Chuck Bino: Socially liberal … fiscally conservative
One of my local grandsons visits at our home randomly enough that he might catch us enjoying a broadcast of O’Reilly’s Factor on Fox. He’s even seen me speak to the TV when some commentator rubs me either the right or wrong way. I’ve written earlier about his strong objections to NSA intrusions on phone and internet privacy, which he shares with his peers at school. Once in a while, he’ll exclaim something that shows a touch of wisdom, which can be uncommon for a 20-year-old.
As he knows of my conservative leanings, and he sees the liberal perspective from (one of) his parents, it wasn’t surprising to hear him say “Pop-Pop, you can consider me socially progressive, but fiscally conservative.” It suggested to me that he might have a future place in politics. Is his stance even feasible in practice? I was at a loss to respond. After he left, some thoughts came back from a short letter I wrote here in September 2012 headlined “To be, or not to be … Liberal, Conservative, Independent.”
As a young man I understood that liberalism was a ”mantra of the laborer and his unions. Isn’t it the idea that we’re all in this together, have to help those in need, can try untested ideas in that regard, and are the more compassionate types? Surely, it’s what Scripture and the Golden Rule require. Anyone who disagrees is certainly inhuman and a cad, only in it for their own benefit. A question for liberals/progressives: How can you continue to do everything you wish without going broke?”
Since writing that, I would add that progressives expect a growing government or collective to do all those “good” deeds from cradle to grave. My grandson describes that as the extreme progressive end of the political spectrum.
The 2012 letter continued: “As I matured, the idea to take care of myself and family drove my future course and ambitions. I became more conservative, studied for and found a good job, moving away when called for. Nobody told me what I could eat, drink, smoke or personally enjoy … until now. Social Security was decades removed from my needs … until now. Question for the conservative: How can you care about and support only your immediate selves?”
Since that writing, I would add that my self-reliance then was an encouragement, that if given the opportunities I had, anybody else could likely have done the same. If the conservative other end of the spectrum is to function in a capitalist society and do well without government help and control which that implies, we are missing one basic ingredient I had 50 years ago … a viable industrial economy and a promising place to work. My grandson believes that the U.S. can’t go back to the economic leadership and inspiration to the world which it once was in the last century. Under our current unfunded mandates, high taxes, and reduced liberties I would tend to agree.
So, I address my grandson today as I did the moderates and Libertarians in that letter, “we are about to ‘suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.’ Your question, “How do you reconcile these two divergent ideologies without taking virtual ‘arms against a sea of trouble, and by opposing end them’?” (Shakespeare, Hamlet Act iii, scene i)
Finally, we are absent of integrity in our national leadership and a willingness by our government to hold its employees and itself accountable, to operate within its means, and to uphold its Constitution. Try to have a Happy New Year, everyone!
Chuck Bino lives in High Point with his wife, Sue, after technical and management careers in manufacturing and retail. Representations of fact and opinions are solely those of the author.