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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For March 29, 2017

March 21

To Collin Hansen and his blogpost review of Rod Dreher’s Benedict Option in the light of Trump’s Presidency. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.


I haven't read his book but I have read some of Dreher's articles on the Benedict Option. The weakness I find with his approach which should have some bearing on how we agree with his approach or react to what he sees is that he believes that Christians should maintain a privileged place in society resulting in some degree of Christian supremacy over culture and society. This supremacy, historically speaking, has led to the marginalization of many people and that marginalization has not just been based on race. It is good that Hansen brought up past racism. But other bases for marginalization include economic class, religion, and sexual orientation and identity.

If we religiously conservative Christians could only be content with sharing society with others as equals rather than as being treated as a privileged group, we could see that today's culture wars are both unnecessary and harmful for all involved.

So the real question here goes to Dreher's analysis of culture and the presuppositions he carries in analyzing culture. For if we Christians want to have some degree of supremacy in controlling culture, then Dreher's analysis and solution have some legitimacy even though it causes Christians to appear like children who take their games home from friends because they lost in those games. But if we focused on sharing society with others as equals, especially with those from the LGBT community, then the only need we would have to address is to apologize for the how we have wronged the LGBT community in the past and ask about what measures must we take to address those wrongs prior to the pendulum hitting us in the face from its reversing direction. And we don't have to compromise on what the Scriptures say about sexuality and marriage to apologize.

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The comment below is currently listed as being under moderation even though comments submitted later have been posted. Please continue to check the Gospel Coalition blogpost to see if the comment is still not posted.

To Kevin deYoung and his blogpost that claims that those in need as portrayed in Jesus’s parable of the sheep and the goats refers to fellow Christians only. This appeared in then Gospel Coalition website

But the charge to love one’s neighbor, according to the Good Samaritan parable, means that we must show charity to all who are vulnerable who come our way. And in an age of technology-enabled connectedness and governments that are more accountable to its people, then our neighbors include more and more people and thus opposing our government from caring for the vulnerable is to make Cain’s rhetorical question to God the basis for our political ideology.

IN addition, we should note the original definition of stakeholder before we oppose government as it tries to help those in need.


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March 22

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost quote of Andrew Sullivan on how intersectionality has become a religion. This appeared in the Heidelblog.

With how the Bible describes our sinfulness, I don't see any problem with considering the validity of concepts Sullivan associates with intersectionality. We know that identity-based oppression is a fact of history and life. And the only ones who should feel threatened by such ideas are those who cherish their association with privileged groups. They are often described by the OT prophets as those who either neglect or oppress the vulnerable. So certainly those who are privileged should be challenged on either their active participation in or silent complicity with oppressing other groups.

Where intersectionality has become a religion according to Sullivan is not necessarily in the concepts they espouse, but in their response to those who promote opposing ideas. At the speaking event Sullivan described in his article, some of those who adhere to intersectoinality not only prevented a controversial speaker, Charles Murray, from speaking, the manner in which they shut down the event reminded Sullivan of a religion. And that should not surprise us in today's world of  highly insular, ideological groups. It's the insularity that, more than anything else, contributes to a self-righteous intolerance by and even the religiosity of many of today's ideological groups.

What failed to be mentioned in the quote above is how Sullivan describes Trump as being just as much an enemy of truth as those who both adhere to intersectionality and disrupted the speaking event that Sullivan described. We should note that Sullivan commented on how Trump too disregards any facts that challenge his ideology. And it is here that Sullivan ties together those who disrupted the speaking event with Trump. For he states that neither side allows for any facts to exist which challenge their own orthodoxies. Thus, from different ideological perspectives, those who believe in intersectionality and Trump himself mimic each other in how they respond to challenges. They mimic each other not necessarily by tactics used but by only allowing for any reality that challenges their ideologies.

So the question becomes why does this blogpost only quote Sullivan when he describes intersectionality and not Trump?

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March 24

To Bruce Ashford and his blogpost review of a book by David Koyzis on making idols out of our politics. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.


Two points to make here. Being a socialist, I felt that socialism was misrepresented that was because it was treated as a monolith based on one of its oldest models. We should note that many who have thought about and promoted socialism since Marx, realize that Socialism existed before Marx only he added some particular flavors to it, have some different views than his. Some have followed the Trotsky/Stalin division though I am not sure whether that is the best way to describe that division. Others have taken away the utopian and there are those who have minimized Socialism's materialism while add to that its relational aspects such as seen in the promotion of various degrees of worker control at the workplace and in government. While some want to define socialism around a particular ideology, others focus on socialism as a practice. BTW, when the following revolves around materialism, we could easily say that socialism and capitalism are two sides of the same materialist coin. Both seek a relative or absolute utopia based on the distribution of goods.

And though I can't speak for liberals, conservatives, and nationalists because of how I saw socialism oversimplified, my suspicion is that liberals, conservatives, and nationalists might feel the same misrepresentation of their pet ideologies due to oversimplification that I experienced when read what was said in the above article about socialism.

There is one point I agree with article about though I will put that agreement in my own words. The more ideological we are, the more prone we are to make our political approach into an idol. And how idolatrous we are in our political ideologies can be measured not just in how it changes our relationship with and view of God, but in how we treat others as well. The more we demonize others and think of our own group as having everything to teach and nothing to learn from others, the more our political ideologies have become our idols.

BTW, the line above that says everything to teach and nothing to learn is adapted from a Martin Luther King Jr. line. And I mention that because as Ashford cites the author he is reviewing, David Koyzis, he replicates a King practice that is suggested, if not implied, by resisting the urge to make any political ideology into an idol. That is, as King noted, from comparing America's Capitalism with Russia's Communism, both had unique contributions to make and unique flaws to correct. Thus, we should work with all political ideologies to develop hybrids that emphasize the strengths of each ideology.

But something else has to be said to us religiously conservative Christians. We have to recognize that society is not the Church. And thus, we have evaluate how we should share society with others prior to working with those who adhere to other ideologies in shaping society. For the more we religiously conservative Christians presume a privileged place where we demand some degree of supremacy over others in determining society's laws and mores, the more we will appear to others as those who have made their pet political ideologies into idols appear to us. That is the more we will come across to unbelievers as those who have everything to teach and nothing to learn. In contrast to that, the more we strive to share society with unbelievers as equals, the more we will naturally exhibit the humility Ashford writes about at the end of his article.

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March 25

To Joseph Pearce and his blogpost about how he grew up as a racist but was converted and now sees some of the reactions against the traditions and beliefs of Western Civilization as being racist and, in some people, ethno-massochistic. This appeared in the Imaginative Conservative blog.

On the one hand, I respect the personal sharing Pearce did in this article. On the other hand, one doesn't have to be a White Supremacist to be a racist. Racism exists on a continuum. Though growing up in an all white neighborhood for most of my youth, I never became a "White Supremacist." But after reflecting on my college days, I realize that I was what I call a passive racist back then. It's not that I was an aggressive racist, but I had racist views stemming from ignorance and that governed how I interpreted and reacted to Black Americans at college. Hopefully I've fully corrected that but I have too much of a conflict of interest to objectively evaluate myself here.

And though we shouldn't believe that all White men were White Supremacists when looking at the history of Western Civilization, but that isn't the issue. We should realize that racism permeated the Western Civilization from its empires and colonialism to its practice of slavery and slave trading, to its ethnic cleansing of indigenous peoples from different lands, to its ethnocracy from the assumption of racial privilege which returns us to White Supremacy though such can be a softer version of White Supremacy than how we usually think of it..

However, we need to understand that what could be called an overreaction to the racism, which Pearce has noted, that is so much a part of almost every aspect of Western Civilization is not racist. Btw, I am calling the banning or burning of books or the total rejection of Western Civilization an overreaction. Rather, it is rooted in an all-or-nothing thinking approach to an outcome-based truth system that simply says if a belief system has produced any abusive behavior, then the belief system is totally false. This kind of reaction is what we see in phobias that are the result of suffering traumas rather than any ethno-masochism. For this kind of reaction is more directed at culture than race. So what we are seeing there is simply the foundation of Post Modernism with its rejection of historical metanarratives because of much of the fruit of those metanarratives. Thus, the supremacy sought in Post Modernism is found in its total rejection of and, by some, its attempts to cleanse ourselves of the metanarratives of Modernism and Pre Modernism rather than in any reactive racism.

And trying to tie racism to Marxism is done pejoratively here. Such is a set up for establishing the supremacy of one's non-Marxist traditions of thought while no specifics are provided to establish the alleged association. But where we do see supremacy showing its ugly face is when a group, whether that group is based on cultural identity, ideology, economic class, race, national identity, sexual orientation, religion, and so forth believes that it cannot afford to share society as equals with those who are different in a diverse society.

And this returns us to the beginning. Whereas Pearce has gone through quite a personal transformation that merits much respect, he seems to overstate his case about being cleansed from supremacist ways of thinking. But for that matter, who has been totally cleansed of all kinds of supremacist ways of thinking? We can find out by how willing we are to share society with others as equals. And we can only share society with others as equals when, using the phraseology of Martin Luther King Jr., we reject the notion that our own group has everything to teach others and have nothing to learn from them.

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To Devin Ryan and his blogpost claiming that it is time for Russia and the others to bury Lenin rather than allowing his body to still be displayed in the Kremlin. This burying of Lenin would cut all favorable associations with him. This appeared in the Acton Blog.

We need to realize that some conflicts consist of evil vs evil. Such was the case when Lenin and the Bolsheviks hijacked the Russian Revolution. The first Revolution saw a provisional government overthrow the Tsar at that time. The provisional government then failed because it followed the will of the capitalists who wanted Russia to continue to fight in WW I. It also saw the Capitalists as having control of the nation. Thus, the conditions that led to the February Revolution of 1917 continued and that led to the October Revolution. We should note that during Russia's pre-revolutionary times, the Church supported the Tsars and the status quo. Though I am unaware of who the Church supported during the reign of the Provisional Government, it opposed the Socialists. Now while Lenin denounced religion, other socialists, like Rosa Luxemburg, called on the Russian Church to support the Socialists for everyone's good.

At the same time, we should note that Socialists like Rosa Luxemburg denounced Lenin's regime calling it a bourgeoisie dictatorship. Others have said that he simply practiced his own version of how the Tsars ruled. Other Socialists were cleansed from the scene by a power hungry Lenin who felt threatened by diversity and dissent. His reach for power included disbanding the soviets and Russia's Constituent Assembly. Other Socialists supported his hijacking because of the Counter Revolution and the crises that followed the Revolution. In essence, those who hijacked the Revolution were Bolsheviks. And thus what we have here is a complex picture of Socialism rather than a simple one that serves as a basis for the pejorative use of the word 'socialism.'

What we saw in Stalin was Lenin-gone-wild while what we saw in Lenin was Stalin-lite.  In either case, there was no proletariat dictatorship that was essential to what Marx taught. So it would be difficult to claim that under Lenin or Stalin, Marxist Socialism failed since it wasn't practiced. It wasn't until you get to Gorbachev who, btw rejected Stalin but embraced what Lenin taught, that you begin to see the Socialist concern for democracy being put on display in Russia. Should note that while not practicing Socialism, Lenin still tended to espouse Socialist beliefs and some just rationalize his totalitarian rule because of the crises that Russia was experiencing back then.

But returning to Lenin, both the Church and Lenin were on the wrong side of history. The Church was on the wrong side because of its support of those with wealth and power, including support for the Tsar, prior to the Revolution. Lenin was on the wrong side of history as he replaced one dictatorship with another. Thus, if we are going to cut all sentimental ties to Lenin, which is why he would be buried, the same goes for the Tsars. The result of both burials would be that bolsheviks and many from the Russian Orthodox Church would be ideologically orphaned.


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March 27

To Joe Carter and his blogpost on the role of Christian journalism and how that is carried out at The Gospel Coalition. This appeared on the Gospel Coalition website.

The crux of many conflicts among Christians and between Christians and nonChristians is what is meant by a 'restoration of creation'? Does it mean that we start to impose Christian values and Church laws on society? And we should also look at the why of this restoration. Does that why revolve around us and the enjoyment of our new life?

Those are pertinent questions because we are sharing that creation with nonChristians. And what  happens when we overreach in that restoration of creation is that we start to use society as a supplemental disciplinary arm of the Church. We know from the Scriptures that unbelievers are not subject to Church discipline. But if we try too hard to assist God in restoring creation, won't unbelievers become obstacles and then we will try to use civil laws to remove those obstacles? And thus, we will be using society as a supplemental disciplinary arm of the Church on those who are not subject to Church discipline.

The most pertinent question that involves the third point of Keller's three-point outline is: How should we Christians share society with others? Does God want his people to claim a privileged place in society so we can enjoy places of supremacy in order for Him to use us to restore creation? Or should we share society with others as equals and work side by side with them in creating a society with equality and justice? In addition, based on that third point, must the world revolve around us Christians because we are God's people? Those are all pertinent questions for any Christian journalist or ministry because the answers to those questions will determine what is advocated and what is described by those doing Christian journalism.




Tuesday, March 28, 2017

What Makes Activism Work

We should note that within the last few months, activism has won twice and lost once in shifting government policies. The two wins are the cancellation of the TPP and the failure of the American Health Care Act to get off the ground. The loss has to do with renewing the construction of DAPL.

The TPP was activism's first victim. For while activism delayed the passing of the TPP before the election, Trump's election, which was partially the result of conservative populism,  sealed its doom here. But the TPP was not just in trouble in America, other nations started to back away as well (click here). Opposition to the TPP showed that individual issues can bring conservatives and nonconservatives together. I have seen this happen when I have taken the time to talk to counter-protesters at May Day celebrations, I've found that leftists, like myself, and some of the conservatives with whom I've spoken can sometimes agree on what our nation's problems are. Of course, our disagreement comes in what we believed were the solutions. But sharing recognition of the problems again shows that we conservatives and nonconservatives can find some common ground.

As for the Republican replacement of Obamacare, yes, we were told that the Ryan's replacement was dead on arrival. For many groups opposed the replacement though not for the same reasons. We know that some of that opposition was voiced in the angry townhall meetings that Republican legislators had to endure. These legislators saw the rage that people felt about the potential of losing the health insurance they gained through Obamacare. And while the problems caused by the ACA shows that it is not a permanent solution, certain parts, like the increased number of people who now have health insurance, could no longer be sacrificed according. 


Activism's loss mentioned above came with Trump's order to continue DAPL construction. For the protests against DAPL were not widespread enough and did not incorporate enough people to put sufficient pressure on the government. It did delay some of the construction when the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to do more extensive studies of the project. But with Trump's election came a presidential directive to approve the immediate continuation of the construction of the pipeline. BTW,  we should note here that our President is financially invested in the project.

With this current record, what we should note is that when enough of us make our voices heard, we can still make our government listen. We can still gain victories. Sometimes those victories are small and temporary while there are a few times when those victories decisive and final. The point here is that despite the increased authoritarian nature of our government, we can still put limits on it and change some of its policies. We just have to get enough people to speak as loud and as often as possible. One thing we can be sure of, though we might have a shortage of activists from time to time, there will be no shortage of issues to address during Trump's Presidency.





 

Monday, March 27, 2017

ONIM For March 27, 2017

If you are not sure about the validity of a news story linked to below, you can use mediabiasfactcheck.com to check out the credibility of the source of the story.


Christian News
 
World News
 
Protest News

Standing Rock Sioux--DAPL News
 
Pick(s) Of The Litter





Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Comments Which Conservatives Block From Their Blogs For March 15, 2017

March 10

To Brian Mattson and his blogpost review of a book by Ryszard Legato where liberal democracy and totalitarian communism are series as having many similarities including their opposition to Christianity. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

There are two things we should note here. First, that the author of the book cited, Ryszard Legutko, is an honest broker with no religious strings attached that would color his world view and thus affect how he perceives liberal democracy. Of course such is not the case. Lequtko is a Roman Catholic who opposed the legalization of homosexuality and who is currently being sued for his verbal attack on students who called for the removal of 'Christian symbols' from schools.
Second, as with Ayn Rand, it is very possible that Lequtko's view of the Communism/Socialism is a bit distorted since his only personal experience with the Left is Bolshevism. There are many Leftists who strongly opposed Bolshevism both back when it hijacked the  Russian Revolution and today. But Lequtko seems content to associate liberal democracy with its love of 'freedom, diversity, and tolerance' with the totalitarian communism seen in Bolshevism anyway.

So why tie liberal democracy to the totalitarianism of communism? Is it because both had legitimate gripes against Christianity so that their persecution of Christianity did not originate out of religious differences per say. Here we should note that Bolshevism persecuted the Church because the Church supported wealth and power prior to both the February and October Revolutions. We should note that not all on the Left opposed Christianity, but the Bolsheviks did. As for liberal democracy, we need to know the details of why it opposes Christianity. Let assume that, as some like Lequtko would advance, that America was founded on Christianity. We should first note that there was quite a bit of religious intolerance just between Christian denominations themselves. That intolerance finally ended when the Revolutionary War's demands for  manpower meant that the American churches could no longer remain too divided.

Then it was out of Christianity that people felt entitled to take land from the Native Americans resulting in ethnically cleansing  them from most of America. Then we saw that much of Christianity supported the subjugation of Blacks through slavery and then Jim Crow. And all through America's history we have seen how the American churches have worked to marginalize homosexuals first with criminalizing their practices so that homosexuals could be either executed or incarcerated on to allowing for the discrimination against homosexuals and opposing their equality in society.

It is the details of the diversity that both liberal democracy embraced and much of American Christianity opposed that perhaps sheds light on why Lequtko both would associate it with totalitarian Communism (Bolshevism) and would replace liberal democracy. Perhaps the term is ethnocracy would be the replacement. Ethnocracy refers to the rule of a specific group based on ethnic ties, race, language, national identity, or religion would exercise over the rest of a pluralistic nation using the democratic processes. For if diversity and freedom are our enemies because of their alleged similarities to totalitarian Communism, then some degree of conformity is the solution. And it appears that, according to Lequtko, Classical and Christian traditions would tell us how to conform. But how is it that insistence on conformity is not mentioned as being similar to totalitarian Communism while liberal democracy with its emphasis on diversity is? That, rather than what is attributed to Lequtko as a replacement for liberal democracy, is what requires further explanation in a sequel. And this would also add to why Lequtko said there was a justified fear of religion, which is rather paradoxical.

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March 11

To Joseph Sunde and his blogpost on “education liberation,” which is used to describe why we should support vouchers for school choice. This appeared in the Acton blog.

If we applied the school choice model to attending college, then each student who attended a for-profit college, a private college, or a religious college would receive from the state the same assistance that an instate student in a state college receives. Here we should note that what an instate student in a state college receives is hidden since states give money state schools to help finance these state schools.

We should also note that if we applied the college model to the school choice program, we would note that all private, charter, and religious schools would be responsible for providing assistance to students who could not afford to attend their schools.

Now here is the inconsistency. We wouldn't think of giving the same state money to any student who decided to attend for-profit, private, or religious college that is spent on in-state students at state schools. Why? To make that work, we would either have to raise taxes significantly to fund such a program or we would continue to spend less and less on each instate student attending a state school. And yet, we do not call for a college choice program where students who want to attend non-state schools are depicted as needing liberation through a freedom of choice for colleges. But knowing that public schools, some of which are already suffering from a lack of funds because of depleted tax bases, would receive less and less money because those attending non-public schools are taking public school funds with them as non-public schools are at least partially relieved from the responsibility of finding funding for some of their students. As a result, some public schools, which are basically community schools, will suffer deterioration. And if they collapse, there are not enough resources from the non-public school sector to pick up the slack. Then what happens to those students left behind?

The problem is that, just as in college, students are not prohibited from attending the primary and secondary schools of their choice. Therefore, school choice is not a freedom or liberation issue. It is a financial issue both in college and in primary and secondary education. But if we accommodate those who insist otherwise, we should note that enabling students to "escape" their community schools also becomes a student flight issue. And this points to one of the biggest problems with the school choice movement. For rather than addressing the problems and improving the communities in which under-performing schools are located, we are fleeing from problems. And the students that come from troubled communities only escape those communities during school hours. And then they are taught that success is achieved by leaving the community in which they grew up. This causes these communities to suffer further decay.

We have economic segregation in  our nation where the houses we move into often depend on the neighbors we can afford to live with. And that means we can completely wash our hands of the plights of the communities we didn't want to live in. What is called school choice further exhibits this segregation not in terms of the schools students can choose, but in terms of the plights of the community schools those students leave behind. What was called 'white flight' is an instance of the kind of flight we see resulting from the school choice movement. And those who are left behind eventually become more and more invisible to government and society. Since not all students can flee from their community schools, we should call the school choice plan with its claims of freedom and liberation a student-flight program because their communities are not worth our concern. And yet, with all of what is being said, we haven't really touched on why we have a school choice movement.


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March 13

To Collin Hansen and his blogpost review of Rod Dreher’s The Benedict Option where part of what is discussed is whether politics can save us. This appeared in the Gospel Coalition website.

From the review, it appears is that Dreher does not see the threat that wrong associations can be to the Gospel. For by stating that we live in a post-Christian culture, does he ever ask about what from the Christian culture is being rightly rejected? Fortunately Hansen identifies one problematic association: racism. Another one that is often overlooked is economic classism. This is sometimes missed because the predominant branch of the Church of certain places has often sided with wealth. This was true in the pre-revolutionary times of France, Russia, and Spain. And we should note that once the revolutions took place, the Gospel suffered dishonor because the Church had sided with wealth.

I'm afraid that aligning the Church behind Trump repeats this same mistake. For what has Trump done but to show himself an ally to wealth at the expense of eliminating more of business's social responsibilities than have done away with before. Think about the environment as we extract and use even more fossil fuels, dump fracking wastewater into the Gulf of Mexico, dump waste from coal mining into streams, or put a climate denier as head of the EPA. Or think about the new Republican healthcare plan and how it is projected that millions will lose their health insurance while insurance CEOs get tax breaks. Or think about how Trump's tax and spending plans, including cutting billion of dollars from HUD, continue to bankrupt the country. It is important that he wants to eliminate elective abortions performed by Planned Parenthood, but his other actions will be associated with the pro-life cause if we don't oppose him where he is wrong.

In these times, we need to both preserve the Christian faith while being able to interact with our culture. That includes being credible witnesses by acknowledging the past wrongs of the Church as well as being able to identify where the current culture is at least partially right. I don't see that happening under Dreher's Benedict Option. And if I am right, the pertinent question isn't regarding whether politics can save us. And even if we were to ask that question, we have to also ask save us from what? For apparently, having lost the culture war, some believe that politics could have saved us from that.


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March 14

To R. Scott Clark and his blogpost video that makes comparisons in an effort to claim that Christian business owners have the right to refuse providing services to same-sex functions. This appeared in Heidelblog.

For the businesses refusing to sell Ivanka's fashions is not an apples to apples comparison with a Christian business refusing to serve a same-sex wedding. For one thing, the business that refuses to sell Ivanka's fashions is determining what iventory they will have. And in the of Nordsrum when they refused to continue to carry Ivanka's fashions, it was because her products were not selling. So on two counts, the comparison is not an apples to apples comparison.

As for the Muslim singer having the right to refuse to sing in a church service, again, one must look for an apples to apples comparison if one wants to compare that with a Christian business refusing to serve a same-sex function. Does the Muslim singer provide his singing as a businessman who serves the general public? If not, there is no apples to apples comparison exists here between his/her refusal and a Christian business owner's refusal to do provide goods and services for the LGBT community or a same-sex function.

As for the Christian business owner who refuses to provide goods and services to a same-sex function because of their personal religious convictions, we must remember that the most apt comparison we can make with this is the Christian business owners who, because of their religious beliefs, refused to serve Blacks during Jim Crow days. Should White Christian business owners have the right to refuse to do business with Blacks for privately held religious reasons? See, here we have more of an apples to apples comparison with Christian business owners' rights to refuse to serve same-sex functions. Why? It is because in both cases, groups from individual consumers are being discriminated against because of their group identity. Allowing such discrimination means that certain kinds of groups of people can suffer partial or full depricvation of goods and services either in isolated locations or throughout the nation in  general.

See, the missing ingredient in all of the other examples compared with Christian business owners who refuse to provide goods and services to  same-sex functions is the relationship the consumer has with the business refusing a business transaction and the welfare of the group being denied. The way the questions were asked in the video focussed solely on the business owners' concerns; there was no expressed concern for what happens to the other party. And this is what dishonors the Gospel when Christian business owners refuse to provide goods and services to either the LGBT community in general or to same-sex functions. These business owners are only expressing concern for themselves; they are expressing no concern for what potentially can happen to the LGBT community. This is the kind of mistake that Christian business owners made when they refused to serve Blacks or served them in segregated fashion during Jim Crow.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Cain's Healthcare Approach


Perhaps nothing reveals more about the Republican plans for healthcare than Paul's Ryan's main criticism of Obamacare (click here for the source):
So take a look at this chart. The red slice here are what I would call people with preexisting conditions. People who have real health-care problems. The blue is the rest of the people in the individual market — that’s the market where people don’t get health insurance at their jobs where they buy it themselves. The whole idea of Obamacare is the people on the blue side pay for the people on the red side. The people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick.

The problem, according to Ryan is that healthy people are being made to pay for the healthcare of sick people by the Obamacare mandate. Even though, as it has been noted by others, this is the primary way insurance functions in that those who don't file claims pay for those who do, that is not the concern of this blogpost.

The basic concern of this blogpost is that in a highly interdependent society, an ideology that says we should only get what we pay for ourselves now serves as the foundation of our government's approach to social and safety net programs. That ideology is almost as old as the hills for it was first expressed by Cain when confronted by God on the whereabouts of his brother Abel. Cain rhetorically asked God: 'Am I my brother's keeper?' Of course, Cain challenged God with this question after he had murdered his brother. Paul Ryan's version of Cain's question is being asked prior to making one's brother more susceptible to dying. For Ryan's primary criticism of Obamacare is:

The whole idea of Obamacare is the people on the blue side pay for the people on the red side. The people who are healthy pay for the people who are sick.

Consistent with Ryan's above statement is the fact that his healthcare plan gives tax relief to the wealthiest whose taxes were being used to help provide coverage for those who could not afford it while it threatens to millions of people the loss of their healthcare insurance. But we should also note that Ryan's healthcare plan goes beyond protecting the wealthy from having to pay for the poor. For his healthcare plan also includes tax breaks for insurance CEOs.

We should also note that this washing of one's hands of providing for the less fortunate will not be restricted to healthcare alone. Corporate taxes and regulations will be slashed so that, in our highly interdependent society, laws will be written to restrict our access to resources other than own in the name of being financially responsible. This puts the poor and seniors at greater and greater risk. 

But we should also note the basic value system being instituted here. That value system says that we should have more attachment to our abundance than we have solidarity with those in need. That lesson is one that has been fed to middle class conservatives as they have been taught to obsess over the poor have been benefiting from tax dollar funded programs. And, thanks to this last election, it is now the turn of the rich to say the same to the rest of society. For we are facing massive tax cuts for the rich in addition to those provided by Ryan's healthcare while government programs will be forged in ways that benefit the rich financially such as increases in military spending.

What we are witnessing is an Atlas Shrugged hijacking of our government. And though it isn't the case that past government policies did not further enrich the wealthy, it is that the social responsibilities of those with wealth have to the society in which they became so prosperous are now being eradicated at a faster and faster pace while many of the rich exhibit the same resentment towards society which middle class conservatives were taught to have toward the poor. 


From a citizen's point of view, it seems that the only Americans who are taught to sacrifice for their fellow countrymen are those in the military. And while conservatives relish in praising our troops for making physical sacrifices for their countrymen, when it comes to paying taxes to help fellow countrymen in need including many veterans, these same conservatives adamantly condemn the call to sacrifice. This is nothing more than a vicarious patriotism. It is under those circumstances that conservatives, like Paul Ryan, tell us that each of us should sing 'I am an island' as our national anthem.

Again, Cain uttered his question having killed his brother. How many people, fellow Americans if you must, have to die because too many of us are rhetorically asking Cain's question?






References
  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/03/09/either-paul-ryan-doesnt-understand-insurance-or-you-dont-understand-paul-ryan/?utm_term=.eb941f130146

Monday, March 13, 2017

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