Notes From Babel

Universal Health Care: Right Idea, Wrong Species

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After reading E.D. Kain’s eminently reasonable post today, it occurred to me there is one, and perhaps only one, reason why we all don’t just drop whatever political orientation we happen to have and subscribe to the centrists’ newsletter. That reason is misanthropy; the abiding belief that, being human, we’re bound to screw it all up one way or another. Rightist wingnuts, on the one hand, would likely blow up the whole system sooner than let the other guys get their way. But on the other hand, they’ll likely blow the whole system up sooner than let the other guys get their way. It’s irrational, it’s childish, but dammit, it’s honest, and holds no aspirations of erecting a system that’s not as clumsy and doltish as we are. And while the leftist nutters would really like to build a better mousetrap, they’re too excited and impatient to work with the buzzkill rightists to ever make it happen.

Centrists, on the other hand, threaten to ruin this balanced regime and actually provide a way for these crazy people to accomplish things—and this is not a good thing. Centrists come in and pat everyone on the head and tell us all our feelings are justified, but how swell would it be if we could compromise, and maybe you both have a point, and you can appreciate that if you don’t at least agree on x the debate is going to leave you behind, and on the other hand of course the free market and personal responsibility are good things, and look, here are some charts and graphs and a neat PowerPoint. It’s all very enlightened, and I sometimes find myself wondering why I don’t just warm up to it.

But what ever happened to that idea that man is basically evil, or at least silly and stubborn out of proportion with his meager rational faculty, and that left to his devices he will destroy himself? Or, the secular variation of same—that government is basically evil, or too silly and stubborn, and that left to its own devices, it will destroy us all? We can all appreciate pie charts and calculators, but for heaven’s sake, the housing bubble carcass is still warm—have we already forgotten that that beast was cobbled together with equations so fancy it took a pocket protector and half a dozen letters after your name to understand them? And even those guys were kind of amazed that it worked as long as it did. Numbers are not our salvation. They just give us new and horrifying ways to make us say “I wish I’d not have done that.”

And so it will inevitably go with universal health care. Again, you won’t get any wonkish predictions from me as to how precisely the thing will blow up in our faces—perhaps a smoking disaster like California’s energy “deregulation”; or perhaps a long, slow suffocation like our entitlement programs. One way or another, it’s going to go south on us.

So, although I won’t throw my hat in with the blathering, insipid wingnuts who do little other than heap unhelpful insults on the issues, they’re doing God’s work. Who else is going to take those determined little imagineers with a bloated sense of duty to “humanity” down a notch?


Written by Tim Kowal

July 23, 2009 at 4:38 am

Posted in Health Care, Politics

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