Compassionate Conservatism: Of Course.

American conservatism is by nature more compassionate than it’s political counterpart, despite propaganda to the contrary.  Businesses, big and small, and neighbors of every community can better identify the needs of those around them and match them up with private resources to apply relief, with great satisfaction, with snowball effect, and without the aid of the government monstrosity.

In this current age of American politics,” social justice” is high on the priority list of our national government.  Many of those

currently in the highest positions of power believe that government should be used to provide to the less affluent or less fortunate as a way to “level the playing field” or, to right perceived wrongs that lead to the existence of the less fortunate in the first place.  It is “justice” they want.

As a conservative American, I reject this thinking.  But one doesn’t have to be a conservative to know that a government as vast as ours is wrought with bureaucracy, inefficiency, waste, and at least the possibility of corruption.  It’s also easy to note a government’s lack of a truly human quality.

I am a small business owner who cares deeply for his employees and many of the customers I’ve gotten to know over the years.  These relationships have become personal, and not business, in nature.  So that being said, is it not possible that businesses, big and small, and surrounding neighbors, can identify the needs of those around them and match them up with unused or inexpensive resources to apply the relief that the government monstrosity is attempting to do, only cheaper and with more sincerity, and less political agenda?  I believe the answer is an emphatic yes, and that we can call this thinking compassionate conservatism.

Examples of this happening are endless.  But three come to mind.  One employee of ours, who was on the schedule to close the bar four nights a week, had no transportation of her own.  Buses are next to impossible to find at 3am and cab fare is a good way to blow a significant chunk of a day’s pay.  Safety concerns, and Oregon weather, made walking home a bad idea.  However, by simple discussion of the matter, we as her employer found someone who had an old Honda scooter just sitting in their garage, taking up space.  Hadn’t been used in years.  With a little simple negotiation and an advance of her pay to cover a tune up, this valued employee became mobile and free from the quagmire of paying $30 in cab fare on a night she made maybe $90 in tips.  Problem solved.

Yet another employee got married and was going to have a baby.  (It should be noted that this traditional route to parenthood is indeed a rarity in this particular universe.  Therefore, positive reinforcement was certainly on our minds.)  As the baby’s due date approached, it became known that since neither half of this young couple had any family on the west coast, hand-me-down baby clothes were not an option.  Disposable income, especially in the hospitality industry circa 2008, to spend on such things was hard to come by.  Again, by talking and learning it wasn’t long before we found another young couple who had recently had a baby girl of their own, and they had too much family in the area.  No one else was waiting for their child’s hand-me-downs.  An introduction was made, a soon to be new born got a wardrobe, and the problem was solved.

Ours is a highly residential, urban area.  One of our regulars, whom all the staff loved despite his ornery nature, was an old man of 80 something who was rapidly losing his mobility, and as a result his entire social regiment.  He needed an electric wheelchair and had been waiting for one from the government agency he applied to forever.  Waiting was something he couldn’t really do.  Being that he lived solely on Social Security, a lump sum expenditure to buy it himself wasn’t an option, either.  However, should he find a used chair at a decent price, he could make payments each month.  He just needed someone to front him a few hundred dollars.  This is an amount that our establishment could afford to loan to a long time patron who would be missed if he weren’t around.  So it came to be.  A chair was found, and on the 5th of every month I could expect Dean to hand me his $30 payment, sitting in his chair.

In each of these instances, there was no government involvement.  The public’s money wasn’t spent.  There were no inflated prices due to endless middlemen.  We needed no authorizations.  There was no waiting list.  No applications.  Rather, there was only friendship, recognition, a little effort, and significantly less money, all of which was paid back to it’s originator.  There was also a lot of humanity.

There are many businesses doing many things in this country.  There are many neighbors who see many things in this country.  There are lots of things in many garages.  When pooled together and not stolen by tax obligation, there can me significant money in this country.  Imagine if this kind of thinking were applied to more social ills, all over.  Hmmmm.


About Carl Incognito

Conservatives in liberal places are often in the shadows. Conservatives seeking jobs in liberal places depend on them.

Posted on August 2, 2011, in employer responsibilities, politics, portland, small business, social responsibilities and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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