Arrogance is one’s belief he is superior to others. It is the corruption of confidence and, in the political arena, it leads to dogma rather than dialogue. It is what leads the political class to assure us what they are doing is for our own good, as if we were children who just don’t know any better yet. If, as children, we ask why (and as anyone with young children knows, that is a frequent question), we are told, “Only bad children don’t listen to their mommy and daddy.”
The only problem with all this is that the American people are not children. We don’t just ask, “Why?” We ask, “Why not this way?” That question is too much. To ask such a thing, we must hate the poor or Muslims or Mexicans or, worst of all, the working man. Never has the affliction of arrogance been more clearly present than in today’s political landscape. We must nationalize healthcare. We must grant amnesty to illegal immigrants. Racism and bigotry is a one-way street. Spending is good. Lower taxes are bad. Together these pieces construct a monolith of national government, and that is not what the children want. In fact, the American people reject each of these “because I said so” policies by a 2 to 1 margin.
Americans spend too much on healthcare. Mostly because it is more like spending Monopoly money than their own. I doubt if most of us know how much a regular “my child has a fever and runny nose” doctor visit costs – it’s just a $30 co-pay. We spend too much on healthcare because it is subsidized by our employers and our government. We should pay a small amount every month to protect ourselves and our families from catastrophic accidents or illness (isn’t that what insurance is anyway?) and pay for our regular medical maintenance out of our own pocket. If we did, two things would happen. We would go to the doctor less and going to the doctor would cost less.
But how heartless of me. What about those who can’t pay? What about the children whose parents can’t afford to get their immunizations? Well, that’s what the government is for, isn’t it? Protecting those who can’t protect themselves. Paying for those in need would cost a whole lot less than nationalizing healthcare. We can talk about portability and choice and mandates all we want. The problem is responsibility. Are you responsible for your health, or is somebody else?
Responsibility, that might be the new theme here. Who is responsible for enforcing the law? Who is responsible for the attacks on 9/11? Who is responsible for your money? It is amazing that we seem to have forgotten the word “illegal” in the immigration debate. In this country, if you break the law, if you do something illegal there is a penalty, not amnesty. If Islamic terrorists attacked our country, then Islamists don’t get to build anything at the site of the attack unless they win the war. If I keep more of my money, I spend more of my money and the economy grows. These are not the only arguments, but they are valid ones. And that’s where arrogance comes to town. If you disagree with these arguments, and Washington seems to, then arrogance dictates that the arguments are wrong, even childish.
The dogma is that we need the government to take care of us. There is no acceptable dialogue to the contrary. Disagreement is uncaring, bigoted, greedy. This political season, one side says we must make a choice between going forward or going back to the ways of the past. C.S. Lewis says in Mere Christianity, “We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”