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my brother's keeper

I recently watched a debate between The Young Turks’ Cenk Uygur and Ben Shapiro. It was supposed to be a friendly one between the American left and right.

At one point Shapiro said something revealing and tipped his hand. While discussing health care he said he didn’t want to be restrained by a system that kept him from doing what he wanted and getting the service he and his family deserved. He said he didn’t care about anyone else’s situation. Cenk responded that he could always supplement single payer with his own elective services if he could afford it but at least people wouldn’t get kicked off the insurance grid and potentially die.

But that wasn't what struck me.

American individualism worked well under a system when taxes were much higher like the 1950’s and 1960’s when there was a prosperous middle class with strong family units and community ties. As the social fabric has begun to dissolve that individualism has led to selfishness and disdain for those who aren’t part of my family. Part of that can be explained through the increasing diversification of society via immigration from place like the Middle East and Mexico which has built mistrust among many Americans.

Regardless, someone like Shapiro does not subscribe to bolstering the social safety net because he is a small government social conservative who repeats the same mantra. Yet in other nations it has been proven that taking a less capitalist approach works better overall. The caveat is to have the goal of seeing the entire society prosper without stiffling individual achievement by keeping it within reasonable measures. Ostensibly it means leaning a little more towards collectivism than individualism.

This type of thinking is heresy for a died in the wool conservative who erroneously believes that if free markets are allowed to operate unencumbered everything will take care of itself which is patently false. That ship sailed with the Reagan era and companies today hide their profits in offshore accounts and manufacture in places like Bangladesh paying meagre wages to foreign workers.

Shapiro also doesn’t care that corporations don’t have a conscience and following his natural line of conservative principles to their logical conclusion would result in societal chaos and collapse. Interesting viewpoint for a man who wears his Yarmulke everywhere he goes. I wonder how he reconciles religious principles with his politics.

Today we even have the 'prosperity evangelicals' who actually believe that if you pray hard enough God will bring you monetary wealth. I guess they must have been reading a different version of the Bible where the meek shall inherit the wealth.

With the global income gap only getting bigger each year, particularly in the United States, something has to give somewhere.


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