If something bad happens to you it is because you did something to cause it to happen to you. People are not unemployed because there are no jobs. They are unemployed because they don't want to work. Blacks are not kept from getting jobs and held back from promotions. They don't want to work hard enough. Steve lists a number of other such statements from conservatives. This is not something that some crazy person says. It is a core part of both American conservative politics and Christian fundamentalist religion.
And if you cannot observe someone who caused the Earthquake - tsunami in Japan then it occurred because someone wanted it to. The need to personalize this malevolent intent is the source of the god symbol. That symbol represents the great "intender" who must exist when no single person can be blamed for their failings.
Very interestingly these individual guilty parties are always someone outside the conservative - fundamentalist tribal group. They can directly observe that those inside their personal tribal group did nothing to cause many of the bad things that happen to them.
Obviously, though, people who cause their own problems will not stop causing their own problems unless they are punished. God forbid that someone ("the government") should help them avoid the just punishment they are being given for their sins. Helping them will just encourage them.
It's a part of the pre-scientific mindset. Before Isaac Newton there were no recognized absolutely predictably impersonal forces. Everything happened because some person or god intended it to happen.
If you want to understand the conservative - fundamentalist mindset, read "Fundamentalism" by the Sociologist Steve Bruce (2000). That fact about there being no recognized impersonal forces prior to Newton is from Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow's great new book "The Grand Design." (2010) Warning - the latter is a superb layman's introduction to quantum theory. It's better than "A Brief History of Time."
Addendum 3:54 PM
Fred is a commenter on the above referenced Steve Benen post. His take on the problem Republicans have with the unemployed dove-tails with mine. Mine shows personal psychology and his shows the sociological workings.
It's not hostility to unemployment, it's hostility to modernity. I see this attitude in the rural area where I live. The best work is for the "haves", the make-do work is for the lower class whites, and the field work is for minorities. By trying to preserve their income level after a job loss, the recently-unemployed are interfering with the natural order, resisting the downward pressure on wages that the GOP's true base seeks. Also, too, the current system imports what should be our home-grown bonded servant class.If you want proof of Fred's assertion, look at the county-by-county Democrat/Republican breakdown after the 2000 election. The cities are the bastion of modernity, voting Democratic and the rural areas are Republican. This is especially true in the Old South states and Texas.
The tragedy is that the lower class whites here go all in for this, and wear their difficult lifestyles as a badge of honor in proof of their grit. To see the class system in operation, visit anywhere outside a major city in the Old South.
Posted by: Fred on May 1, 2011 at 1:14 PM