Saturday, April 03, 2010



I've come to understand that there is no way for us to win the ideological battle with the progressive statists, so long as we continue to let them pervert our First Principles through obfuscation designed to make the "common man" believe that the lefties are on the side of those very principles. They are very careful to not let their mask slip-- because they know that whenever it does, the American public rejects them forcefully.

We absolutely have to transform the battle to a definition of terms. We must first ensure that we fully understand what it means to support our Constitution, and then we must pass that knowledge on whenever and wherever we can.

Most importantly, though, we must begin to challenge those who would enslave us on basic fundamentals. We have to get them to admit who and what they are-- then the American people will have the open and honest choice between liberty and the alternative offered by the progressive statist: soft tyranny (thanks to the Great One, Mark Levin, for that delicious term).

I've been thinking a lot lately about how the great thinkers of the past would address such things. For starters, they would not agree to any false premise that is impossible to argue against once you allow it to be considered acceptable in the debate. The bottom line is that anyone who champions rational thought would insist that the terms of the debate be open and transparent. Therefore, the progressive statist cannot build his famous straw-men arguments with impunity... unless we let him-- which we have done all too often in the past.

Since we broke the seal on the philosophy package in the previous essay, let's continue with a sample Socratic elentic refutation-- one form of the Socratic method of argument. Using the elenchus, Socrates gets his opponent to refute himself out of his own mouth. The opponent makes a proposal that is shown to conflict with other claims to which he agrees. To be consistent, the opponent must give up one of these claims, and he usually abandons the original proposal.

Let's try one using universal health care as the topic. For the sake of this exercise, we will make our progressive/statist an honest fellow who answers truthfully. A stretch, you say? Probably... but we won't get anywhere if we don't state things as they truly are.

Conservative: Hello, friend! I understand that you claim to support the American Constitution's protection of individual rights?

Progressive/Statist (PS): That is correct. I am a strong proponent of the Constitution and the little guy.

Conservative: Excellent! Can you give me an example of how you would help the individual secure his rights?

PS: Of course! Universal health care is a good example of how I strongly support the right of poor and oppressed individuals to health care that they otherwise would not get.

Conservative: I notice that you have added a descriptor to the individual, i.e., "poor and oppressed." Have we decided to separate one individual from another for our discussion? If so, where do you find this distinction in the Constitution?

PS: Not everyone has the same socio-economic status and therefore some cannot afford to pay for basic necessities and rights like health care.

Conservative: Very well, let's let that one stay for now. So health care is a right? Who should pay for the "poor and oppressed" individual's health care right?

PS: Well, the evil insurance companies have to be done away with, and the rich and others who can afford it can chip in to pay for the poor and oppressed.

Conservative: But what if an individual seeks to start an insurance company-- you would tell him no?

PS: Gaining profit from people's suffering is evil. That individual can start another kind of company.

Conservative: I see. So, the insurance industry must be outlawed and the taxpayer must pay for the health care of the "poor and oppressed" individual, because health care is a right?

PS: Yes. We're the richest nation in the world and we can afford it.

Conservative: I'm sure you've put a lot of thought into how we came about being the "richest nation" in the world. Anyway, just so that I fully understand: you are saying that the tax paying individual now has the duty to pay for the right of another individual?

PS: Yes.

Conservative: And if he refuses to pay for it?

PS: He will be fined.

Conservative: And if he refuses to pay the fine?

PS: He will be arrested.

Conservative: So, the penalty is the loss of his liberty for the tax paying individual who will not pay for the rights of the "poor and oppressed" individual ?

PS: That would be his choice.

Conservative: I see. He can choose between loss of financial freedom or loss of physical freedom?

PS: I suppose.

Conservative: Very well, then. Since we've established that health care is a right, may I now ask who will pay for the tax paying individual's health care?

PS: He can afford to pay for his own.

Conservative: So, the tax paying individual's right to health care is predicated on his ability to pay for it... but the "poor and oppressed" individual's right to health care is predicated on his inability to pay for it?

PS: Yes.

Conservative: For the sake of argument, does it sound to you as if these two individuals have an equal right when it comes to health care?

PS: Well, they both will have health care.

Conservative: But they come about it in drastically different ways, no?

PS: Yes, but they have it.

Conservative: So, with universal health care you have helped the "poor and oppressed" individual?

PS: That is right.

Conservative: So, the government must help the "poor and oppressed" American citizen at the expense of the non-oppressed American citizen?

PS: Yes, the government has to step in to make things fair.

Conservative: Do you find irony in that this process will now make the tax paying individual "poor and oppressed" through government action?

PS: It has to be fair.

Conservative: Since you will admit that there is no such language in the Constitution, what are we to make of your original support for the Constitution's protection of equal rights for all individuals? Do you care to re-examine that? It sounds as though your "poor and oppressed" individual is somehow "more equal" than the other individual, no?

PS: It's about fairness. The Constitution gives us equal rights and the right to happiness. How can you be happy if you don't have health care?

Conservative: You're trying to trick me, right? You're smart enough to know that the Constitution only seeks to secure the rights that we were born with as a gift from our Creator... and surely you don't mean the pursuit of happiness (which is in the Declaration of Independence, by the way)? You are educated and must understand that the Constitution speaks of fairness only in the sense of all men being created equal, and having equal opportunity?

PS: Well, that is oppressive language. There is not equal opportunity and lots of people can't achieve happiness unless the government levels the playing field. That is why we have to update the Constitution when we find the need.

Conservative: And how do you propose we go about "updating" the Constitution?

PS: That's why Congress passed the health care bill.

Conservative: So, legislation is sufficient to "update" the Constitution?

PS: Well, they did it.

Conservative: They certainly did. I am starting to think you are fooling with me, though-- and that you are just pretending that you don't understand how the Constitution can be legally changed. Since we have agreed that the Constitution, as it currently reads, has no provisions for this health care bill, your answer is that Congress can fix that simply by voting on a bill?

PS: That's what they did. It's law now.

Conservative: Very well. So, to sum up your position-- and correct me if I go astray: 1) no one has the right to operate an insurance company, 2) certain individuals deserve to have certain "rights" paid for by other individuals, who have no such right, 3) if the individual whom the government has decided must pay for others' "rights" refuses to pay, he will be imprisoned, 4) because the government has a duty to make everything "fair", 5) The Constitution must be flexible and can be changed by legislative fiat without regard to the amendment process. Is that about it?

PS: Yes, I'd say that was accurate.

Conservative: And to you, this applies to far more than just health care, does it not?

PS: There are many areas where there is fundamental unfairness.

Conservative: I see. So, back to the original question... it sounds to me as if your position is at odds with the Constitution, as it is now worded and interpreted. In other words, you do not support the current Constitution, since it does not address "fairness" in a way that you prefer. Is this accurate?

PS: I would say so.

Conservative: Excellent! May I offer a suggested amendment that would no doubt properly address your position?

PS: Of course.

Conservative: How about "From each according to his means-- and to each according to his needs."

PS: That's brilliant!

Conservative: Indeed. Have a nice day.


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