I’d like to share a political litmus test I’ve been thinking about. Try asking yourself or someone else the following question:
Do you think all people are capable of making their lives a little bit better tomorrow?
In my experiences, people on the Right tend to say yes, and people on the Left tend to say no. This could be why Conservatives and the like are supporters of liberty and freedom, while people on the Left favor enforced equality and government oversight of business. Conservatives promote personal responsibility, and tend to blame themselves when things aren’t going as well as they’d like. Liberals promote collectivism, and blame society for their problems.
An example of this would be GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson’s wish to cut or reduce welfare programs because he sees them as harmful to the potential of the individual. He believes that creating dependency is morally bankrupt. He would most likely agree that God helps those who help themselves.
On the Left, the Transgender acceptance movement illustrates their answer to my question. In the Transgendered community, it is considered offensive to ask which bathroom a Trans individual uses, and there is a push for Transgendered males to be allowed to use the women’s restroom and vice versa. Instead of taking responsibility for who they are by finding ways to solve this problem in a dignified manner, they point their fingers outwards and selfishly demand society to bend to meet their needs.
Some major facets of my evolution from Liberal to Libertarian involved discovering the beauty of the self and the fact that I am the only person in control of my life. Philosophies like Jim Rohn’s “the greatest gift you can give to somebody is your own personal development. I used to say, ‘If you will take care of me, I will take care of you.’ Now I say, ‘I will take care of me for you if you will take care of you for me'” completely changed my world view, and made me a lot happier and more successful.
When I ask this question, I sometimes preface it by saying there are a few exceptions to the rule such as people with serious illnesses or disabilities (I usually cite paraplegics specifically). However, I saw a paraplegic woman working at a market the other day, and although I’m sure she is not completely independent, she certainly wasn’t looking for handouts. She looked happy. Seeing her made me feel pretty bad about doubting people like her in my political litmus test.