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Viewpoint

Which party is for self-reliance?

Would you vote for a political party that promised and planned for providing workers with “spare time and recreation,” “new dwellings,” “beautiful cities and villages,” “just wages,” a “health care program” “social security for the aged and incapacitated,” infrastructure for “roads and ports,” “vocational training.” And an educational system where, regardless of family income, the brightest students would have equal opportunity?

If you thought yes, then your vote would be a mistake. The political party was the Nazi party, which goes to show that you have to consider more than election promises. The source for my quotes is a letter written by Dr. Robert Ley, former Nazi Minister for Labor and Housing, on August 14, 1945.

Many of the political, social, and economic beliefs that have sustained me for a lifetime are changing now. I do not think I was wrong in the past, but they are not useful for the present and would be dangerous and unproductive for the future.

My views were based upon the Progressive party convention of August 1912, which nominated Theodore Roosevelt. That convention, the first where women attended in large numbers, believed in electoral reforms: presidential primaries, direct election of senators, initiatives, referendums and recalls, women’s suffrage, limitations on campaign contributions, a national health service, social security, regulation of corporations and an income tax. These ideas were right for that time.

FDR’s New Deal of the 1930s was based upon the Progressive ideas of the man he most admired, his cousin Theodore. New Deal programs reflected the ideas of the Progressive movement and democratic socialism, which held that governmental intervention is necessary to solve society’s problems. That idea was relevant for the 1930s.

President Johnson’s 1960s War on Poverty was based upon the ideas of the man he most admired, FDR. That program had relevance for the 1960s. Obama Care today is based on the intellectual heritage of the Progressive movement, which goes back to even earlier 19th-century democratic socialist thinking. In a sense we are all either Progressives or anti-Progressives.

I believe now the belief that government is the solution to social and economic problems is erroneous and will lead to increased human suffering. Policies and programs that are counterproductive, increase moral hazards, diminish freedoms, enable people to avoid self-responsibility, and are based on false premises of causation are harmful to America.

No reasonable person would deny help to those who, for circumstances beyond their control, require acts of kindness and governmental intervention for life’s basic necessities. The strongest person can be struck down by illness.

The Democratic Party is not alone in supporting policies that have the opposite effect of their good-natured intentions. Changing societal mores also have played a role. This is based on the idea of moral hazard — the belief that if you do something fool hardy the government will take care of you. Government will alleviate your irresponsibility.

Whenever I see examples of homes destroyed by mudslides, forest fires, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes, I wonder, “Why did people build in those areas?” Victims cry, “I have lost everything,” but how could that happen unless you did not have flood and home insurance to replace losses?

An example of encouraging moral hazard is two mailings received from our Democratic senator boasting of her efforts to keep food insurance cheap. Why should millionaires with luxury homes on the ocean be subsidized?

Much has been written about Obama Care and people can use statistics to argue every way from Sunday, but prior to the Affordable Health Care Act, I never heard from or read about medical professionals complaining about their work. I never heard of people losing their physicians or of a child of two working parents being denied insurance coverage for doctor-recommended surgery.

Obama Care is dreadful for America because it guarantees profits for insurance companies and their executives making hundreds of thousands of dollars per year, it protects profits of pharmaceutical companies by forbidding wholesale drug purchases by Medicare, it has an artificial definition of a dependent children being up to age 26, allowing wealthy upper middle class young adults to roam the earth for their gap years while parentless poor people have to clean feces off nursing home walls or join the military to get health care, there has been no discernible decrease in number of uninsured, it is leading to more inequalities in health care, e.g, development of concierge medicine, and it has led to a loss of freedom by, for the first time in our history, requiring people to purchase products from specific companies.

The Democrats are not responsible for the widespread acceptance of unwed pregnancies, but their policies encourage, support, and enable it. Children raised by poor, single, unwed mothers lead indices for social pathologies.

Justifying poor school performance and behavior by alleged psychological problems is not caused by either political party, but children must be encouraged to overcome their problems. I actually think that no person has ever existed who did not have a psychological problem at some point in his or her life. We should ask which political party would encourage self-reliance?

Only one person lost his job due to 9/11, only one person has gone to jail for the housing and banking causes of the Great Recession, and no one has gone to jail for failures of the “No Child Left Behind law.” Which party encourages responsibility?

Rick Sirvint lives in Rindge.

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