ObamaCare is back on the front burner. That's what happens when you pass an historic and revolutionary piece of social legislation by the barest majority and against strong popular opposition. People are not tired of the health care debate. They are tired of arrogant, liberal social engineers and wealth redistributors.
In "The Moral Dividend of Replacing ObamaCare" (Worldmag.com), I argue that the 2010 health care reform will be a devastating blow not only to the nation's economy but also to our sense of personal responsibility (which is bad enough as it is).
I set up my closing argument with this reductio ad absurdum scenario.
Democratic lawmakers argue that healthcare is too important to leave to individual responsibility. Because some people cannot afford it, the right thing to do morally is to socialize the costs so that everyone has this basic good at public expense. But that claims a rationale for ever-greater government takeover of people’s private affairs that has no limiting principle. Food is important. So are clothes. People can’t get to work without a car. Why should some people have free access to these basic goods and with Cadillac-quality (literally, in the case of cars) while others go without them or get by with shoddy quality? When it comes to food, clothing, housing, and transportation, they will complain that we have a two-tier society. Ban the private car or give everyone a functional government-made, government-issued car. Why shouldn’t everyone live in worker housing? Let’s nationalize Nike and Tommy Hilfiger. Style for everyone!
I close by saying that, morally, this approach to government,
...leads to infantile dependency. People lose the inclination to provide for themselves as responsible, self-governing, adult people. “I have this need! Why does the government not provide for it! It’s important!” The government becomes a benevolent zookeeper, and the people are all nicely preserved. But, like the lions sunning themselves on the rocks behind the fence, no one resembles what a human being is supposed to be.
This column provoked a long string of comments in which people debate (I use a polite term) back and forth about the merits of ObamaCare. They also debate what I'm saying, and who is being rational and polite about it, and who is not. Someone calls me a "political hack" for joining God and mammon in the phrase "moral dividend." Sheesh! Another condemns me for, he says, callously just wishing someone with cancer or MS a boost in character. Someone comes to my defense, pointing out that I clearly state: "There are better ways of helping people in need." That's all I say because the substance of what should replace ObamaCare is not the subject of the column, and we only have 400-700 words to work with anyway. My defender also rebukes the fellow for rudeness and indifference to understanding the arguments of others. Unrepentant and undaunted, the curmudgeon gripes on.
It is interesting to see how many nasty and unreasonable leftists--both professing Christian and clearly non--spend their time tussling with conservative World readers on the commentary pages of the website. Are they unemployed? Are they employed by George Soros? That leftists would occupy themselves with this constant sparring in a conservative forum is one thing, but how ungracious the professedly Christian ones are is another.
*Save Our Souls: of course, I mean souls in the classical sense.