Wed Oct, 17 2007
Ethics: Keeping Tabs
(reader Harvey, languishing in my mail, like just about everybody...)
> The Bawlmer Sun had a front page article
> on the "right-wing smear campaign" against
> the Frosts.
> Let's see if you gag at the same places I
> did. Love how other peoples' "needs"
> become our fiscal responsibility.
I can't even get started on this stuff without blowing chunks all over the walls.
One horribly fascinating thing to me is how they won't see the necessary dynamic of values-scrutiny at the cannibal-pot: when everything belongs to everybody by herd acclamation, then every spoonful from the pot will require herd approval. It's only natural that beneficiaries' cases will be called to question when "need" is a standard of "distribution" (a term that I loathe for its completely amoral economic precision).
And, yes: I suppose it's a terrific indignity to have one's intimate affairs combed-over so finely right in front of everybody, but this is necessarily implicit in the basic lefties' claim that everything belongs to everybody, which is really what it is. (This fact is in the arbitrary nature of the claim of "need": there is no objective principle by which to draw that line; it can go anywhere.) SCHIP proponents have no moral leg to stand on in complaining about what they're calling "attacks" on this family. They're the ones who held these people up as an example of "need", and everybody else standing around the pot has just as much right to challenge the claim.
Here's what I don't see enough people paying attention to: what this does to the temper of the culture. Of natural course, as ideas like this >cough< "progress", people become meaner and more prone to bite. You can easily imagine the cannibal-pot metaphor in real life, with a fairly small number of people, but the thing is that the principles driving that behavior do not change when scaled to the dimensions of a whole nation. People sometimes talk about "the coarsening of the culture". What's happening is exactly that vicious cannibal-pot dynamic, but over longer periods of time and in more diffuse ways, so that succeeding generations know less about the principles and/or practice of another way of life.
"I can't afford to care. This government has priced me out of the market."
That is the nut-shell of a real ethical price that government action like this is going to cost. We're breeding the natural benevolence of our forefathers right out of the American scene, and the hue & cry over the Frost family is just a news-cycle trailer for what will replace it, at large.
So, there you go. There's a cheery thought for you.