Disordered Reason and the Illegitimate Force of Obamacare
One of the things that most struck de Tocqueville about America was its robust "civil society," by which he meant all of the voluntary, spontaneous orders that sprang up independent of the state -- church groups, charitable missions, fraternal organizations, trade unions, book clubs, secret internet cults masquerading as a mere "blog," all rooted in distinct values freely arrived at by their members. Nothing could be more distinct from the statism of the left, which imposes its own values in order to create its dreary and monotonous collective.
In fact, Ken Wilber developed a useful way of marking the distinction between the two, referring to the "interior collective" and the "exterior collective." The interior collective is to we as the individual is to I -- that is, an internally related center of order. For example, a passionate marriage is a true "we" at every level, body, mind, and spirit (and that is indeed one of its purposes, since it helps develop the "I" to its true potential, even while allowing us to transcend it in the "we").
But the exterior collective is not a spontaneous order. Rather, it is something that you are essentially forced to be a part of, like Obamacare. Ironically, collectivism can never be a true collective, since most people don't want or choose to be members of it. It is imposed from the outside to varying degrees, so it's only a "we" for certain constituents, eg., the MSM, Hollywood, the tenured, the stupid, the envious, the immature.
But this is what defines the leftist spectrum, from Obama/Euro style democratic socialism, to authoritarian fascism, and on to totalitarianism. Obviously, none of these are compatible with conservative liberalism. We are pro-choice. If you want to get together with like-minded people of the left, pool your resources, and live on a commune, we say, go for it! We won't stop you, if you won't stop us from being individuals.
Now, speaking of marriage, being the quintessence of the type of spontaneous order we're talking about, it should come as no surprise that the left would be at war with this institution, even redefining it as "any two or more mammals who love the government."
There's nothing conspiratorial about this diabolical plot of moose and squirrel. Rather, this is straight-up neo-Marxism, i.e., looking after one's class interests. It is for the same reason that tenured wards of the state are disproportionately statists; they're the last people who would want to reduce the size and reach of the government! (What's that aphorism by Mencken? "Never expect a man to see a truth when his livelihood depends on his not seeing it.")
I know the subject intimately, since I live in a failing state, California -- which cannot afford its own bloated government -- and also happen to have a brother who is a useless, and no doubt un-fireable, functionary at a low-level state university. In California there are thousands upon thousands of government free riders just like him. But touch a hair on his head, and out come the cries that anti-education extremists are harming the children! If only these children knew how much of their tuition goes to the lavish health benefits and retirement packages of their parasitic overlords.
Anyway, when Aristotle made that crack about man being a "political animal," he wasn't talking about pathetic political junkies and policy wonks who watch cable TV, but about our need to associate with other human beings in order to accomplish goods that would be impossible on an individual basis. But once one brings politics into the equation, that can go against these very collective goods, since the state must back its edicts with violence.
There is nothing fundamentally wrong with that -- we are not anarchists -- but coercion and violence must always be in the name of ordered reason. For example, the Iranian government uses violence to accomplish its ends. But who would argue that any of the violence is rooted in reason, or that they could present a rational argument to persuade others that the violence is legitimate? Can't be done.
Rather, in order to legitimize the violence, these Islamists must live in a parallel looniverse of outrageous lies, most especially about America and about the Jewish people. This is why, by the way, truth -- not compassion -- is the highest collective good, because the Lie is at the root of illegitimate violence (and this is also why the left invented the scurrilous lies about George Bush lying about WMD, so they could characterize the liberation of Iraq as illegitimate).
As Schall writes, force "is to be legitimately used only in the name of ordered reason," whether it is the police, the military, the legal system, or the IRS. Each of these is authorized to use force, up to and including taking away your liberty and even life. For there are some things more important than life and liberty, most notably, the conditions that allow them to flourish, and the transcendent end to which our liberty is ordered.
Now, in addition to force not being rooted in ordered reason, another characteristic of the illegitimate state is that, instead of fostering the conditions of goodness, it promotes badness and even sometimes outlaws the good. I'm thinking, for example, of our federal government, which makes it against the law to embrace the self-evident good of racial colorblindness. Instead, we are subject to legal jeopardy if we fail to discriminate on the basis of race.
I'm also thinking of the force that has now been authorized to compel us to accept Obamacare. Again, this force would have been legitimate had the bill been rooted in ordered reason. But that is a literal impossibility, since house members voted on the bill without even knowing what was in it, much less having any deep understanding of its myriad consequences. How could if ever be rational to vote for a bill one hasn't even read? Yes, you could say that it was an act of faith, but no one is required to have faith in things that are not demonstrable to reason.
This is the very definition of imposing disorder on the polity and backing it with the violence of the state. But again, this is standard operating procedure for the left, everywhere and everywhen. It's just a matter of degree. The leftist convinces himself that something is good, and then arrogantly and contemptuously imposes it on the rest of us, since he knows better how to spend our freedom and to make decisions for us.
No thanks, Barry. You first. If I'm gonna get clipped, I'd prefer that it be my choice.