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- Photo Of The Day: Keihan Train, Japan
- Photo Of The Day: The Shores Of Lake Biwa, Japan
- The View From Our House This Morning
- Last Views Of China
- Jesus Was Not A Victim
- Canceled Policies And Denied Care Are A Feature, Not A Bug, Of ObamaCare
- What Happens When A Political Messiah Fails?
- A Devastating Obamacare Ad
- A Comparison of the Chinese and American Aircraft Carrier Fleets
- Designer Makes Women's High Heels From Horses' Hooves
- 1936: Man Refuses To Give The Nazi Salute
- Why The US Is Still The Number One Economy In The World, And Will Remain So For A Very, Very Long Time
- Photo Of The Day: Keihan Train, Japan
- Chinese Ghost Cities: How and Why They Exist
- The Truth About "Vain Imaginations"
- New For The Holidays: Oak Ridge Whiskey, Aged By Radiation
- A Touch From Heaven
- China may be Rich, but the Chinese People are Very Poor
This is Mount Hira in Otsu, Shiga, Japan. The view looks so different from the views we had last week in Shanghai!
It seems that everyone nowadays wants to reinterpret Jesus to suit their own sensibilities or political agendas, and so many people speculating on what Jesus would look like if he came today imagine him somehow as a homeless wretch, a Palestinian refugee, or even a poor black girl with no hope of a future.
It is true that Jesus identified with the downtrodden and suffering, and was downtrodden and suffered himself:
He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
Isaiah 53: 2-4
However, it is important to note that Jesus was not a victim. Unlike people of the world who are born into misery or suffer affliction without having had a choice, Jesus suffered because it was part of God’s plan and because it was something that he chose to do. At any point in his life on earth, he could have walked away from things and returned to being a humble carpenter, or he could have enjoyed the riches of the world as a political leader. He went to Jerusalem knowing that he was going to be arrested and die on the cross. Whatever suffering Jesus had in his life was something that he allowed.
Jesus would therefore be homeless, but not a wretch; a refugee, but not someone seeking help or sympathy from others; a poor black girl, maybe, but one with hopes of a bright future. Not once in Scripture do we ever see Jesus whining, complaining that life was unfair, or begging for bread. His life was of his own choosing, and he looked to God–not man–to supply all his needs.
We say this not to condemn people who have unfortunate lives, as we have been poor and homeless ourselves. Rather, we say this to point out that many people have distorted the Gospel message. The Gospel message is not Jesus, dead on the cross; but, Jesus Christ, tortured, humiliated, scorned, and crucified, resurrected in triumph to walk the earth again and then sit at the right hand of his Father in Heaven, having defeated all of his foes, not with the sword or bloodshed, or government programs or handouts, but with truth, righteousness, and the power of God. The message of the Gospel is not one of defeat, or even victory through the power of human flesh: It is of total victory through the Holy Spirit and faith in God, where we overcome every hardship that befalls us.
This is a very different Jesus from what the unwashed, pagan world imagines Jesus to be.
In the Wall Street Journal, Stephen Blackwood tells the heart-wrenching story of how his mother lost her health insurance because of ObamaCare, and now cannot find an insurance plan that covers the medical treatment that is keeping her alive. As the medicine involved has cost her out-of-pocket $14,000 in just a few short months since her insurance was canceled, in the long-term she needs to have an insurance plan that covers her treatment, or she will die.
The news was dumbfounding. This is a woman who had an affordable health plan that covered her condition. Our lawmakers weren’t happy with that because . . . they wanted plans that were affordable and covered her condition. So they gave her a new one. It doesn’t cover her condition and it’s completely unaffordable.
Though I’m no expert on ObamaCare (at 10,000 pages, who could be?), I understand that the intention—or at least the rhetorical justification—of this legislation was to provide coverage for those who didn’t have it. But there is something deeply and incontestably perverse about a law that so distorts and undermines the free activity of individuals that they can no longer buy and sell the goods and services that keep them alive. ObamaCare made my mother’s old plan illegal, and it forced her to buy a new plan that would accelerate her disease and death. She awaits an appeal with her insurer.
Will this injustice be remedied, for her and for millions of others? Or is my mother to die because she can no longer afford the treatment that keeps her alive?
What Blackwood and many others do not realize is that having his mother’s insurance canceled and having her care denied is a feature, not a bug, of ObamaCare.
For years, health-care wonks have been talking about bending down the cost curve of medical treatment. By bending down the cost curve, they are not so much referring to the price individual consumers pay for health care, but to the overall cost of health care in the US. While conservatives have been inclined to suggest free-market reforms, liberals have been inclined towards having more centralized government control of the health-care system, and towards denying expensive treatment. As former Colorado governor Richard Lamm famously said,
Elderly people who are terminally ill have a ”duty to die and get out of the way” instead of trying to prolong their lives by artificial means … People who die without having life artificially extended are similar to ”leaves falling off a tree and forming humus for the other plants to grow up,” the Governor told a meeting of the Colorado Health Lawyers Association at St. Joseph’s Hospital. ”You’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way … Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.”
Or, as Nobel laureate Paul Krugman has said numerous times regarding government health-care programs,
[H]ealth care costs will have to be controlled, which will surely require having Medicare and Medicaid decide what they’re willing to pay for—not really death panels, of course, but consideration of medical effectiveness and, at some point, how much we’re willing to spend for extreme care.
When it comes to ObamaCare, effectively this means having what Krugman calls “death panels”:
Then we have the former editor of the New York Times, Bill Keller, writing about a young woman currently undergoing potentially life-saving cancer treatment,
[In Britain], more routinely than in the United States, patients are offered the option of being unplugged from everything except pain killers and allowed to slip peacefully from life. His death seemed to me a humane and honorable alternative to the frantic medical trench warfare that often makes an expensive misery of death in America.
Among doctors here, there is a growing appreciation of palliative care that favors the quality of the remaining life rather than endless “heroic measures” that may or may not prolong life but assure the final days are clamorous, tense and painful. (And they often leave survivors bankrupt.) What Britain and other countries know, and my country is learning, is that every cancer need not be Verdun, a war of attrition waged regardless of the cost or the casualties. It seemed to me, and still does, that there is something enviable about going gently.
In short, Keller was wanting the woman to forgo treatment and die, as it would be cheaper and somehow better this way.
The policy wonks that put together ObamaCare came from exactly the same fetid swamp as these creatures, and have on a few occasions pretty much acknowledged that their goal was not so much to ensure lower health-care prices for individuals, but a lowering of overall health-care costs for the nation. Basically, they are advocating lowering health-care costs by denying expensive treatment.
Let’s then go back to Stephen Blackwood’s mother. She is terminally ill and cannot be cured with medical treatments now available, but she may be able to live almost indefinitely if she receives a treatment that costs $14,000 over a two or three month period. It was not a mistake that her insurance was canceled and this treatment is now being denied to her: It was part of the plan all along.
This is the human price of ObamaCare and liberal health-care policies.
In the Weekly Standard, professor James W. Ceaser of the University of Virginia has an excellent piece on messianism, cognitive dissonance, and the coping mechanism true believers use when they discover that they have been hoodwinked. He explains that there are now three classes of people who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012: Deniers, deflectors, and accepters. As usual, you should read the whole article, but we would like to draw your attention to the last paragraph, quoted here in full:
Winning any particular election is a matter of a party finding the right fit between message, candidate, and mood. Republicans stand to be the natural beneficiaries of the Great Disappointment, but they paradoxically may be at greater risk than Democrats of mistaking the nation’s mood. The GOP’s champions are those whose judgments of Obamaism have been vindicated. Yet a celebration of vindication is unlikely to fit the temper of most accepters. The overriding sentiment in the post-disappointment period will be a yearning to be done with political messianism and to return politics to the political. Accessing this mood has nothing to do with disowning strong positions. It has everything to do with selecting a candidate in 2016 of steady disposition who has a track record of competently handling the public’s affairs. Republicans would do well to listen to a genuine prophet, Isaiah: “Be calm, have no fear, and do not be fainthearted.”
The upshot is that many of Obama’s supporters never really liked him. Or rather, the only found him “likeable enough”. That is, they liked the idea of Obama, and they liked themselves for supporting him, but not the man himself. They had much less emotional investment in their support for Obama than detractors did in their disdain. Now that Obama has been shown for the snake-oil salesman that he is, the reaction of these “accepters” has been, “Meh, all politicians are liars anyways. I knew from the beginning that he was a fraud, but he was still better than Bush.” Thus, they can attempt to avoid taking responsibility for what has transpired, and have given themselves an excuse to continue clinging to the failed policies of a failed political movement and president.
This creates some danger for the GOP in the 2016 general election. A nominee who is triumphalist in his or her approach to campaigning and who exults in schadenfreude will no doubt get a lot of support from conservatives and even many independents, but will turn off Obama voters. This does not mean that someone such as Ted Cruz or Rand Paul will necessarily lose the election, as likely these voters will simply stay home on election day. However, it means that unless things get radically worse between now and election day (a possibility), we should not expect to see a sea change in the electorate as we did in 1980 given the appeal of candidates now expected to be in the race. The political polarization and instability that the US has suffering is thus likely to continue past the 2016 election, and may indeed get worse.