Friday, May 14, 2010

Immigration, health care, and trusting the government

Joseph A. at Bill Vallicella's site wrote: Victor shows some deep distrust of law enforcement officials - he mentions how there's plenty of Mark Fuhrmans on the police force, and basically asserts that he doesn't trust them to enforce laws like this appropriately. But Victor also typically argues very much in favor of giving government far more authority and responsibility than it now has (see his views on health care, etc.) I just find it odd that he's very worried, deeply worried, about the actions of individual police officers operating at a local level - suggesting that they pose a problem/threat we're not going to be able to adequately address - but not nearly as worried about endowing federal bureaucrats with vastly more far-reaching powers.

Bill replied: That is just inconsistency on Reppert's part. As I said, skepticism about government and its law enforcement agencies is integral to American conservatism. The skepticism is shared by libertarians and paleo-liberals.

I reply: I don't trust the government in the area of health care. I only trust them more than I trust the insurance companies. Having to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea, I choose the deep blue sea.

I believe in sin, which means that I believe that we need to be protected from Leviathan monsters. Sometimes those monsters are governments. Sometimes they are corporations.

The big issue between me and opponents of any kind of health care reform is the fact that insurance companies do exclude on the basis of pre-existing conditions, and make it impossible for many people to get health insurance who can't get it through their employers. They engage in what I consider to be unethical cost-cutting measures to avoid paying claims, including rescinding medical insurance when people get sick. In the end, some people have to be trusted to make these health care decisions, but the market-driven health care economy needs, at the very least, regulation from either God or the government to prevent what I consider to be an injustice. You may not. You may think it's just free market economics, and inability to buy health insurance is no different and no more unjust than the inability to buy a starter home or a late-model car because you can't afford it. But I think it's an injustice, and I have to trust somebody to right that injustice. Unfortunately, it looks like it has to be the government, even though the government, like everything else, is run by sinners.

But, in the case of the immigration law, I think you have a problem if too much is left to "reasonable suspicion." This piece, by conservative Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb, (the attempt to attribute all opposition to measures like SB 1070 to "liberalism" is about on the same level as attributing all support for it to racism), makes the case that there is a systematic potential for the law to justify fishing expeditions of the sort that Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been doing for years.


Anonymous said...

Corporations have never done the depth of evil that government has.

Give me your corporate comparison to Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pot..., and whoever the clowns are that are currently ruining Mexico.

If I were to chose between rottenness and evil, I'll chose rottenness.

Victor Reppert said...

Evil will appear anywhwere power is not checked and balanced.

Which does more harm, the British National Institute of Health, or British Petroleum?

Sometimes democratic government is better checked and balanced than corporate power. Sometimes it isn't. On my view, it's a case by case decision.

Anonymous said...

Great question. If I were to chose between free enterprise energy along with paying for my own health care or government control of health care and begging the government for energy, I'll choose to pay for my energy and health care. Just let me be free and not a beggar.

Victor Reppert said...

That sounds really good, so long as you are swimming, and not sinking, on your own resources.

"What you have gone through begins to reconcile me to our Welfare State of which I have said so many hard things. 'National Health Service' with free treatment for all has its drawbacks - one being that Doctors are incessantly
pestered by people who have nothing wrong with them. But it is better than leaving people to sink or swim on their own resources."

-C. S. Lewis to Mary Willis Shelburne, July 7th, 1959.

Those whose great fear is socialism fear the takeover of private industry by government. But so long as political leaders can be bought and paid for by corporations, you are going to get as much "conservatism" out of many government leaders as is consistent with the well-being of CEOs of major corporations.

I mean, what kind of corrupt state of mind is it that plays damage control games with a major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico that is threatening to destroy the entire shrimping and fishing industry on the Gulf Coast? What kind of corrupt state of mind is it that exploits slave labor in order to make a profit, and even exploits child labor all around the world?

Anonymous said...


Dave Duffy here, formerly "Anonymous," no fair quoting C.S. Lewis to me! As a Christian convert 27 years ago and then joining the Anglican Church 12 years ago how can I defend myself?

As a Lakers fan (being born in L.A) maybe we ought to let the Suns/Lakers decide the big government/small government debate.

I'm Lakers (but California) and you're Suns (but Arizona) so go figure.

Victor Reppert said...

The Spurs supported the Los Suns and their views on the immigration bill. Are the Lakers in the same boat?

Clayton Littlejohn said...

"Corporations have never done the depth of evil that government has.

Give me your corporate comparison to Mao, Stalin, Hitler, Pot..., and whoever the clowns are that are currently ruining Mexico."

Who is more evil, the Mexican government or the Mexican drug corporations? I guess I'd say that the government is corrupt and powerless, far less evil than the Mexican drug corporations. (Or, do Mexican drug cartels not count as corporations?)

Anonymous said...

Dave here,

"A corporation is an institution that is granted a charter recognizing it as a separate legal entity having its own privileges, and liabilities distinct from those of its members."-Wiki

Defining the cartels as corporations makes less sense than defining them as a government.

"A government is the organization, machinery, or agency through which a political unit exercises its authority, controls and administers public policy, and directs and controls the actions of its members or subjects."

The Lakers were the original "Los" as in Los Angeles. I don't know their stand on AZ policy, just hope they're not obsessed with race and the continuous aggravation of a deep wound in our country.

Clayton Littlejohn said...


Also, when comparing governments to corporations, isn't it important to compare governments similar to ours and corporations similar to ours? Or, do we get to win the who should _we_ worry about more game by comparing the Nazis to Nabisco?

Anonymous said...

Dave here,

Thanks for the link. You've given me some things to think about.

I'm not trying to win and I don't much worry anymore (gotten old I guess). I service businesses in CA and see bad government policy ruining the lives of people I know in business.

I still think bad government has more to do with cartels than corporations. But, let me think on it some more.