Pilgrim Pathways: Notes for a Diaspora People

Incarnational Discipleship

A Day in the Life of Joe Conservative

Joe gets up at 6:00am to prepare his morning coffee. He fills his pot full of good clean drinking water because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water quality standards. He takes his daily medication with his first swallow of coffee. His medications are safe to take because some pinko liberal who doesn’t trust the free market fought to insure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10.00 of his medications are paid for by his employers’ medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance, now Joe gets it too, even though he’s middle management and doesn’t think much of unions. He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs this day. Joe’s bacon is safe to eat because some liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. Joe hates regulations and thinks government inspectors can’t get real jobs, but if he ever got a piece of bad meat, he’d scream to his elected officials.

Joe takes his morning shower reaching for his shampoo; His bottle is properly labeled with every ingredient and the amount of its contents clearly displayed because some liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some tree hugging liberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work; it saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees and contributes to the clean air he breathes by reducing auto-emissions. You see, some liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor. Joe likes his ride because it lets him read the paper before work and he has less stress than those who deal with traffic jams, and, when gas prices are high, Joe takes home more of his pay than those who have to spend it at the pump. But it never occurs to Joe to thank the liberals who keep public transportation costs low.

Joe begins his work day; he has a good job with excellent pay, medicals benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe’s employer pays these standards because Joe’s employer doesn’t want his employees to form a union, too. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed he’ll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some liberal didn’t think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

Its noon time and Joe needs to make a Bank Deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe’s deposit is federally insured by the FDIC because some liberal wanted to protect Joe’s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the depression.

Joe has to pay his HUD-underwritten Mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some stupid liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive to dad’s; his car is among the safest in the world because some liberal fought for car safety standards. He arrives at his boyhood home. He was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers Home Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The house didn’t have electricity until some big government liberal stuck his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification. (Those rural Republican’s would still be sitting in the dark, otherwise.)

He is happy to see his dad who is now retired. His dad lives on Social Security and his union pension because some liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn’t have to. After his visit with dad he gets back in his car for the ride home.

He turns on a radio talk show. The host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. (He doesn’t tell Joe that his beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day). Joe agrees, “We don’t need those big government liberals ruining our lives; after all, I’m a self made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have.”


March 2, 2012 - Posted by | U.S. politics


  1. It doesn’t strike you as at all hypocritical to present this caricature of an average conservative who is evil because of his superficial, uninformed beliefs about liberals and the goods you have perceived they have done for society? You would think that being from “blue collar” people in the South, you would recognize that demagogues of any political persuasion are not actually representative of their supposed consituencies.

    On a more formal level, you surely realize the fallacious nature of implying that the personal behavior of conservatives somehow invalidates conservatism?

    Comment by A. W. | March 7, 2012 | Reply

    • Actually, I haven’t said anything about demagogues, nor is there anything in this post which addresses that topic–except forthe radio demagogues who don’t have “constituencies” which they represent or to which they are responsible. Nor did I say that “Joe Conservative” is evil, but simply unreflective and ungrateful.

      But I do think conservatism–at least in its post-World War II American form–is self-refuting. It leads people to think that government is bad and that “people like me” earned everything while those who need help are leeches. In point of fact, few if any of us could get through the day without the government help that liberals worked to secure. Joe’s behavior isn’t just “inconsistent,” but self-deceiving. It’s not like he could choose to be more consistent with his conservatism. He couldn’t get through the day without the liberalism he deplores. Conservatism in the modern American sense is self-refuting.

      Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | March 7, 2012 | Reply

  2. Alright, you’ve made your point that many conservatives are unaware of the good that liberals have done for society. Now, turn the tables and do it for Henry Liberal. (I’ll bet you won’t!)

    He’s part of a union that is helping to drive his company bankrupt as the economy takes a downturn. He and his union are unwilling to take a pay cut, and the union bosses continue to live fat, prosperous lives as union members lose their jobs. He’s part of a union that takes money from people who want to work in that career and use it for political purposes that he disagrees with. Henry believes in abortion on demand – never mind that around 40,000,000 humans have died in this country because of it, a large percent of them minorities. He never realizes that Social Security is his contribution to his father, after all his father never paid a fraction of the amount into the system that he’s received from it. Henry doesn’t realize that this Ponzi like scheme and government Medicaid and Medicare will bankrupt the country and leave him and his children with a dollar that’s worthless.

    Henry doesn’t realize that his federal aid for tuition has helped drive up college prices to where his children have to take out huge loans. Oh, and they can’t find jobs in their fields because increased liberal regulation and taxes of more and more parts of the economy have left companies unwilling to hire.

    I could continue. When will those on the left realize that they have pushed the good that they have done to the point that it is harm? Unions were necessary, consumer protection was and is necessary, but where do we stop? Unions have gone too far. The EPA has gone too far. You can’t regulate everything into utopia. You are bankrupting us and we are now stealing our children and grandchildren’s future!! $15,000,000,000,000 we owe, and I haven’t heard a liberal politician or pundit such as yourself say anything about how we can repay it or keep it from growing. Theft.

    Very few conservatives that I know and listen to want to do away with government. We do believe (and there’s plenty of evidence for it) that in general the private sector (not crony capitalism) will do a better, more efficient job than government.

    We want to keep it from eating our liberties and from consuming the economy. We want to keep it in its proper place. Liberalism in the modern American sense will bankrupt us all.

    Comment by Stephen Pegler | July 4, 2012 | Reply

    • See, I think your facts are wrong. Henry’s union, along with all others, agreed to cuts during the recession; it was management that refused to cut even their bonuses. For instance, in 2008, when the car companies needed a bailout through bad management, the United Auto Workers agreed to deep cuts. When the UAW asked what sacrifices management would make, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who was negotiating the bailout, walked out of the room and the talks fell through until Obama was inaugurated. What the unions refused to do was give up their right to collective bargaining.

      A Ponzi scheme is a fraud with a profit motive. Social Security is an intergenerational covenant in which profit is not a motive. And the reason it has financial difficulties is that the Social Security tax is collected only on the first $150,000 of income. Every dollar earned after that is FICA free. Raise the cap and Social Security is solvent for some time. Remove it altogether and it is solvent in perpetuity. As for the conservative claim that SS adds to the deficit and national debt, this is completely false. Because SS is collected separately through FICA payroll taxes, it is not part of the general budget.

      As for that national debt and deficit, it was not caused by unions or liberal social programs. In 2000, we had projected surpluses and were on track to have the debt paid off by 2014. Liberal Bill Clinton’s 2nd term delivered 4 balanced budgets in a row and 3 consecutive surpluses. Then came W’s huge tax cuts; then he passed the senior drug benefit to Medicare (in itself a good thing) with no mechanism for controlling costs built in; 2 unfunded wars (with more rounds of tax cuts). W tripled the deficit in 8 years. Then came the recession which added its own hit to the deficit (because fewer jobs means fewer collected taxes). The way out begins with ending the wars and getting rid of the Bush tax cuts–not making teachers, cops, firefighters, and social workers keep paying for tax giveaways for the superwealthy.

      Liberalism built the middle class. Conservativism gave us this economic mess.

      Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | July 4, 2012 | Reply

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