Thursday, May 11, 2017

GOP and Family Values

My friend, Oakley Hill, recently posted the following message on Facebook and tagged me in it. Because Facebook comments hardly ever result in fruitful dialogue, I commented that I would write a post about what he had to say rather than engage in the comment section. Oakley posted the following:

Can someone please explain to me how the Republican Party defends family values? I have been pretty confused about this for a while, and would like to understand.
Money problems are the leading cause of divorce, and Republicans seemingly do all they can to prevent working class families from having money—from refusing to enforce a living wage to undercutting Medicare and Food Stamp systems, refusing to regulate the cost of pharmaceuticals, attempting to cut social security, anti-union rhetoric and practice, etc. any attempt (literally, any attempt) to bring money to the working class is vehemently fought by the Republican Party. The only policy I can think of that seems to be towards benefitting family is their pro-life stance. But even that is complex and doesn't necessarily relate to family values. Especially given that elected officials can do virtually nothing to overturn supreme court's rulings which allow abortion.
On that note, Trumpcare is supposed to increase the cost of non-complicated pregnancy by over 400% (about $17,000 more than it costs now). A $17,000 increase in pregnancy costs will increase the abortion rate astronomically (for those who care about that issue). If this passes, Republicans will have increased the number of abortions far more effectively than Hillary could have ever done (not that she necessarily wanted to, I note this merely for illustration).
I am unsure how Republicans can on the one hand say they have family values, and on the other vote for the number one cause of divorce—financial struggle. Republicans have actively created economic disincentives for having children and being married. More than ever before, having children and being married is a financial burden that many don't believe they can afford. This hasn't come by nature, but by systems of economic incentives that we have put in place. The most anti-family, anti-children policies of the last decade have been enacted by Republicans, seemingly without any resistance by those who espouse "family values" (put in quotes because I'm not entirely sure what these values are).
This has confused me for quite a while. While I have concluded that this is simply an example of cognitive dissonance or ignorance, I am willing to hear arguments to the contrary.
My Republican friends. how can one espouse to have family values on the one hand, and vote for Republicans on the other? Please restrict the conversation to this topic since it could easily spill into non-related issues. Here I am not trying to defend "redistributive" institutions, but have only mentioned them because they are one way (among several) of bringing money to the working class. As many of you know, I am a libertarian socialist and a pragmatist—I don't really care for state-run command economies or neo-liberal capitalism, though I tend to ally myself with the former for practical reasons.

 Close quote. Before I start, let me clarify that while I am a traditional conservative (one whose conservatism is in line with thinkers such as Edmund Burke, David Hume, Russell Kirk, Edward Feser, etc.), I do not necessarily associate conservatism with the Republican Party, who are more in line with Ayn Rand style libertarianism (Paul Ryan said that Ayn Rand taught him what his values were).

Having said that, when the GOP and conservatives talk about family values, they mean that they are committed to keeping their wedding vows, being around for their children (if they have any), being pro-life, and being a good neighbor. This does not obligate them to support government programs to do what they can do for themselves, even if the government can do it better. There is no contradiction here because the role of individual is different than the role of government. The Constitution of the United States does not mandate that the government engage in social welfare programs, so conservatives and members of the GOP are not obligated to support them.

As far as Trumpcare is concerned (if one can call it care in the first place) I doubt that it will pass the Senate. Like Oakley, I am also a pragmatist so I realize that probably within the next decade we will have some sort of health coverage that is universal. So, I would encourage the GOP to form a sort of bill that would form a healthcare system similar to the one in Great Britain, which is a hybrid of the market and the state, or to keep Obamacare as it is (which is a conservative plan, the Heritage Foundation came up with it) and add a public option so that everyone can be in a better position to afford healthcare.

Just my thoughts, take them or leave them.

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