Friday, December 14, 2012

The Politics of Selfishness

In another crass classic column in the Kennebec Journal by M.D. Harmon titled, “If more murder victims had guns, maybe they wouldn't be killed,” he engages in an outrageous blame the victim screed:

 “…if Kasandra Perkins had a gun, that is what could have helped her be alive today. But she was defenseless against an [sic] violent man's rage, and so she died.”

Pushing Harmon’s wild-west, everybody-packing, shoot-em-up, and dangerous gun fantasy aside for the time being, one must wonder what prompts such a blatant and boorish blame the victim stance. There is a straightforward unstated motivation - responsibility avoidance.

Stating that a woman victim died in a horrible murder because she did not have a gun, Harmon pushes the blame for what occurred onto the victim. He and therefore society is not responsible. Sound laws to reduce gun violence that society could enact are unnecessary because the victim had a less government intrusiveness recourse available and did not take personal responsibility for her own defense. ‘It was her problem, not mine’ is the implication.

The proceeding convoluted inane formula forms the core of much of the mindset currently expressed in the right wing’s “politics of selfishness.”
  • Individuals languish in poverty because they are completely responsible for their own position in life; governments bear no responsibility to provide any services.
  • Elderly individuals had a lifetime to save for retirement; Social Security and Medicare actually encourage an abdication of responsibility.
  • The responsibility for environment degradation lies with individual litterers and consumers not packagers and manufacturers.
  • Clean elections funding violates individual (i.e. corporate too) power regardless of any suggested common level playing field good.
  • The safety of food and medicine is best determined by individual consumers doing their own research not some regulator or government researcher.
  • Banking and finance practices are best left to wonders of the free market where individuals will win or lose according to their own wits.
  • The idea of a good well funded public education available for all should be replaced by individuals buying the educations they can afford.
On and on the “politics of selfishness” goes, destroying what we hold in common care and concern as society. The worshipers of the "politics of selfishness” are a large and wide alliance of so called “liberty” libertarian leaning Republicans, anti-any-tax tea partiers, corporate GOP profits before people operatives, and the audiences and purveyors of the talk radio and faux news entertainment industry. The “politics of selfishness” absolves its adherents of societal commitments made through just taxation, recognizing regulatory realities, and far more philosophically important - citizenship responsibility.

To paraphrase a worn out gun quote: ‘Taxes, protecting people, and shared responsibility doesn’t kill societies; the "politics of selfishness” does.’

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