You Can’t Be Socially Progressive And Economically Conservative

Because social progress requires investment. Period.

If you want to be socially progressive, you have to support initiatives that foster social progress, like education equality, women’s health resources, criminal justice reform, universal healthcare, workplace equality, and so on. These initiatives either cost taxpayer money, require governmentally enforced regulation, or both. If you believe in smaller government and want to pay less in taxes, how do you propose social progress be made? Because if there’s no social progress funding, there’s no social progress. Passive support is no support at all.

You can be socially conservative and fiscally conservative, but if you’re fiscally conservative, you can only be either socially conservative or a person who doesn’t give a shit. And not giving a shit is not progressive.

Granted, social conservatives seek to actively digress social progress while social progressives, as the label indicates, actively seek to further social progress. But if you’re not actively seeking either, again, you just don’t give a shit.

I don’t understand why people can’t just admit they don’t care. You can just say: “Well, however it works out for them, so be it. I’m staying out of it.” That’s what you’re already saying when you say, “I’m socially progressive and economically conservative.” Just own it.

Will you protest a Planned Parenthood building? No, but are you willing to have your tax money go toward paying for Planned Parenthood? No? So, you’re not progressive. You don’t have to be, but you also can’t truthfully, at any level, say that you are.

You don’t support something if you don’t care whether or not it happens.

You want less oversight, taxes, and regulations on businesses in the hopes that job growth will be stimulated? So you’re okay with no minimum wage, no workplace equality or fairness, no safety and health regulations, and no environmental footprint oversight as well. That goes beyond passive and dips into the digressive territory.

Stop telling people they’re living in a fairytale because they don’t have huge sums of money that afford luxuries no human being needs while others experience hardships no human being deserves."

In college, I was told that I’m economically progressive because I haven’t made any money, and I would bet that most economically progressive people have been told the same thing. But now I’m making a comfortable living, and my economically progressive views have evolved to become even more progressive. From reparations to universal basic income to free healthcare and education, the further I advance in my career, the more I want to see others afforded comparable opportunities.

Stop telling people they’re living in a fairytale because they don’t have huge sums of money that afford luxuries no human being needs while others experience hardships no human being deserves. Stop telling people they live in a bubble when their bubble includes all socioeconomic, racial, sexual, gender, and religious identities, while your bubble celebrates exclusivity. Those are not comparable bubbles.

(The two bubbles point was originally made in the Black Guy Who Tips podcast in response to the term “liberal bubble.” Check them out. They have fascinating insights.)

And to reference a second podcast, here’s a transcribed snippet from episode #922 of the Joe Rogan Experience, where he interviewed YouTube personality Philip DeFranco:

Philip DeFranco: Before I came to California, I was an ultra-liberal. I had the most liberal ideas of like, ‘Yeah, if I’m a doctor, and I’m making $3 million a year, I should give 70%.’ Like fucking crazy.

Joe Rogan: Yeah, you were thinking that because you weren’t a doctor and you weren’t making $3 million a year.

Philip DeFranco: Because I had no fucking money! Because I had no fucking money!

Joe Rogan: Poor people always think like that.

(I’m a fan of Joe Rogan’s, but fuck him for that one.)

Philip DeFranco: You want to slowly come to the center? Fucking start a business.

Joe Rogan: Yeah.

Yeah, no. You might have thought you were “ultra-liberal,” but what you’ve instead always been is kind of greedy. You wanted them to give you their money when you didn’t have any, and now you don’t want to give away any money now that you have it. And to make matters worse, in that one brief moment, you patronized the shit out of millions of people.

By the way, 70 percent tax on that high of an income ($3 million a year) is not a crazy thought if you know your tax money is going toward social progress initiatives if you really want to claim a socially progressive mindset. You’re still making $900,000 a year. Is that not enough money?

“I would make $3 million a year, but thanks to making society better for all, I’m scraping by on a mere $900,000 salary. I’m barely keeping my head above water.”

The average salary of a high school teacher is $47,720. You would have to work nearly 19 years tax-free to make as much as the hypothetical doctor made in a year taxed at 70 percent. The average high school teacher salary is still 4x the federal poverty line of $11,700 a year. It would take someone at the poverty line nearly 77 years to make $900,000 if they weren’t taxed at all. If you weren’t taxed either, it would take them over 256 years to make what you make in one year.

If you work full time at the federal minimum wage, you make $14,500 a year not including taxes. This hypothetical doctor makes over 200 times that before taxes. Not saying the job of most minimum wage workers is comparable in importance to a high-quality medical professional, but is it comparable in importance to a high-quality high school teacher? Not all doctors save lives, and not all teachers change lives for the better, but those who do are of comparable importance in my book, and I think it’s very debatable who has the tougher job.

Unfortunately for my point, a doctor paid well above the average doctor salary ($209,276) was the specific example. But when you look at the societal contribution and salary of a banker alongside the societal contribution and salary of, say, a social worker, the unjust disproportion becomes a lot more evident.

The point is, if you want to be socially progressive, you have to stop looking at what you’re giving up and instead look at what you have and others have when all is said and done. You’re still rich and living comfortably, society is better in facets that don’t directly affect you, and others are living more comfortably and have more opportunity. If that doesn’t sound rewarding to you, that’s fine, you’re just not socially progressive.

Or, you can just lie to yourself. You can always still call yourself socially progressive but economically conservative. And fortunately for you, your life won’t change, because it’s never your life that’s at stake.

To quote Gandhi: “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.”

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Check out my podcast Eat the Rich, give it a rating on iTunes if you dig it, and check out my cohost Renee Kuhl’s stuff on Medium.

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