|Roberts Hands a Poisoned Chalice to the President||The Folly of Obama's Politics|
by Christopher Chantrill
July 10, 2012 at 6:00 pm
DONT bet on ObamaCare, writes the excellent Jay Cost. Its not going to turn into a political winner like Social Security and Medicare.
Because Social Security and Medicare do not discriminate between citizens, there has yet been no political coalition powerful enough to alter them. Everybody expects to benefit from them, so it has been impossible to implement even common-sense reforms.
But ObamaCare is different.
Obamacare has no such insulation from reformers because it discriminates between classes of citizens. Indeed, Democrats played all kinds of favorites[.]
Some people do better from ObamaCare, and some do worse, writes Cost.
But the bigger problem is the middle class already has health insurance. Most people will do worse under ObamaCare.
Thats the trouble with universal government programs. You start out with a simple concept, like universal health insurance, and you end up screwing the majority to serve the favored few. Some people get a special deal because they are helpless victims, others because they are powerful special interests. Pretty soon everyone is gaming the system.
You end up with injustice. Its nobodys fault; not really.
Justice requires that equal people be treated the same and different people differently, yet no government bureaucracy has the bandwidth to cater to all the different needs. Fortunately ruling elites have developed a solution to this problem. They tell us rubes over and over that their simplification and centralization schemes are just wonderful, and that the problems could be solved if only the rich paid their fair share. But eventually people start wandering off and discovering nasty things under the rocks.
Lets look under a couple of rocks, just for practice. How are things with the young? The ruling class says that it does wonders for the young, protecting them with child labor laws, giving them free education, dosing them with subsidized student loans, forcing insurance companies to keep children on their parents health insurance until age 26. But then, the ruling class would say that, because it is seeing like a state.
We know better. We know that many children, especially the children of the poor, suffer because of child labor laws and compulsory education. If poor kids could legally quit school at 13 and start work, then maybe fewer would join the only other game in town: gangs. Then there are student loans. They have buried todays generation of students in an ocean of debt while colleges rack their fees into the stratosphere. And the young still cant get jobs.
What about the workers? The ruling class is immensely proud of all the social gains it has legislated for workers. Pensions, Medicare, unemployment, workmens comp, disability. Imagine what would happen if all that were taken away! But think of this. Why force young people to save for retirement? They should be saving for a down-payment on a starter home. Unemployment? How about moving back with Mom and Dad? Disability? Did you know that there are people holding pilots licenses that are also collecting SSDI? When you are seeing like a state, you end up crushing millions of different working people into identical worker bees, never mind what is best for each individual.
What about the poor? The ruling class has created a safety net for the poor, so now the poor get relief as of right rather than from the fickle charity of the rich. But the result is less a safety net than a spiders web that traps the poor in life-long dependency. In Charles Murrays underclass Fishtown the family has broken down: the women become single parents and the men drop out of the workforce. Where is the justice in that?
We are not talking about egregious injustice here, the kind demands immediate redress. We are just talking about a social and cultural dumbing down that grinds everyone into identical cogs to make things easy for the political bureaucratic machine. The state wants us--students, workers, and poor--to just follow orders and mold ourselves into the identity that the ruling elite has defined for us. Its nothing personal, of course. Its just that the state needs to keep things simple so that it can tax us, regiment us, and control us.
After the revolution people often look back and wonder how the ancien régime could have been so out of touch, how it could have allowed injustices to fester and metastasize until it was too late. But people read The New York Times and listen to NPR for a daily reminder that everything is copacetic in LiberalLand. Nobody wants to be told that they have sold America into cruelty and injustice.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
Civil Societya complex welter of intermediate institutions, including businesses, voluntary associations, educational institutions, clubs, unions, media, charities, and churchesbuilds, 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
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
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
For [the left] there is only the state and the individual, nothing in between. No family to rely on, no friend to depend on, no community to call on. No neighbourhood to grow in, no faith to share in, no charities to work in. No-one but the Minister, nowhere but Whitehall, no such thing as society - just them, and their laws, and their rules, and their arrogance.
David Cameron, Conference Speech 2008
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
No lesson seems to be so deeply inculcated by the experience of life as that you should never trust experts. If you believe doctors, nothing is wholesome: if you believe the theologians, nothing is innocent: if you believe the soldiers, nothing is safe. They all require their strong wine diluted by a very large admixture of insipid common sense.
Lord Salisbury, Letter to Lord Lytton
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
In England there were always two sharply opposed middle classes, the academic middle class and the commercial middle class. In the nineteenth century, the academic middle class won the battle for power and status... Then came the triumph of Margaret Thatcher... The academics lost their power and prestige and... have been gloomy ever since.
Freeman Dyson, The Scientist as Rebel