This is what the health care debate in the U.S. right now is about. Underlying all the surface arguments, this debate is about these two concepts:
That’s all it’s about. All roads of discourse lead to those two roads. The first I think you can get people to see just by talking. The second may be decided by war. War, incidentally, is about:
- Can two ideas that are contradictory both be true at the same time?
- Do you want poor people to die?
The latter is a question properly stated with the verb “want”, for there is no way to say, in these times, that poor people must die. Economy is efficiency through scale. And for all that it can and will be improved upon, expanded, and outshined in the future, our economy is already such that there is such efficiency of scale that whether poor people die truly is a question of what we want to happen. Even, truly, the question of whether we want our world to be a place where there are poor people—people living in poverty—is totally a matter of desire. The cost, in terms of individual care or lifestyle, to anyone, in the middle, at the top, at the bottom, of affluence, is negligible in the same way that the cost of drinking water is negligible to those of us in the first world. It’s as costly to us as aesthetics.
The real matter (and here I’m heavily influenced by other thinkers =) is this: can I feel good about myself without making other people feel bad about themselves. Can I be happy, while other people are happy too. Contrary to some thought, capitalism doesn’t eliminate laziness, and socialism doesn’t eliminate innovation. Those are distinct issues from what I’m talking about here, which is simply, given that at this point in human history, whether we are, as a species, happy and healthy, is no longer a struggle, but a mere aesthetic choice…can we now adjust to the idea, in some of our individual psychologies, that, essentially, I can be ok even though you are ok too.
I think we can, and we will, do that. Humanity is in an adjustment period in which we are coming to terms with the reality that this world, for us, is a place, not of lack, but of amazing bounty.