I just read an entire comments stream on a Facebook friend’s post that made me want to kill. Let me explain: this person is a republican, but not in the new crazy way, but the standard “I like guns and small government way for reasons I can put into coherent words” way. However, he has friends who are super right, so I get to read these.
Secondary explanation: the post was a meme that has the headline “priorities in this country are askew” and has a man with a gun on one side that says “right” and on the other a dying person on a stretcher being treated by a doctor that says “privilege”.
The entire comments stream was full of debate over my friend’s initial remarks, but it read with the sort of logic you’d expect. One statement was made over and over: “Well if healthcare (abortion) is a right, where does it end? If healthcare is a right then the government has to buy it for me, and if my gun is a right then it has to buy that for me too, and where does it end? Is food a right? Is housing a right? Does the government have to buy that for me too?”
So let me answer that and simultaneously explain to you why politics in this country is so polarizing.
Economists figured out in the 1800’s that a “public good” is something defined as non-exclusive, like national defense (meaning no one can be excluded from it, because national defense descends the entire country) or combats moral egregiousness.
So let me give you an example from my own life, to make this real. An unmarried woman gives birth to a premature infant (she is single because the man she thought she could trust up and vanished when the baby became a reality). She cannot get a job because the infant requires constant specialized care. She cannot live with her family because she doesn’t have one. So…should we as a country allow this woman and her baby to end up starving to death on the street? Some historical countries did, but there’s a reason they no longer exist. When we decided to exist as a nation we, over the many decades of existence, decided to do things in a sustainable way. So do we let her starve? No. Of course we don’t. We give her food and shelter, and we give her and her daughter healthcare. And do you know what? She lives and produces a contributing member of society.
The point is, we chose to be better than our past. We chose, as a nation, to embrace public good as something for which our federal system was devised to organize and uphold. OUR GOVERNMENT EXISTS TO ORGANIZE AND PROVIDE ASSISTANCE. It is non-exclusionary and a public work.
It won’t create an “entitlement culture” because firstly, a system like that would collapse if fat lazy assholes increase in number while the supporting members decrease. There won’t be a problem to debate then! But secondly, THAT HAS NEVER FUCKING HAPPENED. In every country on this planet that has provisions for its citizens like healthcare, stipends, and free education…people have literally never turned into those space cadets from WALL-E. NEVER.
So why is politics in this country so polarizing?
Because one side is pure fucking evil straight from hell or too stupid to realize it is pure fucking evil straight from hell.
Yes, yes and yes.
I’d like to add, with regard to the “space cadets from Wall-E” that indolence comes from ignorance. The less a mind is stimulated, the more flabby and useless it becomes. The way to combat indolence is to stimulate as many minds as possible as much as they can tolerate. Meaning that if our leaders really meant to undo laziness and the so-called “entitlement culture”, they would create a completely free academic system. Education undoes indolence, apathy, ignorance, intolerance, certain vices.
As for health care, a public option should be given, as you said as a public good, for those who cannot afford more specialized coverage. Just as there are public schools and private, the SOCIETY has a MANDATE to create better citizens. Public education was founded for that purpose. A baseline public option should also.
And if you cannot comprehend the logic or efficacy of that, then yes, settle into the notion that you are allied with the dark side.
You always say things with so much more eloquence than me.
But yes, that whole “society has a mandate” thing. I get what you’re saying so I want to make the point a little stronger. Why the fuck do we bother having organization? Why do we bother to have a “society”? What’s it doing for us?
On the most basic level it is providing safety in numbers, the protection of taking up each other’s slack: the stronger members build and move heavy shit, and the clever ones plan, and the female ones make babies, and so on. We organize to take up the slack and gain in return. Society exists specifically to provide that organization. So it isn’t that it has a mandate to provide for the public good…its TJAT SOCIETY IS THE PUBLIC GOOD. Intrinsically! It is that thing we decided was good for us.
I have no fucking problem paying more taxes to have healthcare for every homeless person. You know why? Besides being a pretty okay person? That also benefits me and line too. It benefits all of us. I am totally fucking fine with paying more taxes to have free school. Because guess what? I want to go to that school, and I would love it if every kid I knew could do the same. How can you not see the benefit of that? This generation has some of the highest literacy rates we’ve ever seen…how can you not understand that that is a good thing and a NATURAL BYPRODUCT OF ORGANIZING FOR THE PUBLIC GOOD?