|China and Christianity||Don't Repeal the 22nd Amendment|
by Christopher Chantrill
February 26, 2006 at 9:08 am
LOOK AT WAL-MART. It has revolutionized retailing with relentless cost reduction and process improvement. It helps keep the United States at No. 1 in wealth and productivity. When it opens a store in ordinary America, about 4,000 people usually apply for the 400 jobs.
But when Wal-Mart opens a store in underprivileged America, then the jobseekers tear the place down. In Oakland, California, 11,000 people applied for jobs at a new Wal-Mart store. But that was on the weeny Left Coast. When Wal-Mart applied to build a store in Chicago, in the underprivileged South Side of The City That Works, the citys Democrat council said no thanks, we dont need your stinkn store and its jobs. So Wal-Mart built a store right across the Chicago city line in Evergreen Park. A total of 25,000 people applied for the 325 positions at the new store.
And everybodys happy, right?
No, liberals and Democrats are not happy.
You see, liberals think it an outrage that there are people out there with basic human needs unmet. For instance, they believe that if someone, a Wal-Mart employee, for instance, cannot afford health insurance then you should pay for it. Because health care is a basic human right.
They certainly have a point. If someone is in need, then we have a moral duty to help them. The question is, when does a moral duty become a legal duty? At what point do we start legislating morality? Well, for one thing, when we pass a law that says that if a large corporation, e.g. Wal-Mart, doesnt spend 8 percent of payroll on health care for its employees, it should pay the government the difference. That is what they just did in the great state of Maryland.
It is, of course, a fine and moral thing to pass a law to force other people to spend their money to for a great moral purpose like increasing access to health care. It feels so good, we should do it more often. But for Wal-Mart, things are not so easy.
Wal-Mart believes in Always Low Prices for its customers. It does not actually believe that Always Low Prices for its customers is a moral issue, or a human right, but pretty close to it. The problem is that Wal-Mart is not willing to sacrifice its Always Low Prices on the altar of First Dollar Health Insurance. It offers a range of health insurance options to its employees, but nothing close to the First Dollar Health Insurance offered by many of its unionized competitors. For Democrats, who worship at the shrine of First Dollar Health Insurance, Wal-Marts measly health insurance offering is a blasphemy.
We all know where that can get you these days.
But the Democrats problem with Wal-Mart is not just religious. It is also practical. Many of Wal-Marts entry-level employees are eligible for Medicaid and other government health benefits. Not surprisingly, these workers choose to continue their government health benefits instead of actually paying for their health insurance through Wal-Mart. That is why Democrats passed a law in Maryland to force companies with over 5,000 employees that do not spend 8 percent of payroll on health insurance to cough up the difference to the state government. They wanted Wal-Mart to pick up the tab.
The Maryland law is just for starters. Here in Washington State, Democrats are pushing a law that requires large employers to pay at least 9 percent of payroll on health insurance or pay up. Eight percent, nine percent. Pretty soon we are talking about tithing.
Of course, Wal-Mart has not been taking this lying down. After all, Wal-Mart did not get to be the global best practice retailer and Americas Economic Secret Weapon for nothing. It is not going to sit around dithering while some State Senator Lex Luthor tosses a bag of kryptonite over the fence into its cost structure. So Wal-Mart, as reported by The New York Times reporter Michael Barbaro, has started opening health clinics in its stores and is offering a health insurance Value Plan with a cost of $11 per month for an individual that allows for three generic prescriptions and three doctor visits before a [$1,000] deductible kicks in.
Meanwhile in Sterling, Illinois, according to the Wall Street Journal, Wal-Mart is opening an 880,000 sq ft distribution center. In Sterling a mere 6,000 people applied for Wal-Marts 675 jobs. When Susan Adami was offered a Wal-Mart job at $13 per hour she
had to catch herself... Heck, thats more than Ive made working 29 years, she says. Her last job paid $11 per hour, the most she ever earned working in a factory.
At least Susan Adami is happy with Wal-Mart.
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