Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Blunt Instrument

The patient is now not quite dead but in the intensive care unit, the Republican Party, that is. And although not completely dead we know what the cause of the problem is. It’s called the Blunt Amendment #1520, Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. As I understand it, this not only provides an exception for the Catholic Church to refuse to provide contraception for employees of the Church, whether they are Catholics or not, but goes so far as to claim that any employer of any kind could refuse to provide any particular medical care whatsoever if they believed it was against their moral or religious conscience. I believe it is fair to describe this as a blunt instrument. I also believe it will contribute to the eventual demise of the Republican Party.

The Republicans in the past few years have demonstrated an uncanny ability to place themselves on the wrong side of virtually every issue of importance to ordinary citizens. They have displayed an ignorance of human social and cultural life, and the requirements for successful community life that is truly mind boggling, being opposed as they are to even the most basic amenities and necessities of life for the 99%. I need not recount all of these here, they are well known: unions, minimum wages, health care, unemployment insurance, food stamps, education, and etc.

This amendment by Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri reveals their incredible ignorance of even the most basic requirements for human social life. It is all at once the most mindless, stupid, destructive, impractical, unworkable, short-sighted, idiotic, poorly conceived, and completely ridiculous piece of legislation I have ever even imagined, let alone seen. In effect it does away with any and all forms of health care except those left up to the whims of employers. Thus if your employer, for example, does not believe in modern medicine, but, rather, in prayer, it doesn’t matter what you believe, the decision will be made for you. If your employer doesn’t believe in contraception you’re out of luck on that score as well. If he or she believes all illness is caused by sorcery or witchcraft watch out for your relatives and friends. In fact your employer can plead any absurd belief they want to deny you health care. This idea, if it were ever to pass, would lead to complete chaos as far as health care goes. It was apparently spawned by Obama’s insistence that Catholic businesses, like Hospitals and Universities (not Churches) should be required to provide contraception for their non-Catholic employees. The Catholic Bishops, a bunch of old mostly White men, who dress up in medieval robes and silly hats, objected on the grounds that Obama’s decision infringed upon religious liberties, and maintained their objection to contraception (even though some 98% of Catholic women use contraception). So Obama, not wanting to lose the Catholic vote modified his plan so the Church itself would not have to provide contraception, the insurance companies would pick up the tab. Although many important Catholic organizations thought this was a fine compromise, the Bishops claimed not to be satisfied. Republicans, of course, seized on the issue to make it into a grave political issue and Blunt conceived of his blunt instrument to turn a rather minor problem into an attack on the very nature of health care, part of their broader attack on women, women’s rights, abortion, and contraception.

What is so troubling about this is not the amendment itself, but, rather, what it reveals of the Republican Party and their approach to the most basic fundamentals of human social life. It is so extreme, so stupid and thoughtless, you have to wonder if they have enough intelligence to even dress themselves. Lest you believe this is merely the idiocy of Roy Blunt himself, consider that he has twenty co-sponsors, including the major players in the Republican Party. That such an absurd amendment could be seriously put forward, with twenty Republican co-sponsors, should be proof enough of just how intellectually bankrupt the Republican Party of today really is. By doing this they have betrayed a basic contempt for society itself, perfectly consistent with their idiotic and discredited social Darwinism. Putting power in their hands is the equivalent of giving children nitro-glycerin as a plaything.

Wise men profit more from fools than fools from wise men; for the wise men shun the mistakes of fools, but fools do not imitate the successes of the wise.

Cato the Elder

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