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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fr. Sirico, Hyperbole and Health Care Reform

Fr. Sirico has expressed concern about the unfair descriptions of Ayn Rand. He is upset about the “hyperbolic” critiques of her thought. He is worried about Paul Ryan and others being “tarred and feathered” in a “McCarthyism” way because of kind words they have said towards Ayn Rand. It is for the sake of civility and high-minded discourse, Fr. Sirico would have us believe, that he calls for care in denunciations of her and of politicians associated with her. As I wrote earlier, this is exactly the kind of “salt and light” influence that we all should hope for when clergy engage in public debate. Fr. Sirico has set a model of this charitable spirit in his essay, but I have challenged him to consider how his actions towards President Obama square with this sudden desire for civility. Thus far I have focused on how Sirico has criticized Obama’s visits to Notre Dame and Georgetown. Now I want to zero in on the language that Fr. Sirico and his Acton Institute have used with respect to the central domestic policy issue of Obama’s presidency, healthcare reform. Has Fr. Sirico avoided “hyperbole”? Has he steared clear of “McCarthyism”? Has he employed “images…in a dishonest way?” You be the judge.


Consider our neighbor Cuba off the shore of Key West. When conservatives criticize Castro’s (permanent) revolutionary regime by noting the utter lack of civil rights and liberties, sympathetic defenders leap forth to proclaim that civil rights aren’t everything. The Cubans, they say, have economic rights. For example, they have socialized medicine. But readers, the defenders of the Cuban travesty have confused economic rights for economic dependency. Private property is an economic right. The fruit of one’s labors is an economic right. Having the government give things to you is more like a voluntary addiction. The Cubans have their healthcare, but they live in a nation where forward progress nearly came to a halt in the 1960s and they have no voice. They are dependent on a government that acts like a bad boyfriend, sometimes kind but more often abusive.
Is it unfair or extreme to bring up the example of Cuba? We are, of course, so very far from their circumstances. The point is not to provoke fear, but to promote reflection. Once government begins to control something, it rarely relinquishes that control. If our government increases its role in providing healthcare to citizens, it will limit the freedoms of doctors, pharmacists, patients, hospitals, and others.


Here Fr. Sirico describes “The Parched Wilderness of Socialized Medicine”.

Here his Institute produces a video about “socialized government healthcare”. Are the graphics and the images done in “a dishonest way”? 

Here he says "This 'reform' will create a system that will put bureaucrats in charge of personal health care decisions -- not doctors. It will give the federal government an avenue to nationalize more than 15 percent of the U.S. economy, thus putting bureaucrats and elected officials in the role of manager and regulator -- much as we’ve seen in banking and automobiles."

1 comment:

  1. My problem with Obamacare is more of a type. After all Bureaucrats already are in charge of health care decisions- bureaucrats in private insurance companies. Obamacare just gives those insurance companies more customers by giving them a government-sponsored advertising campaign in response to certain concessions on contracts (the exchanges).

    It would have been more interesting had Obama listened to Catholics talk about solidarity and subsidiarity in health care- and had instead, set up hospitals and clinics on the same model as the public school system- paid for by property taxes and owned by the locals who used them, responsive to an elected board of directors instead of to shareholders.