26 January 2017

A response to my neighbor, Michael Cummins

Mr. Cummins:

Thank you for attempting to explain your political beliefs.  I am a liberal and a socialist, and also a baptized Christian.  I write in response to what I see as a lack of rigor in your political philosophy; I am furthermore opposed to the pessimism implied in your statement that "civility will surely deteriorate even further over the next four years."  The massive women's march in our city a few days ago, to take one example, was a triumph of civility and peaceful discourse.

I am a liberal because I prefer to see government help everyone who needs help, liberally.  Homeless and starving people should not have to prove their moral virtue before they get food or basic housing.  Charity is a Christian obligation, yes, but if you expect churches and mutual-aid associations to quickly replace Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, and unemployment insurance you are not thinking realistically.  (I am a socialist because I think the richest should pay a greater share of their income than the poorest towards maintaining this welfare state, and I do not particularly care how they feel about paying these taxes.  Jesus did not spend much time worrying about the tax burdens on rich Judeans, if the Gospels are any guide to his thoughts.)

I try to find the meaning behind your "conservatism" and all I can come up with is that you want to conserve a certain vision of constitutional federalism.  I hope it is not impolite to point out that this vision dates from a time when slavery was legal in half the nation, women could not vote, and there were no interstate highways to drive on; indeed, I would argue the strict "vertical separation of powers" had to be abandoned before we could even think about living in a city of over 200,000 people together, participating in a functional urban economy and surviving waterborne diseases.  (Are the Madison Water Utility and the Dane County Airport examples of "too much of a good thing"?)

Respectfully, therefore, I ask you to think about these things.

Skye Winspur
Fellow resident of the Madison isthmus

civility will surely deteriorate even further over the next four years. - See more at: http://isthmus.com/opinion/opinion/madison-conservative-tries-to-clear-up-some-misconceptions/#sthash.PCmMAI3C.dpuf"c
civility will surely deteriorate even further over the next four years. - See more at: http://isthmus.com/opinion/opinion/madison-conservative-tries-to-clear-up-some-misconceptions/#sthash.PCmMAI3C.dpuf

No comments: