Ref.: demeaning the poor
With age I have increasingly been convinced that conservative and some liberal's values of self-worth to be based on being better than others. A reader suggested earlier that liberals envied the rich. The opposite would be closer to the truth as I observe it. Liberals largely ignore the rich while it appears that many wealthy people anchor their whole being in how deserving they are compared to the poor or even middle class. Loose their job or their wealth and they are shattered whereas, we, and especially the poor, usually go on in similar circumstances enjoying life when we can.
This attitude of self-distinction has unfortunately deeper ramifications for society as most weath in a complex modern society is created by complex and interacting systems and very little by individual effort. We have seen that most recently in the stock and asset value collapse. All the most diligent efforts of individuals based on years of saving and prudent investment have gone up in smoke due to the efforts of a few, mostly wealthy individuals. Yet efforts to shore up the collective strength of social systems through prudent regulation better universal education and better health care, among other efforts are routinely undermined by the need of some to feel better than others. So the system creates large swaths of poverty to reinforce our sense of self-worth. This is another and not insignificant reason of why we go to war. I remember like it was yesterday when the Soviet Union imploded. Within days China which had been favorably viewed at the time as a "peaceful" nation which had never sought to expand beyond its borders, suddenly became an aspiring aggresor nation that had to be dealt with. We had the enemy that we needed, manufactured from whole cloth in no time at all.
Unfortunately try as we might liberals have never been able to find a cure for conservatives lack of self-esteem and love of lucre. Perhaps if we turned our attention to getting these children when they are young, sponsor obligatory programs that even the wealthiest children in private schools would have to attend that would teach them that money isn't everything and they don't have to feel bad about themselves if they see someone driving in the same fancy car.
Maybe than they would grow up to be good citizens at peace with themselves and the world?
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