A Republican congressman tweeted this:
Snark aside (though his idiocy deserves nothing more), it just goes to show that, for movement conservatism, as it exists, cruelty is an ideology:
…consider, instead, healthcare. A fair number of conservatives don’t have a problem with our current system. Why? Because they believe those who have problems paying for it likely deserve it. If they worked hard, saved more responsibly, were better liked by their neighbors, and had a church that would help them, then healthcare wouldn’t be a problem. If they were good people–and good people, oddly enough, seem to be disproportionately white evangelical Christians–then they would not be receiving this misfortune (or, at least, would have the previously mention support systems). Besides, we know how those people are. This is an abhorrent melange of Ayn Randian libertarianism, Prosperity Gospel, and racism.
Put another way, what many people see as cruelty, they see as a just order. Like racism (and in part, derived from it), the cruelty provides a powerful organizing principle for understanding the world around them. Someone can’t afford healthcare? It’s their fault….
We shouldn’t underestimate psychological dysfunction or the need to create ‘others’ for group identity, but the ideology of cruelty is a force that gives too many people meaning.
And this long predates Trump.