they’ll never be able to pay for it, this is not a slippery slope. It’s a gradual evolution toward a better world, a better life. It’s a gradual evolution that all of us benefit from, poor, middle class, wealthy, college grad and those that barely made it through high school (if at all).
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it is a slippery slope. A slippery slope toward a more enlightened, enriched world where people are freed of the financial shackles that keep us apart. Maybe, just maybe, a nation that prioritizes the betterment of all citizens and acts to ensure their well-being is a nation that thrives, grows, and lights the way for all humankind toward that better, safer, saner tomorrow.