Friday, March 10, 2006

Towards A Humane Society

The latest talking head rap on the Democrats is that while they have plenty of individual issues they lack a grand theme or unifying vision that will play as well in Illinois as it does in Georgia. Slogans have done this in the past. We’ve had The New Deal, The Fair Deal and The Great Society.

Exactly what these slogans might mean has always been a tad vague until you looked carefully at the legislation that Democratic legislatures and Congresses enacted. Do that and you see that what seems common to those legislatures and that legislation is the desire to promote a Humane Society.

A humane society is one in which individuals are enabled to reach their fullest potential in an open society. Think of all the social legislation to protect and enfranchise the unprotected and disenfranchised…labor legislation, voting rights, health and welfare legislation, social security, fair housing legislation, veteran’s benefits…the list goes on and on.

To say that there is no unifying Democratic vision is absurd. You have only to look at over 70 years of legislation that characterizes the Democratic agenda. Common to all of it is the notion that intelligently crafted legislation is the way we exercise our moral obligations to our fellow citizens; to guarantee to them the virtues of an open society.

The difference between Republicans and Democrats is not revealed in disagreements about some particular piece of legislation, but in their permanent dispositions to choose types of solutions to social problems.

Republicans are as skeptical about the value of government as the old philosophical anarchists…and isn’t that odd? Democrats, for all the accusations about ‘bleeding hearts’ seem to stand with Hobbes, sadly recognizing that in the state of nature a life without government would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”

If the talking heads think the Democrats have no “vision” they should simply look at the record.


cc burro said...

Well said!!

Though, after having recently read the sections on Mexican politics/government in "The Mexicans: A Personal Portrait of a People" by Patrick Oster, I would insert the words--COMPETENT/HONEST/GIVE-A-SHIT-ABOUT-THE-WELFARE-OF-THE-PEOPLE prior to "government".

Also, this applies to our government--particularly the present custodians.

Karen Armstead said...

Maybe the real question is why Democrats, at least in Washington, aren't taking their own historic vision and legacy seriously: why aren't they championing single-payer healthcare and real election reform with all their might, mind, and fury?

They seem so anemic.

cc burro said...

Re reform--No half-assed reforms.

Re single-payer health plan--before Congress/the DEMs can do this, they need to figure out how to pay for it--given that we presently are running a $300-$400 billion dollar annual deficit and have an $8+ trillion debt. The DEMs must have the ingenuity and the GUTS to say how they are going to deal with the deficit and BE the fiscally-responsible party that we say we are [and the REPs are not].

Karen Armstead said...

Re HR 676, the federal single-payer initiative, the plan would streamline federal administrative costs enormously, ultimately costing American taxpayers much less than the current for-profit-insurance/Medicaid/Medicare hocus-pocus.

Guess what? Few in congress take HR 676 seriously, calling it "unrealistic," because they're actually in the pocket of the insurance lobby.

cc burro said...

Thanks for the reference--I'll look it up.

There would still be the cost of bringing into a federal program all of the uninsured.

Karen Armstead said...

I don't know about studies of HR 676, in particular. But the single-payer concept in general has been extensively studied, here in California, by the nonpartisan Lewin Group, also in other states, by Harvard and other organizations. Study after study has shown a dramatic overall savings to taxpayers, relative to current healthcare costs, by abolishing for-profit insurance. You know there are currently 3,000 private insurance plans in the US and 69 government programs, each with its own bureaucracy? I can't resist also pointing out that the for-profit insurers must EMPLOY many full-time bureaucrats, e.g., medical underwriters, to figure out how to deprive people of coverage. It's nuts! You eliminate so much waste by having the government as the one payer, with the bargaining clout to lower drug prices and your fraud protections built right in.

This issue is really a no-brainer, once you start to study up on it. The people will be quick to grasp once they're informed, I think. The politicians, due to the health insurance lobby, will unfortunately be slower.

Lurker said...

Karen, you are a very smart and well informed person. I have read all your post and you totally get it. Keep posting here. People need to hear you.

cc burro said...

For Karen Armstead--I like it! Keep blogging.