Monday, March 22, 2010

More on the Economist's endorsement of the healthcare bill

The Economist reluctantly endorsed voting for the healthcare reform bill. This garnered dozens of comments from Tea Party types. I said this in response to both (which you also see at the Economist's website):

For readers of the Economist who aren't fluent in American, maybe I can help with some of the terminology used in many of these comments:

Socialism: any regulation of any business in any way.

You see, as a child Ayn Rand was traumatized by the Soviets confiscating her parents' estate. This made her unable to distinguish between regulation and confiscation, and she passed this philosophical virus on to generations of American right wingers.

Liberal/Conservative: in America we use these terms somewhat differently. Basically, conservatives long to restore an America that never was, while liberals long to transform it into a nation that never will be. So they're dueling dreamers.

Conservatives are happy to destroy the environment as long as they can keep driving their three ton SUVs. Liberals are happy to destroy American unskilled laborers' livelihoods in order to make America the safety valve for Mexico's overpopulation crisis (from 20 million people in 1940 to over 100 million in 2000). So neither is either.

And since Conservatism (capital C) has become a religion, they'll regard the Economist's apply of reason to the messy healthcare bill as heresy. Because in a religion, study is not analytical but rather worshipful. And, as you've experienced with Europe's radicalized Muslims, you are not allowed to disagree, with or without reasons--only to obey.

And when you read nutcases here declaring that the Democratic legislators in Congress should be tried for treason by a military tribunal--you'll see that they've left the basic tenets of constitutional democracy far, far behind.

But since our schools teach children facts but not what to do with them, they aren't aware that they've abandoned our nation's basic values--because they didn't understand those values in the first place.

For my part, as a centrist American who's reasonably educated, I think the Economist has assessed our healthcare bill spot on.

Now I'm waiting to see whether our Supreme Court--whose hard-right near-majority lied about their objectivity during their Senate approval hearings--will summarily overturn the universal health insurance mandate in the bill, thus kneecapping it.


Marcel Kincaid said...

Liberal/Conservative: in America we use these terms somewhat differently. Basically, conservatives long to restore an America that never was, while liberals long to transform it into a nation that never will be. So they're dueling dreamers.

Centrist: self-congratulatory git who suffers from the delusion that the arithmetic mean of any two data points must be the correct value and thus doesn't need to pay attention to actual details.

Ehkzu said...

Well, now...IMHO everyone with a political opinion tends to be self-congratulatory.

However, self-congratulation and actually being right are independent variables.

You can be a smug jerk and be right about something, while the nice, humble self-effacing gentleman can be dead wrong.

Or vice-versa, of course.

As to whether left, right or center has a lock on reality--if you go through my posts on this blog you'll see I hold positions all the way across the conventional political spectrum, so it should be obvious that I don't think centrism is the be-all and end-all.

One problem is that many people do think of centrism the Marcel does. Time after time the media think they've done their job if they present opposing viewpoints--without saying who said the truth.

Because it's not just a matter of opinion. There is truth out there, hard as it may be to come by.

That is, some people are mathematical centrists, as per Marcel's accusation.

I'd describe myself, really, as an empirical pragmatist. I use "centrist" because most people don't understand "empirical pragmatist."

In an earlier post I said that our needs needs liberals, moderates and conservatives, because none is always right, and because sometimes it's right to do something new, sometimes to stick with the old ways, and sometimes to split the difference.

That's why I supported ObamaCare, even though I'd prefer a single payer system. But the only way to get that would be to eliminate gerrymandering and adopt Britain's campaign finance system. As long as money talks as loudly as it does here--and with the Supreme Court complicit in the Reign of Money--ObamaCare is the best we can do today.

OTOH my stance on illegal immigration would be regarded as really harsh by both leftists and centrists.

And I see world overpopulation as an overriding crisis so bad that I advocate China's one child policy worldwide. That's not mathematically centrist by any measure, but it is empirical.

To me "empiricist" means I don't let what I want or like--or the currently accepted beliefs of my society--deter me from reaching logical conclusions. "Pragmatist" means that while I draw logical conclusions, I'll accept compromises like ObamaCare if that seems to be the best we can do at this time in this place.

Doesn't that seem reasonable?