Nelson Amendment Fails

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

A small bit of news has me pondering cultural activism at the one-on-one level...

The Senate debate on physician slavery continues, yesterday's events possibly setting one pressure group, anti-abortionists, against the bill.

The Senate narrowly rejected an amendment that would have restricted abortion coverage in the pending health-care bill, leaving in question whether Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) has the 60 votes needed to move the bill toward final passage.
This is what passes for good news in the barely-civil free-for-all that is pressure group warfare over loot stolen from productive men by a government turned against them. Anti-abortionists, most notably Roman Catholic bishops, who would otherwise support the bill, have said that they will not support a bill that provides tax money for abortions.

In being on the right side of this debate for the wrong reason, the anti-abortionists accidentally allude to a valid point. The real motive of the stance is, of course, abhorrent: The establishment of a theocratic welfare state. Nevertheless, I would hardly be surprised if some people with a mixture of philosophical premises that included many elements of individualism might sympathize with the stand (regardless of their personal views on abortion) for a reason on the order of, "Why should they -- or anyone else -- be forced to pay money for something to which they are morally opposed?" After all, this stand has to be premised in part on religious freedom, which stems from freedom of conscience.

Only in that context could I possibly sympathize with such a stand, and only if, after I indicate that I oppose being forced to put my money where the mouths of the altruists are, he concedes that I have a good point. "Indeed. Nobody should be forced to pay for someone else's abortion or perform one against his will, but I take things further: I oppose the idea that I should be forced to cover any of your medical expenses, or you mine. Should I be forced to pay for socialized medicine any more than a Catholic should be forced to participate in an abortion?"

I suspect that I will more likely get a nod of agreement, or at least provoke thought, from someone who sees abortion as a matter best left to the individual, at least on the political level.

The bishops oppose government funding only for some things, but they do not oppose it in principle. This inconsistency, necessitated by the war on reality that is their moral code, opens them up to inconvenient questions any time it comes up in the guise of them superficially agreeing with me. All one has to do is ask two questions ("Why do they want X? Why do I want X?), compare the answers, and then look for a chance to call their inherent bluff. Often, the context they have just dropped will supply such a chance.

This possibly convenient obstruction to efforts to establish physician slavery can only buy time. Use it wisely.

-- CAV


Steve D said...

That’s too bad. I had this idea that a bunch of different pressure groups that could not agree on the precise method by which the population should be enslaved decided that freedom would be a convenient stop gap measure while they settled their differences. Then later perhaps they found that for some reason the people did not want to give up their newfound freedom.

Of course in reality that would never happen for long and not just due to chance. A lot of people seem to have this ‘anything but freedom’ attitude in which they would rather permit their opponents to win rather than risk allowing people some freedom to breath. The Catholic bishops might decide to support the bill with the abortion provision in order to enslave the population. Then later when government funding was the only way to get an abortion they could work to get that abolished thus cementing their control.

Although democracy is mob rule it seems it still may be somewhat safer for the individual than dictatorship. After all decreeing a violation of your rights is much easier and more convenient than getting several hundred people together to consistently vote for a violation of your rights, especially if they all have different ideas about which rights should be violated first. Kind of like two thieves who get into a fight about what to steal from your house first, not noticing the homeowner has come back while they were arguing.

The biggest problem I have is that most people today can’t even comprehend the idea of freedom. They seem to be impressed only by practical arguments. Look at the newspapers. The main issues when discussing the health care reform, global warming or the like is the cost. If in fact the health care bill is defeated the main reason will be nervousness about the cost. Then the next time they try it (and there will be a next time) the politicians will wait and try to implement it when the economy is in good shape.

I don’t like the chances. Every time government health care is defeated they get to try again. All they need to do is get it passed, once.

Gus Van Horn said...

"The biggest problem I have is that most people today can’t even comprehend the idea of freedom. They seem to be impressed only by practical arguments."

That's a direct result of pragmatism, given surface plausibility by how crippled (and thus ineffective) it makes minds, the latter helped along with the many ways statism makes one's rational efforts moot.

It is sometimes hard to argue convincingly for the value of freedom in modern circumstances, and yet this is what we have to do.

Mo said...

I have to say though I don't feel sorry for the population. When you call people with principles "dogmatic" and "extremists" and parade on with your pragmatism you get what you deserve.

Gus Van Horn said...


Sure, with more explicit pragmatists, I'm with you.

But many more people are passive victims of the prevalence of pragmatism in the culture. While I think they should be less passive about ideas, their predicament isn't entirely their fault.


Mo said...

some are made passive victims by the state e.g. welfare and the under-class while others are apathetic and perhaps some are indeed victims of the rampant pragmatism. No matter though, history was changed by a minority of men.

Gus Van Horn said...


Steve D said...

I agree but it still always surprises me that people are so willing to allow other people tell them what to do. I would have expected a stronger emotional response against this. I understand the value of freedom but I like to make my own decisions as well. I see how my 8 yr old son dislikes being told what to do as well.
When I bring freedom into the argument with most people, I seldom get any sort of agreement or disagreement. They quickly change the subject to the more practical considerations as if my words had not been spoken.

Gus Van Horn said...

That may be pragmatism, too. You're "one of those nuts" with principles.