I keep getting forwarded e-mails from “conservative Republicans” moaning about Obamacare. Of course, none challenge the ethical idea behind it – this notion that people have a right to medical care and it is the obligation of others to provide it, at gunpoint if need be (the latter ugliness never mentioned, even in passing).
These Affordable Care Act critics will cackle all day long on Fox News about the “glitches” plaguing the Obamacare web site, about the rising cost of premiums, over policy cancellations because the old policies didn’t meet the new Obamacare Mandatory Minimums. But they won’t touch upon the only question that matters.
I despair, because the battle’s been lost – and these fools don’t even realize it.
Imagine whining that a bully used brass knuckles instead of his own knuckles to break your nose. This is the essence of the Republicans’ utilitarian objection. Not that the bully broke your nose – but how he did it. If he did it some other way, then it would ok.
Hence, the bacon-faces in the Senate will talk about reforming Obamacare, or starting over… with a “new plan” (their plan) which of course will be a better plan.
What none of them will talk about – not even Rand Paul – is questioning the very idea of bacon-faces in Congress (or jug ears in the White House) force-feeding their got-damned plans to anyone. That maybe medical care is, like any other work of human hands, the rightful property of those who create and provide it – and of those who buy it, with their own got-damned resources.
It is tragic that there are people who are ill or debilitated. They are entitled to sympathy – arising from empathy. Certainly, they ought to be helped.
But they are not ethically entitled to use violence to obtain so much as a tongue depressor. One man’s misfortune is not a claim enforceable at gunpoint on another.
Civilization is premised on this concept. That people are not beholden to one another except in terms of treating one another with respect and civility absent just cause (such as in self defense against aggression) to do otherwise. If that critical prop is kicked away – if it is replaced by the odious notion that one man may legally, via the mechanism of the ballot box, take from another, may enslave him (to any degree) in order to improve his own condition, with violence or its threat as his cudgel – then the death warrant of civilization has been signed.
It remains only to be executed.
Obamacare enshrines this notion – and thus, signs and executes the death warrant of whatever remains of the free society America once was but is no longer – because so many of her people have rejected ethical action and embraced the Republicans’ utilitarian human hyena-ism.
If, after all, every person is entitled to “care” – that is, to force others to provide it merely because he needs it and they posses the means to provide it – then surely every person is also entitled also to every other thing they need – from a roof over their heads to clothes on their backs to food in the ‘fridge. And not merely a roof – but a nice roof (perhaps architectural shingles) and designer clothes and rib eyes in the ‘Fridge – plus a flat screen TeeVee and an Escalade parked outside, too.
If not, why? What is the ethical argument in opposition?
All that’s left is squabbling over how much, who from – and how. This is mass-murderer Vladimir Lenin’s formulation of government: Who does what to whom.
And the Republicans? They are like the woman in the story attributed to Winston Churchill (or perhaps it was WC Fields, it doesn’t really matter). He offered a woman $1 million dollars if she would agree to sleep with him. The woman readily agreed. Whereupon Winston (or WC) inquired: “Well, how about $10?” The woman, greatly offended, shrieked back: ‘What kind of woman do you think I am?” Winston/WC shot back: “Madam, we have already established that. We are now haggling over details.”
That is what Republicans gave away when they refused to take an ethical stand against the underlying premise of Obamacare. Not that it “won’t work” or will “increase costs” and ought to be “repealed and then replaced.”
They should have said, simply: It is wrong to use one man’s misfortune as the basis for imposing misfortune on another man. Charity is good, neighbors and friends and families voluntary coming to each others’ aid in times of need, superlative. It brings out the best in people. Using bayonets and billy clubs, threats and cages – brings out the worst in people. It turns them into animals – scavengers – fighting over the corpses of their fellows.
This argument holds water. It is five feet thick – and re-bar reinforced. It leaves the proponents and defenders of Obamacare no choice but to bare the fangs behind their disingenuous smile of “progressive” and “liberal” (and yes, “compassionate” conservative) false humanity. For there is nothing less humane than slavery – the chaining of one human being to another. But this form of it is particularly odious because of its subtlety.
Rather than a single master, we each become one another’s master.
It pours acid over empathy – and gradually extinguishes the natural and normal desire of men to help one another. Instead, people grow to resent one another. Your neighbor is no longer your neighbor. He is a guy whose “health care” imposes an obligation on you and your family no different than if you’d borrowed money from him at interest. Only he gets to set the amount of the principle – and the rate of interest – and you will never be able to pay off the “debt.”
If you think things were bad, pre-Obamacare – denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions, stifling bureaucracy, high cost – just wait until the full weight of Obamacare descends and nothing about your life and how you live it is yours (and your own business) anymore.
Smoke? Your neighbors now have a claim on you – to be enforced at gunpoint. Eat red meat? The same. Exercise not “enough”? Duly noted; it will be reflected in your premium. By the way, how are your relations with the wife? Do you get angry much? What kinds of books do you read? And so on – with everything.
It is the natural, the inevitable consequence of accepting the utilitarianism that underlies Obamacare. And the only antidote is the rejection of utilitarianism – and an insistence on ethics. The ethics of the golden rule, of non-aggression and self-ownership and voluntary cooperation.
The result of that would be people taking care of each other – rather than preying on each other.
But don’t expect to hear it from a Republican.
Throw it in the Woods?
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