I’ve been thinking about morality quite a bit based on my fascination with all things conservative.
Morality is key to the conservative movement. They claim ownership of it while painting the left as anything from morally suspect to dangerously insane (liberalism is a mental disorder for example).
And we on the left have largely ceded this argument while trying to win just enough elections to stay in power.
But that, imho, was the wrong tact. We too are moral people. We are the movement of the bleeding heart after all.
It is becoming increasing important to reassert the morality of the left as the wealth of the wealthiest country in the world increasingly becomes focused into the hands of a powerful few. Remember, our government by design has very few means of actually re-distributing wealth (as opposed to income) from the wealthy to the masses and most of us would agree this is generally a good thing.
But there is a problem with this construction in an economic system that allows for two types of relatively unregulated income – income from labor and income from capital. If an individual has access to both – income from extant wealth as well as income from her labor – then there exists a fundamental problem, which if not addressed will only exacerbate the situation we have today furthering the distance between the haves [ Capital?-Yes! 🙂 ] and have-nots [ Capital?-No. 😦 ].
Is there a more fundamental expression of the inability of our current political system to address this problem than the actions of a Republican hegemony in our 3 branches of federal government?
As conservatives would frame it the plan, which will result in tens of millions of individuals losing subsidized health insurance and thus access to preventative medical care, is moral because it allows for access via individual choice with lower premiums. The number of uninsured which will result from the Republican health plan in their view will remain the responsibility of those people who did not purchase the affordable (if not entirely comprehensive) health insurance. To add insult to injury, the Republicans will not even take responsibility for “cutting” Medicaid. They wish to keep the moral high ground by arguing that they are not making cuts to Medicaid, only reducing future growth.
All of this is baloney. The bottom line is the one we’ve been hearing in the past 8 years. This isn’t about repairing or replacing Obamacare, it is about repealing Obamacare. It is about destroying any attempt at providing a collective answer to what is a problem of our commons – health care.
Our broken economic system which is designed to allow for winners and losers (based, on individual choice AND on luck, and one’s ethics, etc.) is facing a defining test and we cannot blame this solely on President Trump or on Republicans.
This is on us as a people and as individuals. We need to do what we can to take back the story about who we are. That story has to focus much more on the good and less on the evil. It has to focus much more on what is right and less on what is wrong. We have to be more proactive and less reactive.
In short we have to take back the cause of a collective morality instead of one that is focused almost entirely on an individualistic morality. The fundamental problem with focusing all our attention on our own righteousness is we lose track of those problems that can only be fixed by collective actions.
And that is what government is about. It’s not about solely protecting individual rights from governmental action, it’s also about taking affirmative actions based on decisions of elected representatives and making sure that institutions within it’s purview do not take collective action that harm the livelihood or interests of citizens.
Right now, those with money have not only the power of their wealth, but via the modern Republican Party they also have the power of the institution which should protect people from an out-of-control economic system. This is as much a moral issue as a political issue and it has never been as clearly defined as our current health care debate.
FF: (forgiveness factor) = high. Again, quick opinion before work.
more social media on the political dichotomy of morals:
I Don’t Know How To Explain To You That You Should Care About Other People (Kayla Chadwick | Huffington Post | June 26, 2017)
Conservative Reaction (via Cato-employed conservative legal scholar). (Think “liberal morality is a mental disorder”)
More on American morality and the culture war in real time via a tweet-storm from historian Jonathan Wilson.