A fascinating article in the New York Times today, a kind of round-table gathering where leading intellectuals of the day discuss why "socialism" is being applied to Obama's recent health care plan, and why Americans so fervently (and, in my opinion, blindly) reject it.
Surprisingly, the part of this article I found most appealing were these words, written by no other than a conservative:
For conservatives, the battle cry is liberty. But for liberals, it’s equality. The former rests at the heart of capitalism and free markets, while the latter rests at the heart of socialism, government control and federal regulation.
This argument goes all the way back to de Tocqueville's Democracy in America, a favorite reading of mine, and a book I find at least 90% accurate, even nearly 200 years since its publication in the 19th century. Taken as an analogy, liberal: equality as conservative: liberty. (I will always lean on the side of equality. Even for someone who wrote a speech in praise of the 1st amendment in high school, I am even more a rampant supporter of "equality of opportunity") Yet seeing the healthcare debate in these black and white terms, however normally applicable, is utterly inhumane. If we are the children of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," what good is liberty without... life? When 18,000 lives a year (the approximate number who die each year of lack of health insurance) stand in the balance?
I love you Paul Krugman, and I agree, but something has to happen with this whole healthcare debacle... and, on a personal level, should my working class parents be penalized and virtually rendered destitute for the Soviet Union's mistake? Am I somehow to blame for an disease that I was (pretty much) born with, that racked up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills (no kidding) just over the last two months?