I’ve been watching the SCHIP tragi-rama and, for me it least, it has all of the overtones of the recent Social Security brouhaha. Its the same story with Medicare, Medicaid, WIC, SSI…etc., etc. etc.
Here is that story:
“Despite all evidence to the contrary, there is no such thing as the common good. It turns out that we are all alone in this world, rich and poor alike— well not exactly alike. Anyway, again despite all evidence to the contrary, it is best if we learn not to rely on each other. We are, it seems, a race of chipmunks each of us racing alone to toward the creation of our own, individual, pile of nuts. If your stash is big and well-hidden, then congratulations, you deserve to make it through the winter. If your stash is small or not so well hidden, or stolen or ruined, well then that’s just too bad. You can’t expect any other chipmunks to give a damn about you.
“It’s every chipmunk for himself and the devil take the hindmost.”
—- Richard Dawkins
Interestingly, the story told above collides with everything we know about morality, ethics, theology and, especially, human nature. We are not chipmunks, and never have been.
It is said, by those who know, that before the invention of the freezer, the best place to store surplus meat was in a neighbor’s stomach. In other words, sharing the surplus in good times with the expectation that we will be helped by others in hard times is woven into the fabric of our species. Social insurance programs (like Social Security) take this principle one step further and create a situation where members of a nation make a promise to each other and then work to keep that promise, generation after generation.
Efforts to lead us away from the promises that, we, as a people, have made are, when you get down to it — inhuman.
We are not chipmunks, never have been, never will be.