The Price of Lazy Morality for Democrats
The silence with intermittent bursts of emotion coming out of the Democratic Party is nauseating. It’s not as if they’ve spent the last 8 years propagating sound principles of governance that were rigorous in their articulation and execution.
We have an immigration mess because there hasn’t been a consistent governing strategy found on worked out principles of justice regarding immigration. Nor has there been a thoroughgoing intellectual investigation about the justice of the US global economy, just transnational agreements the size of phonebooks written by everyone except workers.
The Democrats have been Republican-lite since the mid-Clinton years, and the withering away of any principled, public, positive articulation of where the Democrats see the role of government in public life has led us here.
For example, I just saw this:
“Women’s rights are not a government issue. They are a personal issue that should be left up to the individual women themselves.”
If you don’t know by now, this is incoherent. In order to exercise good judgement, that woman is going to need access to information concerning how a pregnancy and child affects her life. This should be a part of any compulsory education into responsible citizenship. In order to exercise that right to a medical procedure, that woman also needs access to a doctor, that means government funded healthcare as a matter of right.
Now we are at least talking about government funding for planned parenthood or a public option and the publicity of rights, which usually calls for some sort of media apparatus like schools and PBS. So if you want the government to enable conversations about the provisions we need to satisfy rights and then support the services needed to exercise those rights, and provide the legal care so that not only people with access to private lawyers can avail themselves to and contest their rights with impunity, then we need to admit that all rights are a government issue.
The Democrats could have been teaching America this for the last eight years. The Democrats should have been teaching America this since the 90s, but instead, we’ve been too distracted by poll readers and the minor consolation that comes with having an emotional, rather than richer intellectual, attachment to the right side of the issue. All the while, the right has been figuring out who they are and what that means.
It’s so bad that we find ourselves so lost for justifications that the only way to defend a rights claim is by parroting a “small government” argument, and then we are surprised when the small government Republicans out maneuver us on that terrain.