February 22, 2005

Let Hear it for Objective Reality!

I knew there was a reason I put TNR on my perma-links. Jonathan Chait has a real gem up. You have to love a article that start like this:

Imagine that God were to appear on Earth for the unlikely purpose of settling, once and for all, our disputes over economic policy.

I really am a nerd for likely this stuff.

We're accustomed to thinking of liberalism and conservatism as parallel ideologies, with conservatives preferring less government and liberals preferring more. The equivalency breaks down, though, when you consider that liberals never claim that increasing the size of government is an end in itself. Liberals only support larger government if they have some reason to believe that it will lead to material improvement in people's lives. Conservatives also want material improvement in people's lives, of course, but proving that their policies can produce such an outcome is a luxury, not a necessity.

Liberals are practical people. I don't want to regulate the market for golf clubs because that wouldn't help anything. I do want to regulate health care because...Well you tell them Jonathan:

Consider the conservative view of health care. Conservatives repeat the mantra that the United States has "the best health care system in the world"--a formulation used endlessly by President Bush. That isn't true by almost any objective measure. The United States devotes a far higher share of its economy to health care than any other country. Yet, according to the most recent World Health Organization study, the United States ranks just 37th in overall health care performance. These massive inefficiencies derive in part from our huge numbers of uninsured. The uninsured end up forgoing treatment until they arrive at the emergency room. Basic preventive care, of the sort universally available in every other advanced country, would avert such disasters--at less cost to the economy and with less suffering and fatality for patients.

Government intervention can lead to positive results. There I've said it. Prove me wrong. Oh wait, it doesn't matter what the facts are, that's the whole point of modern conservatism.

The New Republic. If I had money I would subscribe to this magazine.


jess said...

I must admit, The New Republic does confuse me from time to time. You have it listed as being to the right, and I've always considered it to be right leaning. Then they publish stuff like this. Perhaps you should re-label it 'logical.'

The Craig said...

TNR respresents the right end of my own personal poltical thinking. I'm moving the spectrum to the left the same way Fox does by having a moderate be the left wing guy.