Monday, December 30, 2013

For Your Own Good

Several times during discussions of the various glitches and calamities wrought by the ACA (Obamacare) defenders of the law have informed us, in so many words, that the government knows best what sort of health care people should have and that if you're losing your insurance it probably wasn't a good policy anyway. Their hubris reminds me of a quote from C.S. Lewis in his 1948 collection of essays God in the Dock:
Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
It is the conceit of modern progressivism that the liberal elites know what's best for you and they're going to impose their will on you for your own good. We see it in New York City where Mayor Bloomberg tried to limit the size of the soft drinks you could buy and the amount of fat in the food you eat. We see it in the attempt to ban smoking even on one's own property and in one's own home. It's always done "for our own good," by people who feel it's their mission in life to oversee your every decision. That's the progressive mindset. It infantilizes people. Lewis had it pegged perfectly:
They (progressives) may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be "cured" against one's will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.
That in a nutshell is how liberals regard the inferior classes. They see them alternatively as either children to be coddled, animals to be herded, or imbeciles unable to feed and care for themselves and in need of government to make them wash behind their ears and eat their vegetables. The liberal mindset is more than just silly, however, it's insidious because it's dehumanizing. It deprives men of their dignity and their freedom, and enslaves them to tyrannical elitist nannies who presume to know what's best for them better than they do.

They're a milder sort of people, but in the same genus, Camus describes in his book The Rebel when he says that the writer Baudelaire thought that the real saint is the man who flogs and kills people for their own good.

May heaven deliver us from those who seek to run our lives for our own good.