Today I was going to write something about comparing Lords of Olympus to Lords of Gossamer and Shadow, but I found myself distracted by an article, and especially commentary about the article. The article was about how the head of the conservative lobby group Freedomworks said that "Obamacare" is bad because insurers should just charge the seriously ill more rather than expect healthy people to have to pay more to cover the chronically ill. In the interview he also stated that while he doesn't think its the fault of someone born with a congenital illness, he feels that they should get help from "loved ones, family, a church, a neighbourhood", and said that the expectation to pay for universal healthcare makes people slaves.
Interesting. It was the comments on G+, however, that got me interested; wave after wave of liberal posters expressing outrage and disbelief, not being able to understand how conservatives could be such "monsters", and general confusion of how anyone could think like that! The thing is, I think that a lot of liberals out there really literally don't understand how conservatives think, because there is such a huge paradigm clash. The brainwashing of either group is so different, it starts from such different logical assumptions, such different memes about what's good or what's bad, that the liberals can only see the conservative viewpoint as that of "monsters" and vice-versa.
So, as a magician who has transcended the bondage of paradigms, to the point that I regularly get accused of being a fascist reactionary by liberals and of being a marxist scumbag by conservatives, and more importantly to the point that I can see just how badly you both suck ass in the ways you let paradigm overrule pragmatic reality, please allow me try to educate you liberals out there on how the Conservative paradigm works, vis a vis health care as our case-study:
To explain the conservative mindset, by which I really mean in this case the U.S.
conservative protestant mindset: they view personal and community
charity as laudable, and state-imposed charity as not. The reason why
they say things like the above without thinking themselves monsters is
the same reason why they also vastly outstrip self-described liberals in
terms of charitable donations per capita.
That is to say, they
believe that charity should be voluntary and based on a community, and
not obligatory and imposed by a government.
Why? What's the difference to them?
of all, there is the view that charity is one of the most important
'christian' virtues; and that it becomes meaningless if the option to
give or not give is taken away from you through state-imposed welfare
systems. If everyone HAS to give it doesn't "mean anything" to them, because the
point isn't so much about making sure everyone gets helped (see below)
as it is about making sure the GIVER has the opportunity to make a
free-will choice to do something spiritually laudable.
Or to put it
in simpler terms: yes you care for the person you're giving to but
you're not really doing it FOR them. You're doing it for Jesus. And for that to matter, it has to be YOU who makes the choice, and you can also make the choice NOT to give. Government-imposed health care taxes take away that option (I mean, you can give more on top of your taxes, and again, conservatives DO give charitably WAY more than liberals do; but you can't "not give" anymore; you can't decide that someone deserves your charity or doesn't, instead someone else takes your money and decides for you).
its about "fairness". Just as liberals have an almost insane obsession
with "equal" (and more recently, with "tolerant"), conservatives have
an almost insane obsession with "fair"; which in both cases can lead to
some pretty absurd extremes that tend to defeat the purpose.
liberal might think that the "fair" thing would be for everyone in the
country to have basic access to medical services (but that's because
they're confusing 'fair' with "equal"). But to a conservative, that's
just not the case; because its not "fair" that some people have to work
hard only to have their hard-earned dollars taken away from them by the
government while some deadbeat who does nothing is allowed to get free
medical treatment (that he "doesn't deserve", see below) without doing
anything to earn it. Its "unfair" in that the right to property is
sacrosanct, and the government is confiscating our property (money) to
give it away to other people.
Now, if you actually sit down and
talk to a conservative, they will be quite ready to admit that of course
there are cases of people who work very hard with more than one job and
still couldn't possibly afford health coverage in America's fucked-up
system. They would also admit that of course there are also people
(little kids, the elderly, those who are disabled through no fault of
their own rather than by "lifestyle choices") that really need health
care, and that are in no way just "deadbeats". That's why they argue
for the need for community to step up. But accepting the reality of
those peoples' existence does not preclude the bigger issue that they
know there ARE people out there taking "UNFAIR" advantage of the
system. And that's intolerable. Because just like a liberal will
generally, when pushed to the wall, claim that its would be better for a
large number of people to be unable to achieve their full potential (and thus be harmed in the process)
than any one person be treated unequally, so too will a conservative
claim that it would be better for a large group of people fail to get
medical treatment than for even ONE willfully deadbeat slacker to get
free money (in the form of healthcare) from their pockets "unfairly".
sounds callous, but again, the point a conservative would make is that
it shouldn't be the government's business to give health care in the
first place; that should be up to the FAMILY, the CHURCH, and the
COMMUNITY. Why? Why are those better? Because, they will tell you,
those institutions do not give out their services "equally" like some
deranged marxist; they are able to Judge who "deserves it".
our last point: it is inherently part of the point for conservatives
that health-care in the hands of family, church or community would NOT
reach everyone. That, to them, is ultimately a good thing.
those institutions Judge. They don't allow for "deadbeats", they're
"fair" in that they will help those who really need it and cast out
those who don't "deserve" it. People without a family, or a church, or
outside of a community, are immediately suspect because they are not
under the supervision of the pillars of tradition that ensure compliance
to societal norms. A conservative will very strongly agree that the
community (including the churches) needs to make certain that it
stretches out far and wide to make sure it can help anyone who "really
needs" it, they have no problem with that; but again the point is that
by default if you do not have a strong social network within a church
and community and find yourself helpless because of that the question is
WHY were you not within these institutions in the first place? What was
wrong with you that you had no church, no family, and no community
around you to give you charity in your time of need? Accidental
isolation can sometimes happen but a lot of the time, a conservative
would guess, it was that you did something to DESERVE being ostracized,
that you are in some way in violation of society's norms, and therefore
do not deserve society's protections. Just as it would be "unfair" for
taxpayer's money being used to fund deadbeats, it is also only "fair"
that if you make "lifestyle choices" that don't keep you centered within
the norms of society, then you made your choice to be a "weirdo" of
some kind and probably haven't "earned" the right to be helped by the
community. If something bad happens to you, you probably "deserve" to
not get help, because you chose to not be part of the "normal" society
that you're now demanding help from.
And that, liberal ladies and
gentlemen, is how the conservative paradigm works, and why they can say
these things and feel morally justified.
Tread carefully now, or I might just have to do a liberal version next.
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Egg + Brebbia no.7 mixture