People get what they deserve in life (or do they)

Political philosophy can be measured on one scale I think.   On the one hand you have people who believe that most people get what they deserve in life.   If they want better they should try harder or be more responsible.   Politics is about blaming the people trying to get out of the the misery they brought upon themselves and trying to help those who are trying to help themselves.   It is about rewarding responsibility and punishing irresponsibility.

In many versions of this position irresponsibility is assume to be a characteristic of the social group   the ethnic background,  the religious faith,  your financial status,  your sex,  or gender orientation.   People are ascribed “spoiled identities” based on social  group membership.   Some people are seen as terminally irresponsible.   They are who they are and you just can’t expect much more of them.   People defend themselves from charges of racism or prejudice by pointing out examples of people who made it (“If they made it anyone who really wants to bad enough and works for it can make it. “) and you have what functions almost as a” poor people’s porn”.

The other end of the spectrum says life often has nothing to do with “what you deserve”  or “getting what you earned.”   Bad stuff happens to good people.   It happens regularly and a lot.   Injustice is real.   The tendency of the system to discriminate and punish people for the circumstances of life creates the very misery that system says it is trying to eliminate.   People who say people who live in misery don’t try hard just haven’t known much misery.   The role of government in this position is to address the injustice that so many experience as a chronic  part of their life.

One side sees life as a contest between the responsible and the irresponsible.   The role of the government is to decrease the threat that the “lazy,  no good,  sit on their butt people”  pose to “regular people.”

What Donald Trump and company try to say to people who are dissatisfied with their life is you’re right.   “It is not your fault.   The ” lazy” people (read black,  brown,  Moslem,  poor or otherwise different) are making life worse for you and if you support me I will teach them a lesson they will never forget.   It is not the system but “those”  people we have allowed to manipulate the system.

What millions of other people are beginning to say is that is a bunch of crap.   We do not create better life for some by denying if to others.   Create justice.   There are no separate boats in these high waters and we will must take care of each other or we will all drown.

When I hear the phrase “Make America great again”  I always wonder who is to stand on top of who.   When I hear “make America good”  I  see us standing together.


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