How’d We Get Here?: An open letter to my Republican friends (gov’t shutdown, day 2)


kilroyart-Im-just-a-BillHey, Republican friend.

Yeah, I’m writing to you. Not to the pundits or the politicians (not that they’d read this anyway), but you: the everyday Joe (or Jane) that considers themselves a Republican, who reads these headlines about the government shutting down and wonders how it got here and whether or not the people you most agree with are actually at fault here. This post is a long one, but hopefully it’s a helpful one.

But first let me say that, on a grand scale, I’m with you politically. I consider myself a center-right pragmatist. I think the government should be dedicated to very few things, the private sector should be utilized whenever possible, and that States–rather than the federal government–are the greatest laboratories for democracy and the greatest vehicles of government to their people.

But there’s a bigger context to this showdown that I fear is getting lost in all the noise. Everyone seems to be focusing on a series of events in the past month or so that led to this, but it actually goes back a little further than that.

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Why was Obamacare necessary? Christians, it seems.


nyt-flowers-medicine-bw{abstract: My point in this post is pretty simple. Christians seek radical end-of-life care dramatically more than non-religious people, and this accounts for a huge portion of American Health Care cost. In this piece, I ask if this drove prices up, therefore creating the situation where, ironically, Obamacare (a policy Evangelicals widely despise) was necessary.}

I wrote a while ago about my own current preoccupation with my fear of death. It caused me to read several related things, including the amazing book, The Art of Dying. In it, Rob Moll carefully helps guide Christians back toward embracing death for what it is: our greatest enemy, yes, but an enemy whose sting has been turned into a doorway to Glory Itself.

And so, as the horror-turned-beauty that Death is, the book encourages us to spend our energy preparing for Death more than avoiding it. He encourages Christians to recapture the doctrine of the “good death”.

And yet, it seems that American Christians are prone to do everything but that.

Moll talks of a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found that Christians were three times more likely than those without religious faith to pursue aggressive end-of-life care, even though they fully understood they were dying and that the treatments would most likely not add any time to their lives.

One researcher told Moll, “patients who received outside clergy visits had worse quality of death scores than those who did not.” And if you have problems with this particular study, know that the book is full of research, studies, and interviews that lay out the pretty clear case that American Evangelicalism widely avoids preparing for death.

Now, we can talk about why this is and whether or not this is a sound Christianly posture another day (I happen to think it is not). Hopefully I’ll write a full review of the book in the weeks ahead. Today, though, I wanted to point out a huge irony this made me think of.
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David Brooks on “Centralization” [REBLOG]


Great post by this philosophy professor in New York whose blog I follow. He points out the hyperbole and absurdity of a recent David Brooks article. I like a lot of the things Brooks usually says, but this is a little ridiculous.

I like the sound of Brooks’ eventual conclusion of “centralizing goals” but “decentralizing processes”, but how he describes what this might look like in health care ends up looking awhole lot like the Affordable Care Act.

Samir Chopra

On May 23-24, 1865, the victorious Union armies marched through Washington. The columns of troops stretched back 25 miles. They marched as a single mass, clad in blue, their bayonets pointing skyward.

Those lines, dear reader, are the openers of a David Brooks article about the “centralization” of power in Washington via the “Obama health care law” (whose official moniker is “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act”). “Obama health care law,” then, in the next sentence or so, becomes just plain “Obamacare.” Another sentence or so later, as Brooks commences a four-step listing of how “Obamacare” has “centralized” Washington’s authority, we are told about how “Obamacare centralizes Medicare decisions — and the power of life and death — within an unelected Independent Payment Advisory Board.”

At this stage, I am eight paragraphs through this seventeen-paragraph missive, and thus far, I’ve been exposed to civil war imagery, Obamacare, and the…

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