Friday, September 11, 2009

The Divide, in a Nutshell

Just finishing up Thomas Sowell's "The Vision of the Anointed" ... and I ran across this:
The habit of looking at policy issues in terms of the goals they proclaim and the values they represent, not to mention the unconstrained options they assume, leads in a wholly different direction from an analysis of the incentives being created, within the constraints that exist, and the probable outcome of such incentives and constraints.
Does that not get directly at the heart of the divide between Progressives and modern-day Conservatives?

If I am against a health care bill Progressives propose "to provide access to basic health care for all", then I simply "don't care about people". If the bill doesn't say that elderly or terminally ill patients access to certain procedures that may lengthen their lives must be reviewed by bureaucrats, then Sarah Palin is an idiot for saying that that is precisely what would happen, or she's "lying".

In fact, she has gone the route of the latter portion of the above Sowell excerpt. She has looked at the available evidence, at the history of socialized medicine in other countries, at the writings and words of the policy makers advising the president, and at the laws of economics and drawing a conclusion based on the available information.

They speak as if the legislation itself is a magic wand, not realizing they are Mickey Mouse in The Sorcerer's Apprentice. As if the intended outcome is all that matters, and they are convinced they can keep everything under control.

Thus their side ends up arguing over what the intent of the bill is (and in my opinion many are being coy about the entire intent, but that aside ...) and the actual wording of this particular piece of legislation (obfuscated by the fact that there is more than one piece of legislation and none have been "finalized") -- and to what end the philosophy that is shaping this legislation -- as evidenced both by what those driving it have in the past said their intentions were, much of the vagueness in the legislation, and some of the specifics in the legislation itself -- will likely lead.

As my dad used to say when we said "but I didn't mean to ..." he would reply "well you didn't mean not to". In matters of grave consequence, those are words to consider.
Once we drop the assumption of a wonderful specialness of [Progressives] -- which is to say once we acknowledge " a decent respect for the opinion of mankind" as the Declaration of independence put it -- the whole picture changes. In social life, the more fundamental a truth is, the more likely it is to have been discovered long ago -- and to have been repeated in a thousand ways to the point of utter boredom.
Which is to say, as I have in the past, that the conservative worldview is not sexy, and doesn't sell well. It must be painstakingly taught as we civilize each generation of children into the next generation of civilization.

When they run into the flashy feel-good trinkets of the Progressive worldview, the easy path to a feeling of self worth, of self importance, they follow the dark side of the force and are consumed by it like a junkie on opium, constantly looking for their next hit of psuedo superiority.

Easy that path is and rewarding it feels. But take it you must not.

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