I know some very nice Republicans.

I mean, they're nice. Being nice is important to them. They're polite. They view this as a personal issue of distinction which is, I think, generally speaking, what the problem is.

The same tends to be true of self-styled libertarians.

Now, this writing is devoted to shitting on them. In fact, I strongly disagree with them in some very fundamental ways to such a degree that I don't interact very much with people that skew much further to the right than people who understand themselves as being liberal-to-moderate. But I will generally acknowledge that, on a personal level, these people can be very... nice.

But I don't trust them very much, and I'm usually glad when they don't have the ability to make very many important decisions that impact others.

The reason why is that no matter how nice the individual is, the right-wing tends to skew ideologically towards the belief of the individual as the arbiter of their own moral authority in isolation, where the state has no call to, as they say, legislate morality. You'll often hear that in absolute terms - one can't legislate morality. This is to say, a law will not alter an internal moral state but still, I think that you'll find that this canard mostly pops up when we hope to pass some kind of law that legislates a positive change that used to be considered the province exclusively of the generous institution or individual. That is, the (a?) church or else what we would call 'charity.'

How strange that we don't consider a moratorium against murder to be some kind of moral legislation in circumstances like this.

That's the mainstream case. Of course, we must be aware at least academically that tax dollars certainly go towards paying for prevention and punishment of murder and murderers. Not to mention incarceration, at the moment. How does this not touch on the legislation of morality? Although an opposition to abortion is not universal among people who skew right in the United States, it's still a flagship issue, and the very fundamental of the argument against it is, first, an appeal to the murder of a baby and, subordinate to that, the moral question.

And so on, and so on.

For someone focused on the individual's niceness or kindness - not the same thing, but related - is to focus on the individual's distinction from the common person who, presumably, is less nice or less kind. And so the question for the hyper individualist who is often politically right wing is how they are better as a person than someone who we would assume is less kind. This is also a question of dependence in interpersonal relationships - if you find an individual who is seemingly kind, you must remain with them because you would not be able to expect society to be as kind as this particular individual. If you are weak or without resources, you become this person's dependant. And thus, as the right wing patron would explain to you, you remain dependant on their will until you are - ahem - "strong" enough to make it on your own. Thus, they set the rules.

But they're nice, you think, and they wouldn't abuse that. Except, in truth, the individual who is nice under this construction also reserves, at any point, to rescind this kindness. Kindness is not a universal state, it is a power action - a political action - and if they dislike you or otherwise feel like it, they can withdraw their niceness, because it is contingent on how they feel about you. This is the very nature of individualized charity - it is inherently based on an unequal power dynamic. It is intentionally undependable.

A guarantee of safety and well-being based on your community's guidelines is often opposed because it "forces" people to be kind - hence the resolution that one cannot legislate true morality. What's strange is that society might operate better by the numbers if it were and people who are supposedly kind and giving people already donate or provide certain kinds of charity - so why are they opposed? Isn't this simply a more efficient way of doing what they suppose ought to be done already? That they already very well may do? The concern we see raised here is the concern of freedom for others.

In this circumstance, we always see it phrased as a freedom from a domineering state that seeks to remove personal autonomy from good, law-abiding people who have the god-given right to be terrible, stingy, and not contribute to the larger society. I wonder about this from time to time - if we are good or kind, why are we more concerned about the right to be awful or horde when others go hungry than we are about the right to have a place to sleep and to have food? What about the freedom of the have-nots? Eh? What do kind right-wingers have invested in the right to a hording society? If they are truly nice - though now I recind the word "kind," than I would expect that the rationale is that it is important for them to actually commodify kindness as a type of social currency that they use to elevate themselves among the rest - but it is also political. It is a kindness that applies only when the recipient behaves in a certain way and belong to a certain tribe - it is a kindness that is designed to be rescinded and thus it implies the right to be cruel on demand.

You will understand this behavior when you see it, if you haven't already witnessed it yourself.

The right to be cruel is the right to exercise political will on others, and it exists systematically from maladjusted home life right up to the right to refuse admittance to the country for those fleeing violence and persecution outside our borders. It is not a kindness at all. Niceness is something of a sham - kindness exists from society to all peaceful people or it does not truly exist at all.


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