Despicable People

Leslie Loftis
2 min readJan 27, 2016

“What’s a bastard?” my nine year old son asked as he got off the bus. Whether because I had just finished my first article on heartless conservatives for a new webmag that morning and had the subject on the brain or because I know my son, I asked, “Were you talking politics on the bus?”

He was. He got into a ‘I’m a conservative’/’I’m a liberal’…banter with a couple of 5th graders. They told him that if he was conservative that made him a bastard.

I explained the historical meaning of the term to him first. That he hardly got that at all. What did it matter if your parents were married? Your father is your father, he told me. But he got the second and intended meaning, despicable person.

We had a long discussion about mistaking preferred methods with seeking different results. That since conservatives did not advocate for lots of government control, that many people assumed that we prefer to leave the unfortunate to their lot, as if government intervention was the only or even most effective defense to hardship. As luck would have it, that is what I had just written up:

Government ineptitude is nothing new. Running though my head today is the opening of the musical 1776. Many of the lines and lyrics were taken from contemporaneous writings of the Founders. At the start, John Adams storms into the Continental Congress chamber, railing, “I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is called a disgrace, that two are called a law firm, and three or more become a congress!” Instead of even entertaining debate on the issue of independence, the Continental Congress was tackling the weighty question of whether or not the militia should wear matching uniforms.

Details change. The nature of committees does not.

The majority of the country doesn’t oppose Obamacare because we want to see people die or be in pain. It’s silly to even think such a thing. We all seek solutions that actually work. The right is just wary of the “three or more useless men” problem. Government solutions are usually cruel, open to corruption, inefficient, and costly.

If we want truly to help the poor, the sick and the needy, we must understand that massive increases in the government bureaucracy aren’t the preferred solution. They aren’t a solution at all, in fact.

I used the ‘teach a man to fish’ story too. That worked best for him. A less complicated story than the rationale underlying Obamacare.



Leslie Loftis

Teacher of life admin and curator of commentary. Occasional writer.