Monday, March 29, 2010


There’s a right way and a wrong way. The stakes are too high and the need to repeal the major pillars of this atrocity is so great that opponents must work to claim the moral high ground by articulating repeal of the legislation with logic, facts and a certain dignity. The mainstream media is crowing, and ready to zap apostates for their unbelief; witness the overwhelming slate of tea-partiers-are-racist-homophobe-hypocrite articles that invite readers to use any shred of same to dismiss the Obamacare opposition entirely. Shikha Dalmia of REASON wrote a great piece on March 26th about how to use Gandhian tactics to assert your logical advantage; those of us/you who are wanting to help work toward repeal would be well-advised to take a gander.


Shawn said...

The debate around healthcare reform in this country is so muddy at this point, it's impossible to distinguish reality from ideology, truth from hyperbole, etc. I refuse to call the bill "Obamacare" because it's a reductive, rhetorical device that instantly cheapens the conversation (I never used the phrase "Bush's War" either).

Anyway, it's a huge and complicated issue, and I don't trust anyone who claims to absolutely have the answer, or who frames it as a black and white "this bill will ruin us" assertion.

You could just as easily say the Bush tax cuts for the super rich sewed the seeds of economic collapse. Or the so-called war on terror that is costing us close to half a billion dollars per day. Per day. By the way, the 9/11 attacks are estimated to have cost Al Qaeda about $400,000, so that's a pretty good ROI for them. 70% of our government's spending goes to the military, while everything else is falling apart. That's too much money going into guns, ammo and other testosterone toys.

A lot of the tea bagger hysteria seems ill-informed, but I agree the movement has been unfairly demonized and overly characterized by its most extreme fringes.

I also agree that this country is spending way too much of our money on the wrong things. I'm slightly less convinced that they're taking too much of our money, but I'm open to being persuaded.

I don't think the government is particularly good at solving big problems, and I'm predisposed to distrust them on the healthcare thing. But I'm more predisposed to distrust the insurance companies. What's the market solution that isn't driven by the insurance companies.

In general, I'd like to hear conservatives address issues of how to protect the greater good without relying on some kind of government regulation. How do you avoid tragedies of the commons?

Finally, lots of countries have bigger governments and higher taxes, and they aren't in ruins. On the contrary, citizens of Denmark for example are by some measures the happiest in the world. Lots of countries with small, weak governments are places no one would choose to live. So even this first principle doesn't seem very black and white.

Jay said...

Shawn, thanks for being the first person to comment on this site in months. I'm glad you stayed tuned in, against all odds.

I share your concern with how money is spent in this country, including on two unwinnable wars that have plundered the country's monies. ANYTHING that makes this worse is something I oppose. The health insurance bill - a better name for it than "Obamacare", I grant you, since the big winners in this are the insurance companies themselves - was pushed through under false pretenses, sham economics, lies, and as a way to "make history", whether or not it will end up doing good or ill.

Finally, I don't believe everything is completely black or white, either. My stuff's generally been about the USA, and not Denmark or other countries with stronger or weaker governments. There are so many factors that make a nation a nation, be it its openesss to immigration or its homogeneousness (?); its entrepreneur culture; its education system and level of education embedded in its culture; its history; its founding principles, etc. I like Denmark, and I might actually accept some trade-offs to live there, yet I don't think the challenges facing the US right now translate particularly well overseas, due to the number of things that make the US unique in the world. I'll try to explore that more in coming posts.

Thanks again.