Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Thinkin' Lincoln - Part Two

The maelstrom rages forth unabated! For Part One, see:

Main Entry:

Pronunciation: \ˈsō-shə-ˌli-zəm\
Function: noun
Date: 1837
1 : any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods
Goods, in this scenario being health care.

I actually responded to your post more than seven weeks before you wrote it:
Assuming you don't have the time to read that whole article, though, allow me to excerpt the most relevant passage:
"Apart from radical libertarians, virtually every democratic community - including the America envisioned by our Founding Fathers - has recognized that certain social services must be provided by the government, with the only question being where the line should be drawn between what must be guaranteed by the government and what ought to be left to the private sector. The only way to be a socialist or communist is to argue that the government should control the entire economy."
Do you claim that we live in a socialist state because firefighters, police officers, and public school teachers are paid for by the state, or because the Department of Transportation helps build bridges and the FDA makes sure you don't ingest rat feces in your meat?

Back in Lincoln's day, there were millions of Americans who argued that anti-slavery advocates wished to take away the slaveowner's freedom. The idea that one should have the "freedom" to own another human being is rightfully scorned as both logically absurd and morally bankrupt today, but we must not forget that the reason so many intelligent and wel-intentioned people believed it back then was because conventional wisdom held that being pro-slavery was a legitimate point-of-view... and as such, identifying its obvious flaws (as men like Lincoln did regularly) was regarded as gauche at best, and downright tyrannical at worst (remember what John Wilkes Booth shouted immediately after taking Lincoln's life).

Today there are many who believe that a moral and logical case can be made in favor of people not receiving the health care they need because of the capriciousness of an insurance company or because of their meager financial circumstances; that it is a greater wrong for the rich to pay more in taxes than for the needy to receive decent jobs; that a fair and reasonable position exists for further deregulating banks and Wall Street firms despite the economic collapse their fatuous cupidity caused. Just like the pro-slavery forces of Lincoln's day, these people are either incapable or unwilling to see through the chimera of conventional wisdom and recognize the horrifying ridiculousness of what they believe. Today we have wolves savagely fighting for their freedom to kill sheep, and many sheep being mesmerized into supporting the very wolves who wish to murder them. The wolves' argument is no better today - logically or morally - than it was in 1864, and I am willing to bet that Americans in 2154 will be just as dumbfounded by the wolf defenders of our time as we are by the wolf defenders of Lincoln's.
For clarification's sake, here is the relevant portion of the Abraham Lincoln speech argued so passionately between Jim and myself.
The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatable things, called by the same name———liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatable names———liberty and tyranny.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails to—day among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the processes by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage, hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty.


Megan said...

re: John Wilkes Booth - he broke out into song, right? A poignant baritone ballad about brothers killing brothers?

Oh, no, wait ... that was the broadway musical "Assassins."

I believe what he said in real life was "OW! FUCK!"

(*is going to burn in hell for assassination humor, even if it is her second-favorite president.*)

Sean said...

The problem with your argument here Jim is that the government is not controlling the entirety of the health care industry, if they were I'd agree that it was socialist (which, I might add, I fully support). However they are only introducing a public OPTION, which will sit along side of private insurers. Therefore your argument falls apart, in a socialist economy and government you would not be given a choice, and that's the point is it not? Promote competition through choice, sound quite capitalist to me.

Sean said...

Actually, Matt put it very eloquently in his post. Are you claiming that people who cannot afford health care don't deserve the same, high quality, treatment that the rich get? If that is your assertion then I am afraid I cannot, and WILL NOT, accept such an aristocratic notion. We are all guaranteed rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and this applies to all Americans, not just those wealthy enough to "buy" it.

Regina said...

Excellently argued, Matt. But did Jack-ass Jim just give up? and WHAT was that little comment of his earlier about "Nancy pelosi putting people in prison for not buying their neighbor's abortions"?! There is so much wrong with that comment I don't know where to begin.

Jim said...

No, I didn;t just give up. I have two children, and a life aside, so I don't obsess on these exchanges. Sorry that I'm a "jackass" for that. Sean, the healthcare proposal, as it stands, does not claim, publicly, to force anything on anyone, but in fact there are fees and imprisonments implied in the bill, if people indicated to be in a certain bracket choose not to purchase the public option. I'm not one of those people, thankfully. That is particularly what reeks of socialism, as does the potential for rationing, which will happen. There simply is not enough money there. Regina, tell me what's wrong with that comment about abortions?

Regina said...

Jimmy my boy, you are not a jack ass for having a life (or claiming to have a life). You are a jack ass for saying moronic and offensive things that betray your bigotry and ignorance, and then when logically refuted by several parties, continuing to loudly bray that you are right. And what, oh what, could I have possibly found offensive about "Nancy Pelosi putting people in prison for not buying their neighbor's abortions?" Let's start simple, for a simple man: nobody will be buying their neighbor abortions under the bill. Secondly no one will be imprisoned because of it. You admitted yourself that the bill does not force anything on anyone. And DON'T give me this b.s. about "imprisonments are implied." You show me where they're implied, pal, then I'll take you seriously. Now, let's get into what YOUR nasty comment implies. It betrays your troglodytic views on women and their rights--as does your "Holocaust of the Unborn" remark in another response. Scientists are split pretty much down the middle about when life begins, by the way, but I doubt you'll believe me. BUt here's the really important thing: YOU ARE NOT A WOMAN. When YOU have the risk of getting knocked up with an unwanted fetus, and have to carry it in your stomach for 9 months, and then have to squeeze something the size of a watermelon through an opening the size of a grape using ONLY YOUR ASS MUSCLES, then have to take care of it for 20 years (when maybe you are ill-equipped to do so), and possibly have your life ruined by all this, THEN you can talk about what women can and cannot do with their bodies. Remember, a man has a 20 second orgasm, and then all other participation is VOLUNTARY. THAT is what is wrong with your jack ass comment, Jack Ass Jim.

Regina said...

Upon rereading my latest response, I realize I should clarify 2 things.
1) When I say nobody will be buying their neighbor abortions, nor will they go to prison if they refuse, I am objecting to the oversimplification within those statements. Yes, you'll have to pay taxes, as usual, and yes, some of that tax money will go to abortions, and yes, there are the standard penalties for tax evasion. But the way you phrased it, that your next-door neighbor is going to make you pay out of pocket for the whole abortion and you go to prison if you refuse, is just assinine.
2) Just to make this completely clear, I mentioned that scientists are split about when life begins because this means that there's no consensus about when or whether abortion is murder. Thus, you cannot call abortion murder, pro-choice people murderers, or claim that there is a "holocaust of the unborn" with any certainty. As such, it means that it is a question of what a woman does with part of her body.