14 October 2007

What I Hate about Hilary

According to The American Psychoanalyst, the quarterly magazine of the American Psychoanalytic Society (v 41, p32, Fall 2007) Senators Ted Kennedy and Hilary Clinton tried to "ram through the Senate a health information technology (IT) bill that would have eliminated the individual's right to health information privacy and the psychotherapist-patient privelege recognized in Jaffe v. Redmond." They tried to get the bill approved by the Senate without a hearing, a debate, or opportunity for amendments, just before the August recess.

Let's assume that Ted and Hilary actually care about patient privacy and psychotherapist-patient (I prefer the word client) privelege, and that there were some honest mistakes in the bill they had their staffers write. What bothers me is that they tried to push this piece of health care reform through without a thorough process in Congress. This shows that they have disdain for the process of multi-sided debate and amendment. They think they are both better intentioned and better informed than anyone else about what's good for the rest of us. In fact, they seem to think that the rest of us are just plain wrong about what's good for us, and that, for our own sakes, we should just shut up and let them run things for us.

Now I have no doubt that Hilary is one smart cookie. But there are names for her implicit attitude when it comes to governance. I could call it neo-Platonism. Hilary and company are the philosopher-kings that should lead, and the rest of us should unquestioningly follow, because they are right, by golly! But Plato was explicitly anti-democratic, and became so after the citizens of Athens voted to condemn his mentor, Socrates. (Yes, I know, the Athenian democracy was not liberal democracy, with limited powers of government - rather the power of government was unlimited, and resulted in tyranny of the majority over the minority). That's the kindest thing I can say about this attitude.

A more unkind thing is to point out that Lenin had exactly this same attitude, and that it is codified in Marxist theory under the name of "false consciousness." Marxists believe that the masses can be duped into believing things to be in their best interest that actually harm them. Distrusting labor organizers, believing in God, things like that. Only the revolutionaries can break through this false consciousness and re-educate the masses to accept the cadres as their new masters.

OK, Hilary and Ted are no Marxists. But they have this in common with Marxists/Leninists: they are so sure they are right, and know so much better than everyone else (especially their benighted political opponents) that it is necessary to subvert the democratic process in order to get their way. They don't really want to be dictators, but they think and act in ways that are totalitarian.

And that's what I hate about Hilary. She wants her ideas to get put into action in their pristine state, unpolluted by the rest of us getting a chance to work on them. She means well, and she has learned in the school of hard knocks to respect the power of the rest of us, but she does not truly respect us, period. Her contempt for our political participation subverts the foundations of our liberal democratic society and its institutions of self-governance.

What will happen if Hilary becomes president? She and the Democrat-controlled Congress will railroad through a host of measures (all for our own good) that will erode some important foundations of our liberty, we will finally get scared by some of this and vote the Republicans back into control of Congress after 2 years of her administration. To paraphrase Yogi Beara, it will deja vu of the Newt Gingrich era all over again.

07 October 2007


I haven't posted for a while because I'm studying in the CSS Zen Garden while preparing to redo the design of the Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua. If you have some suggestions, or would like to contribute a design, let me know. I'm not bad at coding, but I'm really challenged by graphic design, page layout, color palettes, etc. That's all done one the side of the brain that I've been neglecting for most of the last few decades. Maybe I've been priveleged to think things and experience life in ways that are unavailable to those outside the physical sciences, but when I try to do art, I realize that in some ways, I've only barely scratched the surface of understanding what it means to be human.

Anyway, VCBC now serves about 50,000 page views per month. Not bad for an all volunteer effort, with so few volunteers. But I figured that it might do even better if it looked better. So, I'm giving it a try.

But a redesign also means a pruning of the inessential, and a refocusing to stay "on message." Ah, but which message? Which brings to mind Alasdair MacIntyre's questions, "Whose justice? Which rationality?" He posed these questions as part of a lifelong inquiry into how we fashion consistent narratives of our lives in the modern world. He seems to think that reason is necessary, but by itself, not enough. We need a community with its own narratives into which we can weave the narratives of our individual lives. But even that is not enough. We also need a goal, and end toward which our strivings are ultimately directed - we need faith. Finally, discovering the truth about ourselves, even in the light of revelation, is mostly a trial-and-error process. We must have the courage to make those trials, the honesty to discover our errors, and the humor to deal with them and move on.

Hmm. Now to compress all that into a catchy tag line.