Thursday, August 20, 2009

Compassion by Compulsion

Allow me to interject some religious philosophy for a moment.

All you hear about in the news these last few weeks is the hubbub over the Democratic plan to socialize health care. The arguments against it are many and valid: debilitating cost to the taxpayer, loss of control of one's own health decisions, degraded quality of rationed medical care, the overall negative economic impact. The list goes on and on.

But there's an underlying violation dealt by socialized health care (and all types of government handouts, for that matter) that offends the very essence of what it means to be human: Agency.

Agency is the one thing that makes mankind unique in the universe. Self-directed thought, combined with the ability to act on that thought to a degree, is why we can rightly consider ourselves special.

Agency was a key concept in the movie The Matrix, illustrated when the computer program/virus Mr. Smith cannot comprehend the human hero's motivation to keep fighting regardless of his inevitable demise.
Agent Smith: Why, Mr. Anderson? Why do you do it? Why get up? Why keep fighting? Do you believe you're fighting for something? For more that your survival? Can you tell me what it is? Do you even know? Is it freedom? Or truth? Perhaps peace? Yes? No? Could it be for love? ...You must be able to see it, Mr. Anderson. You must know it by now. You can't win. It's pointless to keep fighting. Why, Mr. Anderson? Why? Why do you persist?

Because I choose to.
Back to health care.

The proposed health care legislation is yet another giant step in the ongoing slide into what is portrayed as a "compassionate" society. Every government program that gives out something for nothing is created in the name of compassion. But is it really compassion? Compassion by whom? The lawmakers?

What good is compassion when it's mandated by another person? It even defies its own definition. Compassion comes about only through a personal choice to sacrifice for someone else. Compassion is the result of acting on one's own agency to help another.

Social programs, like the proposed health care legislation, invalidate any human choice in the matter. It takes away one's freedom to choose compassion. If I have $10 to give to a cause, the government would prefer to distribute it rather allow me the opportunity to give it of my own accord--thereby diminishing my agency and the core of my very humanity.

Giant social handouts are not programs of compassion. They're programs of compulsion. And when we become a society of compulsion, we have truly lost our freedom.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Mormons: Conservators of Americansim?

Generally speaking, I don't typically hold much with what online magazine Slate has to say. It's too pretentious and "progressive" for my taste – despite a depth of content that sets it apart from other magazines.

Here's an article, though, that I found thoroughly intriguing. It discusses why Mormons are uniquely prepared to carry the culture of America beyond our nation's demise. The author is dispassionate and evenhanded, which makes it stand apart from typical Slate pieces. This one's worth reading. Even if you're not Mormon like me :)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Glenn Beck Wins vs. Barbara Walters/Whoopie Goldberg

It's not very often that I watch an entire minutes-long news segment on the Internet. But this one totally intrigued me: The real story behind the ambush of Glenn Beck on The View. Enjoy.