Here is a portion of the transcript from the June 13, 2011, Republican presidential primary debate where Romney is asked about transferring disaster relief to the states – a conservative, anti-federal government idea.
KING: What else, Governor Romney? You’ve been a chief executive of a state. I was just in Joplin, Missouri. I’ve been in Mississippi and Louisiana and Tennessee and other communities dealing with whether it’s the tornadoes, the flooding, and worse. FEMA is about to run out of money, and there are some people who say do it on a case-by-case basis and some people who say, you know, maybe we’re learning a lesson here that the states should take on more of this role. How do you deal with something like that?
ROMNEY: Absolutely. Every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that’s the right direction. And if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that’s even better.
Instead of thinking in the federal budget, what we should cut—we should ask ourselves the opposite question. What should we keep? We should take all of what we’re doing at the federal level and say, what are the things we’re doing that we don’t have to do? And those things we’ve got to stop doing, because we’re borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we’re taking in. We cannot…
KING: Including disaster relief, though?
ROMNEY: We cannot — we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for our kids. It is simply immoral, in my view, for us to continue to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them on to our kids, knowing full well that we’ll all be dead and gone before it’s paid off. It makes no sense at all. [emphasis added]
What is it about authoritarian conservatives without conscience (CWC), like Romney and Ryan, that lead them to make statements like the ones above, and others?
These statements do make sense to those whose moral values result in the following conservative principles:
- Direct causation – each reaction is the result of only direct action,
- Rugged individualism – believing that self-discipline and moral correctness leads to individual success, and
- Privatization – a self-correcting tool for problem solving that also replaces representative governance with corporate governance.
The strict father, authoritarian, family model teaches direct causation starting from a very early age. The strict father dictates what is morally correct and reinforces that correctness with direct and strong physical punishment. What is right is a direct result of what the strict father mandates. Indirect influences are, by definition, irrelevant. With a brain programmed for direct causation, some beliefs come down to ‘gut feel’ or ‘common sense.’ Critical thinking about causation not required and never taught.
Direct causation provides the foundation for the principle of rugged individualism. The authoritarian strict father defines reality which includes being responsible only for oneself. Others are responsible for themselves in a direct causation world. Rugged individuals are also taught both moral correctness and self-discipline and that the lack of self-discipline is immoral. Effective self-discipline produces a rugged and moral individual who is the master of his own fate. Such individuals can handle any situation or national disaster. If they aren’t prepared, then they have no one to blame, or to count on for help, but themselves – “you’re on your own” and “you deserve what you get.” If they lack moral correctness and self-discipline, they especially don’t deserve help when the federal government ‘steals’ from truly rugged individuals, like ‘small business job creators,’ to ‘give’ the help to the undisciplined and immoral. Such large-scale federal help, like disaster relief or saving the auto industry, is immoral for the CWC.
In the worldview of the authoritarian CWC, their cherished moral value of self-discipline is key to their love of free enterprise – the free market will take care of itself and self-correct. CWC’s believe self-discipline is an innate part of capitalism. This is why they believe privatization is necessary for all government functions, except national defense, which provides a powerful punishment tool they need for bringing the world under their control. Thus, privatizing FEMA is morally the right thing to do. If it’s privatized you can buy the services you need to survive – if you can afford it.