Compassionate Conservatism by Marvin Olasky

compassion my assCompassionate Conservatism: what it is, What it does, and How it can Transform America  (2000) by The Free Press (I just hate the way they co-opt words and twist the meanings using free like it is not propaganda.)

This “book” (in the most expansive sense vs. lies, propaganda) with a foreword by Governor George W. Bush [so that pretty much gives you a clue about what I think of the content; note this was pre-debacle presidency]

There is a list of others Olasky wrote or co-wrote so if you want to read some propaganda, just check the titles at the end of this post. And I say propaganda having read CC which is full of religious babble:

p.101 [discussed the abhorrent aberration of Social Darwinism, embraced by government officials who complained that “idleness” and “other forms of vicious indulgence” are “frequently, if not universally, hereditary in character. . . .Vigorous efforts must be instituted to break the line of pauper descent.” He goes on to say that the biblical base opposed Social Darwinism. [things change I think].

Buffalo minister S. Humphreys Gurteen founded the Buffalo Charity Organization Society as a positive alternative to both liberalism and Social Darwinism. He insisted that even people with bad heredity and a bad background could change, because God made all ‘with capability of manliness and self-respect and holy ambition.’ Gurteen did not attempt to sort those who came to his homeless shelter into ‘worthy” or “unworthy.’ Instead, he set up a woodpile and asked able-bodied applicants for aid to take a ‘work test.’ He gave transients willing to chop wood two meals and a night’s lodging. (Married male residents received food plus pay that could go for rent or clothing; women were asked to sew in a nearby workroom.) The work test showed whether a person, regardless of heredity or background, was willing to expend some effort. If so, Gurteen’s volunteers worked hard to help the person find steady employment. [This seems to me to be sort of like compassionate conservatism view point, and does not account for people who are really unable to work for various reasons, partially because there are no living wage paying jobs to be had or social support for children such as free child care. They want us to have babies so much, let them share the financial burden!]

Gurteen, criticized by those who thought true charity should be unconditional, responded with biblical references: ‘Is it not in the sweat of his brow that man is to eat his bread? Is not the Commandment, Six days shalt thou labor?  [good bye weekends] And does not the apostle lay it down as law, that if any will not work, neither shall he eat?’ Gurteen then asked hard questions [just like so many Republicans and Evangelicals]: Is it charity toward our neighbor to give on the strength of every well-thumbed letter or doleful tale, when by so doing we are only rendering easier the downward path of a fellow creature? Is it obeying the apostolic injunction to do good and sin not when by our indiscriminate alms-giving we are destroying the will to labor?” [my emphasis]

p. 102 continues talking about welfare reform in 1996 where not only liberals disagreed, but conservatives were divided too: “The community renewal proposal of compassionate conservatives did not pass because, to latter-day Social Darwinists [likely the same evangelicals that reject Evolution], it seemed like throwing more money down what they saw as a rat hole.”

Once again, compassionate conservatism proved not to be an easy sell. The Democratic party has regarded the poor as a captive constituency, and the Republican party has often acquiesced in that notion. Neither has had the political necessity to think creatively about exercising effective compassion rather than merely pushing for or fighting against income redistribution.” [I guess this means we must all chop wood or sew to deserve a minimal amount of support from the government.]

The bible thumpers don’t seem to grasp the inherent problem of God making you suffer, to have “everything against you”  but “if she comes through, it’s the work of God displayed in her life” you really can’t have it both ways. Praying to be thankful the tornado didn’t kill you, but meanwhile hundreds other died. Guess they were not god-fearing enough.

He goes on to tell of a newly reorganized homeless shelter: “once again offering challenge, not coddling.”

Oh the humanity!

The book ends with a bit of praise for Martin Luther and John Calvin. He claims Luther “criticized nonessential alms giving and emphasized the need for individuals and families to care for one another , with the church as backup..” [no footnote] “John Calvin [yes the one who burned people alive at the stake with green wood so their torment would last longer, such as an early medical man who discovered circulation of blood therefore heretical] in Geneva, Switzerland, taught from Genesis that poverty is not natural or desirable: Men were created to employ themselves in some work, and not to lie down in inactivity and idleness.” [Gotta fact check that one, pretty sure no jobs were in the Garden of Eden.] Reformation leaders did not believe it was compassionate to maintain people in poverty. [true that] Rather than thinking that poverty somehow led people toward virtue, they concluded the opposite. Calvin wrote that ‘when men are pressed by famine, they would sooner sell their lives a hundred times that they may save themselves from hunger, no matter what the price.’ [Not really clear what this point is and no footnote. Maybe Calvin is suggesting prostitution? Slavery? Indentured servitude?]

He goes on to say that “These leaders of the 1500s taught that the encouragement of businesses was a compassionate act and that all lawful vocations [tough luck prostitutes]…were good.” [So that’s why our politicians are so compassionate to corporations and not people!]

Other books he authored or co-authored: On American History: Fighting for Liberty and Virtue, 1995; The American Leadership Tradition, 1999

On Journalism: Prodigal Press, 1988; Central Ideas in the Development of American Journalism, 1991 [ironically followed by] Telling the Truth, 1995

On Poverty-fighting: Freedom, Justice , and Hope, 1988; The Tragedy of American Compassion, 1992 [I’m guessing the answer isn’t the LACK of compassion]: Loving Your Neighbor, 1995 [unfortunately funny title]; Renewing American Compassion, 1996 [pretty sure this is about workfare]

On Abortion: The Press and Abortion, 1988 [guessing liberal media bias]: More Than Kindness, 1990 [pretty sure not kindness towards raped women who become pregnant]; Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, 1992 [actually I read this one and it was so full of false statements, misinterpretations, and irrationality it nearly made me cry]

On Philanthropy and Public Relations: Corporate Public Relations, 1987 [how to cover up your misdeed or spin them for beginners]; Patterns of Corporate Philanthropy, 1987 [how about a living wage?]; Philanthropically Correct, 1993 [guessing that means he doesn’t like charitable giving to go to liberals]

On Religion and Worldviews: Turning Point, 1987 [have to date check, maybe that was when the Moral Majority developed?]; Whirled View, 1997 [pretty sure that means liberals point of view is all wrong and conservatives being God-fearing and all, have the right [pun] worldview.]

Leave a Reply