A diary was recently posted to a liberal blog attacking the baby boomers for their bad eating habits. The argument was made that they should not be allowed unlimited health care because they don’t deserve it – “they should have eaten better.”
This is typical Right wing savagery. But what surprised me were the responses.
Many arguments accepted the premise that health care is earned and responded by proposing that the baby boomers have indeed earned their health care because they are paying for it – with social security etc.
What I didn’t see was one argument that addressed the real issue – that access to health care is not something you earn, it is a right.
As decent people of good conscience we must reject the right wing frame of health care as a privilege or something you must earn. What kind of society turns away the sick because they don’t “deserve” health care? A sick society.
This is the disease of the free market ideology – the idea that everyone, working in their own selfish interests, creates an equilibrium which benefits society as a whole.
What this ideology creates is a sociopathic society.
a person, as a psychopathic personality, whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.
We must restore the health care debate to the realm of common decency. And we must reject the fallacy that Adam Smith’s invisible hand can replace our basic obligations to our fellow man.
Humans, on the most instinctual level, have always understood that we depend on each other to survive. Society itself is a product of this understanding.
The ideology of the free market, the view of society as the aggregation of individual self interests, is just an invention designed to allow the corporate model to operate without conscience or regard to society as a whole.
It has been embraced and propagated by capitalist forces who see democratic institutions and government regulation as enemies to profit. The health care system is only one manifestation of this sociopathy. There are many others, from environmental abuse to economic injustice.
What the left has allowed, under the leadership of conservatives like Bill Clinton, is nothing less than the defeat of the idea that society is a social compact, the means by which we work together to solve common problems, and express the basic understanding that we are all in this together. We have allowed right wing forces to slowly redefine our most basic values and subvert our better nature.
Even entertaining the notion that people should be denied access to health care because, by some criteria, they don’t deserve it, is evidence of how far we have fallen.
The instrument of Social Democracy, the way we as a society make collective decisions on how to benefit society whole, is democratic government. But the left, and Democrats specifically, have largely conceded to the right’s fallacy that government is inherently bad. And as a result, we have allowed the subversion of the most powerful agent of social justice in the history of the human race – the federal government under the United States constitution.
This could not have happened at a worse time. Never before in history have we needed to come together as much as we do now. Modern civilization is in a crisis state on multiple fronts. It is essential that we, as Americans, and as citizens of the world, unite in common purpose to solve these problems – the climate crisis, the energy crisis, overpopulation, under-education and, of course, the health care crisis. Transparent, effective, democratic government is the only tool we have. It is our only shot.
The first Americans fought and died for the same government that Ronald Reagan, a candidate for the presidency, called “the problem.” We must fight for our government again. We must fight for the idea that a free, thinking people can come together and work for not only the interests of the individual, but the interests of society.
If we don’t succeed, we will see all that we know and love perish.