The nasty label of “liberal” has been stuck on some people because they favor public schools, public highways and Social Security, and simpler programs of Medicare and Medicaid for the old and the poor. Some even want Medicare for all, or a version of it; call it equitable care – EquiCare. Liberals also favor such socialistic programs as a tax-paid police force and an effective national army. In the long ago good old days of conservatism, we lacked all of the above.
At the same time, liberals are accused of being “conservative” because they favor free trade. That is, many believe in the righteous power of the marketplace so long as it is protected from false weights and measures ‒ such as high tariffs, quotas and other sanctions once designed to protect the American auto and electronics industries. We know how that turned out.
And what of sanctions, as in the possible case with Russia, Iran and others who provoke our ire? Kansas farmers should be well aware of the results of sanctions, embargoes and economic reprisals for political purposes. What has happened to our wheat, corn and beef exports?
Then we have the puritan putsch to junk, or “de-fund,” the Affordable Care Act, the reform that brought a sliver of sanity to our system of health care. The recall campaign is laced with incantations against socialized medicine in America. This is wasted effort, for we already have socialized medicine. People who get sick and can’t afford the cost of getting well head for the emergency room at a hospital. There they are treated at no charge, the cost passed on to the rest of us ‒ socialized medicine in the raw.
We shout for free enterprise but rarely practice it. We teach courses in entrepreneurship and exercise it through Statehouse and Washington lobbies, all the while proclaiming our purity of spirit. Texas, that bastion of free will, bulwark of independents and states’ rights, will again be saved by billions in federal aid. Louisiana, too. And Kansas, after the fires, the storms, the drought.
The best practical definition of a “puritan” that we can evoke is of people who would remake the world in their own image, according to their own values and rules, a form of humanism carried to an extreme. By this definition, Marxists who would tailor the world to their dogma are puritans. Equally puritanical are those who find socialism the greatest menace. How’s that for putting Marxists and Capitalists in the same bed?
Liberal or conservative, pro-choice or pro-life, Obamacare or NoMoreCare, we seem to be puritans all, ready to burn at the stake any who dare to disagree. – JOHN MARSHALL