There’s a myth that’s circulating in the Church. It is old yet ever-new. I’m sure you’ve heard it. It goes something like this:
“Conservatives and liberals in the Church need to respect each other, because they each get something right. Conservatives are more focused on abortion and protecting the sanctity of marriage and sexuality, which is good, but liberals are more focused on helping the poor and protecting the environment, which is also good. Everyone brings something to the table, and if they would just stop building walls and start building bridges, they could come together and recognize what the other side offers. That way they’ll help a lot more people.”
“Conservatives have a two-track mind. The only issues they ever talk about are abortion and gay marriage. They don’t care about starving children and the environment. How ironic that they claim to be pro-life! We’re the ones who really care about people (plus we get brownie points for being green).”
The very first thing that needs to be said here is that abortion should not even be considered an “issue.” Murder isn’t considered to be an “issue,” and abortion is nothing less than murder, so Christians have no right to treat it like some kind of separate, knotty debate that deserves its own little category. The world thinks it’s complex and controversial. It’s not. End of subject.
Add to that that the statement is just false. Conservatives don’t have a “two-track mind,” because there are lots of other human life issues we talk about, like euthanasia, assisted suicide, and embryonic stem cell research. So the “you’re so narrow” argument falls flat on its face to begin with.
Now, with all that out of the way, let’s talk about this “poverty and the environment” business. I want you, my fellow conservatives, to take all the leftist claptrap you’ve ever read on those issues… and promptly flush it down the nearest eco-friendly toilet. Which is really a normal toilet, the kind liberals don’t want you to use because it’s supposedly bad for the environment.
In order to have food, you need to grow it. And in order to grow it, you need land. Seems reasonable, right? Not if the liberals have their way. In South America, farmers are unable to clear away the jungle, because according to the environmentalists, trees are more important than humans. In Africa, wild animals roam around on land specially reserved for them, and humans are unable to move where the beasties are, because according to the animal rights activists, animals are more important than humans. In Indonesia, people are literally forbidden to defend themselves against predatory komodo dragons, because komodo dragons are more important than humans. And the outlawing of DDT has caused impoverished people around the world to die of malaria.
But, but… the greedy capitalists are stuffing themselves with fast food while little children are on the streets of Pakistan begging for bread! We waste enough food to feed the world!It’s true, we are the richest nation in the world. We also happen to be, BY FAR, the most generous. Do you have any idea just how much aid we have pumped into those starving third-world nations over the years? Hint: a lot. But has it made any observable difference? No. And I’ll tell you why. It’s very simple: government. Third-world countries suffer because they are ruled by despotic governments who keep everything for themselves. We send boat-loads of aid, and where does it go? Into the hands of the guys with the guns. Because they’re in charge. I’ll make a bet with you that the next ten activists you see rambling about the plight of the poor won’t even mention the enormous causal role of dictatorial, kleptocratic governments.
On the home front, the liberals’ idea of helping the poor is giving them welfare and making everything free (i.e., “free,” because nothing is truly free in this world). The damage these ideas have done cannot be over-emphasized. Welfare encourages people to remain in a state of poverty so they can receive free hand-outs. That does not show compassion for the poor. It hurts them, badly. It also discourages marriage because single mothers receive money for every child they have. One girl having multiple children out of wedlock was documented as saying, matter-of-factly, “My mom tells me I’m the breadwinner.” And making anything free means that you will run out of that thing, given enough time. It’s true for orange juice, it’s true for health care. And where will the poor be when that time comes?
Back to the environment, let’s think about a few leftist policies that are supposed to help in that area: Recycling? Well, what do you think all those trucks run on, Coca-Cola? Some liberals even admit that recycling is completely impractical as far as helping the environment is concerned, but it’s all about the psychological feeling of satisfaction it gives to people. It’s a sacrament. Low-flow toilets? Oh yes, did I mention that there are some third-world countries where the liberals won’t allow first-world sewage systems to be installed? Real hygienic and eco-friendly, that. Low-energy light bulbs? Perfect, now we can put mercury into the air. Oh, here’s a good one: We can’t drain the swamps (or, excuse me, wetlands), because it’ll destroy the mosquitoes’ habitat, and mosquitoes are more important than humans (of course). Isn’t that a stroke of genius? Let’s leave the wetlands so that the mosquitoes can breed and breed. If that doesn’t give us a healthy atmosphere, nothing will. And don’t even get me started on the global warming farce (which is just about the nicest word I can come up with to describe it).
Unfortunately, some conservatives still want to earn the approval of at least some people on the left. So they feel obligated to say that the left gets something right that the right doesn’t so that they can solemnly lecture both sides about how they need to shake hands and work together. That makes them feel balanced, wise and reasonable. The reality is much less balanced than they think.