March 29, 2012

Dear GOP--I am working on not caring

As a new conservative I am trying to adjust to not caring about others--you know, those without insurance, or immigrants, or women who need contraceptives, etc?  I get part of it.  After all, if you were stupid enough to be born poor or female, you kind of asked for this, right?  And it isn't my fault, so why are you asking me to spend my hard-earned dollars to help you? (how is that?)

But my problem is then making that pivot back to caring about a fertilized egg.  That is a hard one. After all, if I don't care about the egg's future healthcare needs, or that egg's future family's healthcare or nutritional needs, why do I care about the egg again?

I am sure there is some trick here--some way of forcing cognitive dissonance that I am missing.  I hope you will advise.


PS, once I have turned off the caring about my neighbors and friends, can I ever turn it back on?


leighton said...

Just remember, principles are more important than people. That's where your loyalty lies - it's more important to Do The Right Thing (TM) than to help undeserving people navigate a complicated maze of difficult decisions that are only before them because of something they must have surely done wrong.

Regarding the last point, I'm sure you have plenty to occupy your time to prevent you from rereading the book of Job. Remember too that assertions about the Bible are more important than the assertions in the Bible. It's authoritative, infallible, inerrant, and several other positive adjectives, and it's more important to seek a unified Church that will affirm those fundamental truths than risk alienating the weaker brother or even schism by trying to figure out whether Jesus actually meant for us to love our enemies. Theological minutae like that unnecessarily divide us.

Eric S said...

Dear Streak,

We are glad to have you in our ranks, welcome. There is a critical mass of philosophical thinking beneath which it is very hard to reconstruct but it is not quite gone entirely. By joining GOP you have placed yourself in reach of rebuilding the foundations. First, set the issue of caring aside for a moment we can return to that.

There has been a discussion about income tax returns recently in the news. In the most recent releases we observe that men like Mitt Romney consistently over long years give large percentages of their incomes in charitable contributions where men like Joe Biden give almost nothing.

What about defenseless immigrants that might be deported? Jobs that would go to legal immigrants are going in very large numbers to illegal immigrants. It turns out that illegal immigrants are in a poor negotiating position to be protected by wage laws for example.

So how do we defend this silly position on health care? Managers and business people only have so many hours in the day. If there is a giant mountain of money to mine then most of their time must be spent mining that mountain of money, which sadly leaves little time to think about reducing costs to their customers, who are patients. Most businesses don’t suffer this difficulty. For health care, being able to take ever increasing percentages of the GDP, as it turns out in the end, is unhelpful, as hard as that may be to believe. Early indications suggest that we will not be able to exceed 100% GDP in the long run for health care.

So what is the common thread that ties all this together? It gets to the last issue, about life. If we are created by God with rights as the Declaration of Independence says, is that an objective of the Creator or an artifact of something else? It turns out if you have time to unwind it [a book called the Bible is helpful on this point] the best way to care for all of us is to give us something called an instinct for self-preservation, then the preservation of family, then church , then our neighbors, and so on.

By giving His creatures this gift He can bless his creatures in the greatest possible way with the highest likelihood of success. So why doesn’t this always work? Because competing ideas of utopianism prevent the very activity that is installed in the system by the Creator by design. A very subtle change is made in this idea. The preservation notion is moved from the part that God created, the self, to the part that men made the collective. Unfortunately, the problems of the collective are very tangentially related to any of the “selves” that run it. For this reason collectives tend to be very badly managed even by the most brilliant people.

The last point is that “selves” have to get to the point were they can participate in this plan, which means that all have to be protected equally. That should be a start. Welcome again!


Streak said...

To paraphrase Princess Bride, I don't think the Bible says what you think it says.

Eric S said...

The critical passage reads, “thou shalt not steal.” From this we surmise that there is a notion of ownership. When we recognize ownership, we can ask, how does this happen without stealing? From there we can infer the value of time and effort in voluntary exchange for other kinds of ownership. Another critical passage comes to mind, “a workman is worth his wages.”

Infer the relationship of needs to things that fulfill those needs. Infer self-preservation and the preservation of others. “Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”

The key driver becomes the relationship of self-preservation to critical thinking and critical action and economic intelligence. If you want to apply the greatest ratio of brain power to the allocation of resources, no better mechanism than this could be conceived.

Streak said...

Ah, two passages. Wow, you convinced me. I will ignore everything Jesus said about wealth, and the poor and the needy--and will ignore what the OT even says about the immigrant and the alien.

Except I can't ignore all that stuff. And I genuinely care about the people who are run over by capitalism, and by life.

But I do appreciate the heartlessness here. Instead of "when you did it not to the least of these, you did it not to me," it is paraphrasing another historical figure and "let them have self-preservation. If they don't, they will die."

Streak said...

BTW, as a liberal, I have no problem with private property. Not sure I know any liberals who do. Same goes for abiding by contracts. But to suggest somehow that unregulated or poorly regulated capitalism operates by some Biblical rule book simply denies reality and denies history.