Sunday, July 26, 2009

Don't throw the Baby out with the bathwater...

The political Right has failed to understand and thus explain the fundamental moral high ground it actually holds. I believe this is due in large part to a misunderstanding of the idea of sacrifice within a Christian or generally religious context. True Christian sacrifice is NOT the trading of everything for nothing, but this is the effectual understanding which has been allowed to stand, unspoken, unchallenged. The 'right' view is to see sacrifice as an INDIVIDUAL choice in pursuit of another human's value based on the conviction that each individual is an end in him or herself (just as we understand God to view each of us). The left's unchallenged, bent view makes sacrifice the submission of each individual's status as an end in him/herself, to the group as a whole. This is exactly as absurd as trying to fornicate your way to chastity. The right has NOT done a good job clarifying this evil ideology, and providing the clear correct alternative for the past 100 years. Instead, we hear supposed defenders of the right submitting to the left's basic philosophic premise and then trying in vain to construct a right structure with an inconsistent foundation. If I hear that "socialism is great in theory but not in practice" one more time from a supposed right winger, I will dive through my TV set and choke the foolish windbag. All collectivist ideology, socialism included, is evil and awful in THEORY, which is WHY it fails in practice. Is it any wonder our youth often side with the left, when we spout such contradictions? We HAVE the right ethical base, but we do not understand it nor teach it, then wonder why our state indoctrinated children can not defend the right principles with conviction and moral certainty.
Ayn Rand got this basic philosophic correction right, and was one of the few in the past 100 years to consistently point out the Right's failure to properly identify it's superior moral basis. Unfortunately, Rand succumbed to emotionalism when she addressed the influence of Christianity and religion in general. She threw out all religion as non-objective irrationalism instead of simply correcting the error that the religious and especially the bulk of Christians make about sacrifice. The common error Christian's make concerns the atonement, which many explain as the satisfaction of all righteousness by the sacrifice of the perfectly good (Christ) for the sake of evil, the utterly lost (man). This misunderstanding, among other things, leads to an attempt to model these wrong ideas in the economic arena with the sacrifice of the producer (individual property rights) for the sake of the vague 'group,' - society. This, of course, leads to the sacrifice of EVERYTHING, for Nothing. Of course, this is NOT what God did in Christ. Rather, when we realize that the cessation of God's existence (annihilation) would mean the cessation of all existence, we can see that He extended Himself (in Christ) as far as would not negate the value which He pursued - that value (to Him) being *us* - treated as ends in ourselves individually. Missing this correction of confused Christian sacrifice is a main road by which the young, the uncritical, or those new to political or economic thought stumble into the self defeating 'morality' of collectivism (socialism). These folk have a notion that "everybody ought to be OK, and, you know, have stuff,' and a vague idea (due to the popular misconception) that self-sacrifice is the criterion for an action's ethical merit, and the next thing you know they're shouting, "rise up proletariat!" with Marx, and voting for socialists.
The opposite error is to, like Rand, ignore Christianity and religion entirely due to an emotional response to the ugliness collectivism generates in practice. The false premise to which Rand fell prey was that Christianity and religion 'must' contain the morality of self immolation, of bleeding individuals for the imaginary 'common good.' Rand's tossing of the Baby (Christ) out with the bathwater (the incorrect interpretation of Christian sacrifice) did terrible damage to the public acceptance of her philosophy and tremendous political damage to the Right. Christians nod enthusiastically with Rand as she logically destroys the Left's philosophical base, but draw back violently when she pitches all religion because of this simple error. So, the Christians remain conflicted - valiantly defending individualism in the economic arena because they see the ugliness and evil of collectivism applied there, but then grunting and gesticulating helplessly when asked to reconcile this view with the 'popular' flawed understanding of Christian sacrifice . It is so sad, because the Right was never so close to embracing a clear and CONSISTENT philosophical base. The effect of this error about sacrifice has had unfathomable effects on this nation's and the world's history.
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If we receive Christ with true understanding, we can, among many more important things, confidently proclaim our consistent support of individual rights, an objective philosophy, and a rational system of ethics.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Universal Slavery

We all want people who need health care to get care, just as we all want the hungry fed, etc.
In accomplishing this, however, it is immoral to revoke another human's right to the product of his mental and physical effort - his property.
It is evil to steal from Bob and give to Jane, and this will always be the case, even if Bob is rich and Jane poor.
(This may not have been true in the case of a rich feudal lord or monarch whose wealth came by forcible economic rape of the people, BUT, in American capitalism, wealth is CREATED by the producer of value through mental or physical effort. The value is in the created good or service. Men voluntarily trade monetary markers of value for that CREATED value. Except for those rich who became so and thrive by lobbying (bribing) the government to favor their company/interests with legislation, regulation, or the competition stifling tax code --- except for those evil parasites --- wealth in America is NOT come by through the oppression of others, but through the creation of value. Many have never understood this, and still talk as if all wealth came to be through a manner of theft.)

There are many many practical 'system' reasons that the stealing from Bob to pay for Jane's health care is wrong, and many reasons drawn from the poor results such stealing yields, but the bottom line - the real reason is that Bob has a right to life which includes a right to dispose of the product of his work and mental effort as he sees fit. To deny him this right to dispose of his effort is to deny him the right to support his life. There is no such thing as 'partially' destroying a right.
So, you can not create some new medical right (which is an economic "right" by the way) without negating the right to property, and thus the right to life. This is true of any so called economic 'right.' If someone receives without working, then someone has worked without receiving. If that ' work without receiving' was not voluntary, that man or woman is a slave. This is wrong. It is to bleed dry the life from the healthy for the sake of the dying.

This is true in all economic endeavors that place the so called interests of the tribe or the group or "society" above the RIGHTS of the individual. It is just more ugly and absurd to do so in the health arena.

We see the sick baby without medical insurance, and say - "wouldn't we ALL give some of our wealth to help her? *shouldn't* we all do so?" The answer is likely yes for most, and it *should* be done through voluntary giving. The moment we try to use the power of the government (the legalized force of a gun at base) to force *all* to give, we have destroyed the right to property, to life. Though we envision such heart wrenching sights as the sick child, we should not forget that the more common reality in universal health care is the stealing of money from the average family or average income worker to pay for the astronomical health care costs of the millions who choose to smoke, drink, drug, or eat themselves to ill health and death. Much more common will be the loss of some struggling family's small vacation (through the certain higher taxes which will be required) to pay for an obese heroin addict's methadone clinic and eventual liver transplant. There are countless such ugly real scenarios which this sort of legislation WILL create.

I am a physician in socialized medicine - the military health care system. The bureaucracy is astounding and the best and brightest physicians are fleeing the system. The 'weeds,' those angling only for promotion, those playing politics, the bean counters, the 'regulators,' all thrive in this system. Those men/women honestly attempting to most efficiently and effectively provide medical care, die in such an environment. They leave. They become fed up and go practice elsewhere. What, when there is no elsewhere?


Friday, July 10, 2009

Giving Back

Wrong headed liberal / collectivist ideology is frighteningly pervasive, often in forms in which it is unlikely the people involved are even aware of their infection.
As I was watching the latest professional golf tournament, I counted at least a dozen instances in which the announcers used a phrase with subtle, skewed implications. In reference to several PGA professionals' impressive charity work, the announcers referred to the activity as "giving back." As a paraphrase, they would say, "It really is impressive, Jim, how David Toms has taken the time and made the effort to give back." Or, "you can really see that these guys think that 'giving back' is really important."
It is not sufficiently tempting to simply write this off as benign happenstance of word choice. There are too many more obvious, and more longstanding phrases to describe the charity which these pros are performing. They are *giving.* They are NOT giving *back*.
Giving "back" implies that the property they are giving to the various groups was somehow once 'taken' from those groups in some sense. This is the evil idea propagated (sometimes knowingly, sometimes not) by liberals / collectivists for over a century.
When those who have property or wealth have come by it by looting or parasitizing his fellow man as in feudalism, tribalism, socialism, fascism, or communism, then, yes, for such a wealthy man to give to another in need could be considered 'giving back.' But in a free politico-economic capitalistic system, wealth is CREATED by individuals who think and exert themselves to provide a product or service which is DEMANDED by the freely choosing people who make up the market as a whole. The method by which a man in this system becomes wealthy is the moral 'day' compared to the moral 'night' of the listed collectivist systems. It makes all the difference in the world. A wealthy man within capitalism has created the good, the wealth. The market did not create it. The purchasers did not create it. The PRODUCER created. The others recognized the objective worth of his creation and freely traded value for value. **NOTHING** is 'owed' to those who sought and traded for the valuable good or service that the wealthy man created. NOTHING.
So to say that he is "giving back" is tantamount to saying that, like the despots, like the tyrannical mob of socialism, or like the feudal lord, the honest producer has in some sense 'bled' the public of that which was or could or should have been "theirs," and that now we can benevolently nod approval that the wealthy man is somehow doing his just penance and returning some of the good life that he 'took' from them by 'giving back.' This is evil. Though subtle, it is as great a wrong as can be committed. It is the calling the good, evil, and the evil, good. It perpetuates the uncritical ingraining of an evil idea into the vernacular. It furthers the continued unthinking acceptance of the idea that all wealth is generated by a manner of theft, and that therefore rightful claim to wealth is only with those who earned or created NOTHING.

It is good to expose the absurdity of this evil ideology.