Dear Diary 

Conservatism and universal healthcare

The classic conservative approach was essentially deep, pessimistic pragmatism, but today's GOP had abandoned pragmatism in favor of reactionary, rationalistic radicalism. That's the fundamental distinction -- classic conservatism was anti-rationalistic, it distrusted theoretical constructs and grand overarching narratives, it was all about pragmatic, contextual response to a specific time and place; while today's conservatism is deeply rationalistic, albeit in a reactionary manner, pining to re-create the imaginary utopian past.

Classic conservatism was about distrust of change, the distrust of rationalistic dreamers who think they know what's best for everyone; as Buckley had said, 'A conservative is someone who stands athwart history, yelling Stop'. A conservative is NOT someone who wants to radically remake the nation, returning to an imaginary past state while still inescapably mired in the present time and circumstance. And yet the restoration of the imaginary utopian past America is a red thread that runs though the right wing of american politics. Different right-wing thinkers place this american utopia in different points in our history (80ies? 50ies? roaring 20ies? Gilded Age? Wild West? Revolutoin?}, but the pining for the lost Eden, rather than pragmatically dealing with today's realities, is a common thread of modern 'conservatism'.

For instance, consider the question of universal healthcare.

For a conservative, being the FIRST to try universal healthcare would be anathema. What do you mean, some egghead claims that universal healthcare will do better? The best-laid plans fail all the time, just because someone can show that it's gonna be better on paper, doesn't mean that's how it's gonna happen in real life.

But once the rest of the developed world has tried out universal healthcare, and proven that it works, and works BETTER than our frankensteinian system, a conservative must inevitably concede that yup, it works, and works well; and given the astronomical healthcare costs in our country, we should move towards universal healthcare.

What do you see today's conreps propose? Radical theories about how to avoid universal healthcare, while still cutting costs and improving results; radical theories hatched by eggheads in think tanks.

That's not conservatism; that's nowhere near.

Their reaction to universal healthcare is a pretty decent test of classic conservatism, IMO. Any actual conservative, in the classical sense, given the vast array of evidence available from all around the world, should concede the need for some sort of universal healthcare system, preferably modeled after the best other countries have to offer (that would probably be France BTW). In contract, a reactionary radical will have a pre-determined goal in mind (keeping the broken 'market' health insurance system) and propose radical new measures that can supposedly fix what's broken.

06:41:42 on 04/24/15 by danilche - Category: General


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