Smallholder: Callous Cold-Hearted Republican

I enjoyed being able to spend time with my kids and their playgroup this summer. My daughter’s friends and their parents are fun folks. Because the group was initially built around birth dates at the hospital, the mix of people is pretty random. We have raving moonbat liberals, squishy centrists, apolitical types, conservatives (one family named their child Reagan after the great man himself), and in Polymath, an honest to-goodness libertarian.

Politics are rarely discussed.

At one of the kidfests that took place on the farm, one of the mothers began going on about how we needed to do more for the less fortunate. I (cautiously, oh so cautiously) wondered about the efficacy of that approach. I expressed my willingness to pay taxes to help people who needed a helping hand as long as, and this is a big if, that help actually, well, helped. I also expressed concern that many of the chronically unemployed were unemployed not because of systemic oppression but because of poor personal choices and a lack of work ethic. Throwing more money at the unemployable, while not delivering a standard of living with which I’d be content, would make continued poor choices tolerable - and the poor choices would continue.

Another mom jumped in at this point and supported my contention that jobs were available for people willing to work. She and her husband own a restaurant and had been advertising for kitchen help. They were willing to train applicants, pay relatively well, and provide health benefits. They had had zero applicants after two weeks of advertising.

According to moonbat mom, that was irrelevant. She then gave us a “good example” of who she wanted to help. Her best friend, she said, worked at Burger King because she had low self esteem (not her fault) and didn’t have the self-confidence to try to get a better job. Since providing (adequately) for her children was impossible on a Burger King salary, my interlocutor argued that we should pay a larger share of her rent and give her more direct aid.

Now, when she phrased things in this way, I should have walked away. But the Smallholder you all know and love had to say: “Well, perhaps that additional ‘help’ won’t really be helpful at all; if your friend had to face the results of living on a Burger King salary, she would be motivated to find a better job. Need would overcome low self esteem. Having attained a better job, perhaps her self esteem would be raised. Besides, the low self esteem is not a problem created by society. I don’t think you can morally ask someone to pay more in taxes to support your friend with low self esteem.”

She teared up. “What’s a few more dollars in taxes?” She demanded, “People will just blow the extra few bucks on material trinkets or happy meals!”

Now, if I was a smart man, I would have walked away. She was in full-on “defend my best friend” mode.

If I was a clever man who thought quickly on my feet, I would have pointed out that if everyone stopped buying happy meals, Burger Queen would lose her job.

But I simply replied that her friend was unlikely to do anything but buy a trinkets and happy meals herself. In the long run, denying her those things would be in her family’s best interests.

The mom, now actually crying, mustered the worse insult she could imagine:

“You’re such a callous cold-hearted Republican!”

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