Social Morality Inside Out
by Larry Perrault on March 9, 2011 at 9:01 AM
Of all the imaginable Republican candidates, Mitt Romney is near to last on my personal list. Donald Trump would be worse, for one. Even putting his self-absorption and self-promotion aside, a president with Trump’s hair might be the last straw. On FOX News Sunday, there was some discussion of the sort I’ve heard so much of about Romney. I don’t think he’s clear on the virtue and potential of essential American principle. As someone who is insistent on it, if I’m wrong, he has HUGE problems if he has been unable in my long and frequent observance, to communicate it to me. But I must say, in this instance I don’t think he’s given proper consideration.
His part as Massachusetts’ governor in devising “Romneycare,” a statewide universal health care plan with an individual mandate to purchase coverage, is seen as Romney’s greatest weakness as a fair correlative to Obamacare’s national mandate. I do see it as suggestive of his ambiguity that he did not see and warn of the adverse consequences it would bring and would have opposed it as I did Obamacare. As others have, Juan Williams calls Romney’s explanation, a distinction without a difference; at least that’s what he tried to say. But his assertion that the Massachusetts plan was an appropriate and constitutional state experiment, not an unconstitutional national one-size-fits-all national prescription, is true and important. Even if it stil was not a good solution, hey remember, it’s MASSACHUSETTS, and Massachusetts can keep, change, or discard it as it will. As a comparison, remember that at the time that The First Amendment forbade a national establishment of religion, most of the states in fact had an established religion.
I may have been uncommon in seeing a related issue in FNS’s end-of-show “Power Player of The Week.” THIS power player was the head of the federal Reading Is Fundamental program, which in fact is being cut. She lamented the loss of the funds to support the critically important provision of reading training and materials at an early age. Breaks your heart? Not so fast! How absurd is it that a government covering the geography and population of The United States must order and fund a program for children to be taught to read? The federal government properly tends a FEW things. But most of what it does and attempts today, is better suited to a closer organization, which is not incidentally what is constitutionally proper. The list is endless. A statewide health care plan is a little too ambitious for all but a handful of states, and people can choose whether they want to live under such.
I’m a Christian. Long ago, a family friend who had taken up a leftward disposition, told me that he thought a Christian should be a Democrat, as liberals often assert that Jesus would be: care for the poor, civility toward all races & ethnicities, stewardship of the earth, etc., right? I suspect it is largely mass-culture that for many has obscured the critical difference between our moral responsibilities and those of the state. In fact, it diminishes the individual to vest moral responsibility in the state. Dennis Prager distills it: “The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.” Somewhat conversely, a friend in graduate school who was raised a Christian but came to question it (I assume from a combination of popular media and education and just poor Christian training), challenged me that The Bible condones slavery: “Slaves obey your masters.” But The Bible is not a manifesto for social architecture. The Bible is teaching about how you as an individual are to react to whatever situation life confronts you with. In fact in Philemon, Paul instructs a converted runaway slave to return to his master, sending a letter telling the Christian master to treat the slave like a brother. Jesus did not come to teach us to defy and overthrow social structures, but to teach us how to deal with them. Here the Christians in unequal social positions were to treat each other with love and respect, rather than with abuse or resentment.
I am disabled and though I’ve recently avoided the untimely service, I think local public transportation for the disabled could be a good idea, if prudently planned and tightly operated. But I opposed and still do, the national Americans With Disabilities Act. I tried to publish ways in which the service could be improved. But The Houston Chronicle twice declined to publish my suggestions. “Too political,” reported the ex-Chronicle writer who helped me condense and edit it. I had tried to distill what might have been thought political on the second try, but even the brief mention that funds sent to Washington would be better spent here, was evidently too much. Similarly, I don’t theoretically dislike the local medical care provision for the unisured of “The Harris County Hospital District.” But it also is not efficiently run as a government program that is not competing for customers. Such efforts need to be run by taskmasters who love both the beneficiary AND the taxpayer. But such services are not theoretically bad where a city has aggregated commerce and resources. But the service is hardly exemplary and it’s crazy to imagine that any more distantly directed program might be superior.
As far as government and the taxation for it is concerned, wouldn’t an ideal system turn ours inside out? The greatest share of taxation should go to the local city and/or county, which is much more easily held accountable. A smaller share should go to the state. And the smallest to a national government for a handful of coordination, maintenance, diplomatic and defense duties. I think a great deal of the reason that we have strayed so far from such an ideal, is mass-media and the perception of and attention to a national reality. Television was a remarkable and helpful achievement. But in its effect it has corroded organizations from states down to families.