‘Self-reliance’ Is A GOP Lie

One of the shibboleths tossed about by some Republicans is that we need to get back to self-reliance. You take care of yourself and your family and I’ll take care of myself and mine.

That would be back to the 1800s. If the farmer failed to plant enough, his family starved. The railroad baron kept making money.

The 99 percent had to take care of themselves because there was no alternative. Mass communication didn’t exist. Today, the afflicted might text message: “Meet tonight at 8 at the banker’s house and bring your torch and pitchfork.”

Some of today’s money blandishments — unemployment compensation, food stamps, general welfare vouchers — are not just about compassion. They also are about keeping the 99 percent from confronting the 1 percent. We’re buying off people who might otherwise get very unruly. Coxey’s huge army of the unemployed marched on D.C. in 1894 and almost brought down the government. The Bonus Army march of veterans in 1932 required troops to put it down.

So saying everyone takes care of himself doesn’t make political sense — in addition to not making compassionate sense. And claiming that self-reliance is a grand American tradition flies in the face of 21st century common sense. It’s a very silly proposal tossed out to a red-meat crowd.