Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tiny Wins Lead to Long Waits, or The Agony of Gradualism

Nikk asked me to elaborate on a comment I made regarding the idea that many seemingly liberal social programs have actually set back liberalism by decades. This short article will be an attempt to do that.
This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. – Martin Luther King Jr.
There are those who think that society must be gently goaded along through history. They see people as soft, weak, and unable to cope with change. I am not one of those people.

When it comes to righting an injustice, there is no room for compromise. To negotiate with those who defend injustice is to ensure that future generations will need to finish the job we should have done. If we are confronted with problems of vast importance, we cannot settle for half-vast solutions.

So it is with the Affordable Healthcare Act, also known as “Obamacare.” I was more than a little let down that the Supreme Court didn’t overturn the mandate, and I wish the whole thing has simply been struck down all together. But why would a liberal ever oppose Obamacare?

Because Obamacare is not liberal. It’s not a solution to the problem we face, it is a hand-out to private insurers and a slap in the face to poor Americans. Even when every facet of the AFA is enacted, there will be millions of Americans uninsured.

Just to put that into perspective, this means millions of poor Americans, the vast majority of whom work one or more jobs to try to support themselves and their families, will not have access to the same quality of healthcare that is available to convicted murderers and rapists in prison.

But most people won’t care, because the poor are disposable in our culture. A few middle class assholes won’t be dropped from their insurance anymore when they get sick, so just enough “success” stories will trickle in to make Democrats feel all warm and fuzzy, meanwhile the truly poor will go on dying from treatable illnesses.

That’s the reality of Obamacare. It’s a sedative designed to calm people down and make them forget that America is the only developed country without a national healthcare plan… and coincidentally, we also have some of the worst healthcare in the first-world (assuming you’re generous enough to even consider us first-world anymore).

It’s nothing new, either. Johnson and FDR are both notable for having pacified the masses with just enough to quiet them down, while still ensuring we would be exploited for decades to come. If you feed people just enough scraps, they won’t try too hard to get a place at the table, even if they deserve it.

It doesn’t even take an act of congress; sometimes blind luck has slowed liberal progress in America. Imperialist exploitation of other nations by corporations has also served to quell the cries in America for a legitimate worker movement. Even going back further, Karl Marx himself noted in the 19th century that the California gold rush would stunt worker’s rights movements in America for decades, as a sudden influx of wealth was liable to delay the inevitable.

And socialism is inevitable, just as capitalist markets are inevitable. Europe has steadily moved towards a more equal distribution of wealth among its citizens, while countries like China on the other end of the political spectrum have moved away from command economies towards that of capitalist markets. The ideal system is no longer a theory, it’s a proven fact.

The map to success is already drawn up, and America appears to be the last one on the road. There’s nothing revolutionary to try anymore; both extremes have failed miserably, and the way to peaceful prosperity is no longer a lofty goal, but is instead an oft-travelled path.

The concept of robust social programs and well regulated industries is no longer a controversial or radical idea, it’s just the only way that clearly works. America has been deteriorating the past few decades because we have lowered our taxes to the point of embarrassment, cut funding to necessary social programs, reduced funding for scientific innovation, and lowered our educational standards, all the while piling more and more debt on future generations who we have ensured will be ill-equipped to deal with the problems bequeathed to them by the self-centered Yuppies and Gen Xers,

But that isn’t the worst of our problems. No, the real problem we face is the fact that neither political party in this country wants to do anything about it. We have one party full of conservatives who want nothing to change and are beholden to corporate interests, and then we have the Republicans… who I have come to believe are syphilitic time-travelers from the 1800s.

Democrats propose no real solutions to our problems, while Republicans demand we make our problems worse. At this point, even the Libertarian Party has more to offer in the way of real answers than the Democrats, which would be fine… if the majority of the Libertarian platform wasn’t such a farce.

Personally, I blame the fact that America hasn’t had a war on our soil in a long time. We haven’t had to actually pull together, and it’s been too long since we let large populations of angry American morons kill each other. Europe and Japan got their shit together after their wars, but America didn’t. We just coasted on the fact that we didn’t have to rebuild, and once everyone caught back up with us and our backward ways, then surpassed us again, we just continued to sit around for decades with our thumb up our ass.

It’s time to wake the fuck up and realize America fell behind for a reason, and that reason is that real liberalism has been drowned in a pit of corporate money, then buried in a shallow grave by a complacent population.

If America can get used to being strip-searched every time they board a plane, America can get used to joining the rest of civilization. Then, when we aren’t uneducated, frightened fools, we can reclaim our civil liberties and go about achieving real progress.

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