Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Yes Yes Yes

The Answer Guy, Tim, has an excellent post up, nearly essay-length, arguing for socialised medicine.

Note that its tone is not ideological but rather wholly pragmatic. It is a moral appeal but moreover, a reasoned and practical one as well. It confirms what I've thought for a long time: that the Hard Left has the moral as well as "substantive" high ground on this issue, yet it has not been able to make any progress on it since Clinton's failed intiative in the early 90s.

Our (I'm with Tim) great obstacle is not something as concrete as Clintons, something like the lobbying power of the AMA; the obstacle is the hegemonic and pervasive cult of ideology of the Neo-Right, the "conventional wisdom" that government can do nothing right, that the private sector is always superior as a rule. Eyes glaze when Leftists point to Canada and Western Europe as worthy models on this issue.

I suggest a new mode of attack. The Right has always attacked socialised medicine as a representation of the "lost cause" of socialism, the point ostensibly being that government control of such a sector is merely the reinstitution in practice of a discredited ideology. This is powerful because most Americans wrongly equate socialism with communism, and with regard to Western Europe either conflate the two isms or ignore the fact of social democracy altogether. I suggest that we argue then on practical grounds, as Tim does, but compound this with an attack on the Rightist ideology which supports the status quo. In short, WE are not the ideologues, THEY are, and speaking of failed ideology, read your history books on late 19th century America.

There must be some kind of Jungian race-memory that remains which will register the horrible times of the Gilded Age, when laissez-faire reigned. This is proof of THEIR ideolgical failure; THEIR cause deserves the wastebasket of history as much as anyone's. So let's argue the merits of socialised medicine on practical criteria, and may the best arguement win (which ours will).

With the failure of the ideological war in Iraq, the zeitgeist intensely favours pragmatism. Now is the time for the Left to be very very bold to thoroughly annihilate the anti-New Deal mentality that has strangled the country for 30 years.