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The Senate Goes Wobbly A Question of Belief

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The War over Medicare Drugs

by Christopher Chantrill
November 17, 2005 at 11:17 am

IN CASE YOU hadn’t noticed, November 15 marked the start of enrollment for the new Medicare drug plan. Naturally liberals and their willing accomplices in the media are pushing the idea that seniors are all confused about it and that the whole plan is a disaster.

Not so fast, writes Gary J. Andres. It’s true that the plan offers seniors choices. But choice is a conservative principle that is worth defending.

Market-oriented health care reform proponents have a huge stake in the successful rollout of this new program. If it thrives, the innovative changes provide new momentum for market-oriented,consumer-driven policies. If it fails, we move backward, to a government-run, one-size-fits-all program. We now stand at a fork in the road in American health care. Liberals understand that, but do conservatives?

Having choice in health care means, of course, that if you want to maximize your benefits under the new law you have to do a little work, and it’s true that older people are not as good at analysis as they might have been in their youth. But conservatives had better make sure that liberals do not get to define reality on the Medicare reforms. There’s a lot riding on the success of these reforms.

Maybe conservatives should take a little time out over the holiday season and have a talk with a senior. Let us all make sure that our elderly parents understand their options and choices under the new Medicare plan. A simple precaution like that could go a long way to cutting the liberals off at the pass.

Aside from the practical political aspect of this there is the bigger question. If Americans got to choose their health care arrangements, what would they choose? Liberals might be surprised. Conservatives might be surprised. We might all be surprised.


Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.  His Road to the Middle Class is forthcoming.



“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison

Civil Society

“Civil Society”—a complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churches—builds, in turn, on the family, the primary instrument by which people are socialized into their culture and given the skills that allow them to live in broader society and through which the values and knowledge of that society are transmitted across the generations.
Francis Fukuyama, Trust

Hugo on Genius

“Tear down theory, poetic systems... No more rules, no more models... Genius conjures up rather than learns... ” —Victor Hugo
César Graña, Bohemian versus Bourgeois


“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State

Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


A writer who says that there are no truths, or that all truth is ’merely relative’, is asking you not to believe him. So don’t.
Roger Scruton, Modern Philosophy

Faith and Politics

As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, the principal focus of her interventions in the public arena is the protection and promotion of the dignity of the person, and she is thereby consciously drawing particular attention to principles which are not negotiable... [1.] protection of life in all its stages, from the first moment of conception until natural death; [2.] recognition and promotion of the natural structure of the family... [3.] the protection of the right of parents to educate their children.
Pope Benedict XVI, Speech to European Peoples Party, 2006

China and Christianity

At first, we thought [the power of the West] was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years, we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity.
David Aikman, Jesus in Beijing

Religion, Property, and Family

But the only religions that have survived are those which support property and the family. Thus the outlook for communism, which is both anti-property and anti-family, (and also anti-religion), is not promising.
F.A. Hayek, The Fatal Conceit


Conservatism is the philosophy of society. Its ethic is fraternity and its characteristic is authority — the non-coercive social persuasion which operates in a family or a community. It says ‘we should...’.
Danny Kruger, On Fraternity

US Life in 1842

Families helped each other putting up homes and barns. Together, they built churches, schools, and common civic buildings. They collaborated to build roads and bridges. They took pride in being free persons, independent, and self-reliant; but the texture of their lives was cooperative and fraternal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism

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©2007 Christopher Chantrill