Health care is a basic human right.
Yes, I believe that...not just as an American but as a human being.
As an American, you have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...your right to life is obviously contingent upon your health, no?
From a human perspective...what teleological goal could be more important than the health of a society's populous? Increasing capital? No shit? Do you really want to live in a society where the pursuit of capital takes precedent over human solidarity?
Imagine 100 people are magically transported to an uninhabited island somewhere in the Cosmos. They're survival as individuals, and as a species, is dependent upon their ability to cooperate with one another and reproduce. What do you think their first priority would be? My guess is that it would be to take every measure possible to ensure the health and well being of their tribe. Does that sound logical?
Or do you think that their main priority would be to develop a form of currency based on seashells....and they then spend endless hours hording these seashells while other members of their newly formed tribe starve or perish to the elements. Does that sound logical?
Well, to me, that analogy is indicative of our current public health care discourse. I am finding it hard to believe that we've become a society which values notions of material wealth (whatever that may be) over our own physical well being..."Protect the market at all costs...including your life." Really? It also amazes me that many of the people advocating this logic aren't by any means "wealthy" nor will they ever be.
What also interests me is the notion of "entitlement" being thrown around by conservative groups. These are people who shun any form of government program, i.e. Medicare, Welfare, because they claim "government hand outs" promote a sense of "entitlement." They just can't stand the notion that some people in our country think they deserve some level of care and protection from their government. They would like to think that they are fiercely independent and self sufficient and they don't need anything from their government...even in the event of a natural disaster like Katrina.
Yet when it comes to issues like immigration....they suddenly take a turn. The notion of entitlement takes on a whole new perspective. Then they ask their government to build massive walls to keep people away from what they are entitled to. Or maybe issues like marriage...where they feel they are entitled to this "sacred institution" while homosexuals shouldn't be. Or maybe issues like abortion...where they feel they are entitled to tell a young woman what she can and can't do with her body. Or maybe issues of religion...where they feel they are entitled to shove their fairy tales down people's throats by asking their government to pass laws which force their notions into public schools.
To me, this is the same mindset of people who felt entitled to sit at the front of the bus 50 years ago, or have separate bathrooms in restaurants.
As Greg points out, this logic is rapidly approaching a Soylent Green mentality. "Fuck the poor, the sick, the physically challenged....let's just eat them." I suppose that would be the logical path to follow if your only goal in life is to increase capital.
I can see the "socialist" accusations swirling in conservative minds after reading that.
I'm not going to attempt to dissect the semantics of the meme, "Socialism". I don't consider myself communist, nor do I subscribe to the notion that capitalism is a panacea. What I do subscribe to is human solidarity....I think there is no more worthy cause for a society than to promote the health of it's citizens. For me, everything else is secondary. I don't really want to live in a society that's more concerned with counting seashells than striving for the well being of it's populous. If that makes me a socialist, so be it.
This country needs a public health care system. I admittedly don't know enough about the particulars to say Obama's plan is the "right" plan but what I do know is that something has to change because the current system is failing us miserably. And I believe that an unbridled, free market system will absolutely not resolve the matters at hand.