|The End of Socialized Medicine?||Let's Steal the Ideas of the Left|
by Christopher Chantrill
November 05, 2007 at 3:06 pm
IN THE MONTH that has elapsed since President Bush vetoed the extension of S-CHIP into the middle class we have all had a chance to think about the deep philosophical issues involved. For many loyal Democratic partisans the philosophical issues involved had a pungently scatological aroma according to Mark Steyn.
Now the Democrats want to bring the issue up for another confrontation with the president. So we must revisit the painful issues involved once again.
The most effective witnesses of the S-CHIP affair were the fathers. They called into talk shows and expressed their disgust at people who would buy late-model cars before buying health insurance for their families. They talked about the lousy jobs they had held so that they could have decent health insurance and provide for their families.
They were talking about the sacrifices they had made to do the right thing.
This business of sacrifice is a very big deal. It is a universal topic in the worlds religions, and even appears in the worlds modern secular religions. Because it is so universal and important I have long struggled to understand the meaning of sacrifice, analyzing it in Eco-sacrifice is Closer Than You Think and The Left Returns to Sacrifice.
In the animal world sacrifice is ubiquitous. Swallows fly every waking hour catching insects on the wing to feed their young, and you can see the results when their chubby fledglings first leave the nest. Chimpanzee males spend their livesand lose their livesin border wars with the neighbors, defending territory in which the females and the young may feed and grow.
So it is with humans. We men are expendable, so we are often required to sacrifice ourselves as soldiers or as providers. Otherwise what is the use of us? The essence of male honor is to stand in line with your brothers in battle and not run away even in the face of certain death.
But sometimes we humans get sacrifice all wrong. I realized this a couple of weeks ago watching Glucks opera Iphigenia in Tauris. For you Greek myth scholars, Iphigenia is the eldest daughter of Agamemnon and Tauris is modern Crimea.
The Crimea is not as out-of-the way as you might think. The Black Death entered Europe from the Crimean port of Caffa, and Florence Nightingale invented modern nursing there.
Heres the story so far. Agamemnons fleet is on its way to teach the Trojans a lesson but gets becalmed by the angry goddess Artemis. To appease the goddess Agamemnon sacrifices his eldest daughter Iphigenia.
Fifteen years later, after the Trojans have learned their lesson, we find Iphigenia, miraculously rescued by Artemis, presiding in a temple in the Crimea on the other side of the Black Sea from Troy. Her job is to sacrifice any Greek travelers that might happen by, for the local King Thoas is really worried that the gods are offended by his evil deeds. Greek victims must be slaughtered to appease them.
Wouldnt you know that the first Greek to turn up is Iphigenias long lost brother, Orestes?
These kings are obviously missing the point. If you have offended the gods you should not sacrifice your daughter or some helpless Greek traveler to them. You should sacrifice yourself.
About 2,000 years ago God got fed up with all this chaos on the sacrifice front. So he sent his Son as a sacrifice. No need to sacrifice your sons and daughters for your sins any more, God said. Ill sacrifice my Son instead, once for all. After that, lets have no more blood sacrifice. Just make a genuine repentance and you will be saved.
Unfortunately, politicians have had a real problem wrapping their brains around this one. In their belief system nothing has changed. Rulers still rule and other people sacrifice. You know how it works.
I get to live in a big house and fly around in corporate jets and get a carbon-offset indulgence from the eco-pope, but other people must sacrifice to save the planet. Or there is this.
I am a creative person so I shouldnt have to sacrifice my creative powers in a boring 9-to-5 job. Other people should pay for my kids health insurance through S-CHIP.
How about this one? I am a helpless victim...
Youve heard that one? My, these things get around fast.
Heres an original concept. Before you demand that other people sacrifice, you should do a spot of sacrificing yourself.
We conservatives do not suggest this because we are selfish and want to spend our paychecks on our own families.
Its because of this nagging feeling weve gotten from reading too much Greek tragedy. People who demand that other people sacrifice for them often come to a bad end. There was Agamemnon, murdered by his wifes lover. There was Thoas, cut down by Orestes pal.
Maybe you should take that 9-to-5 job and pay for your own health insurance.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[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 way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[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
[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
[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.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
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
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
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America