I likely have a warped perspective on the whole Obamacare thing because I am one of its first victims. This thing is not only a political and policy disaster for the nation, but a very personal one for me. In that link I just made I compared it to a trip to Wonderland because as Jonah Goldberg said this morning:
If you can’t take some joy, some modicum of relief and mirth, in the unprecedentedly spectacular beclowning of the president, his administration, its enablers, and, to no small degree, liberalism itself, then you need to ask yourself why you’re following politics in the first place. Because, frankly, this has been one of the most enjoyable political moments of my lifetime. I wake up in the morning and rush to find my just-delivered newspaper with a joyful expectation of worsening news so intense, I feel like Morgan Freeman should be narrating my trek to the front lawn. Indeed, not since Dan Rather handcuffed himself to a fraudulent typewriter, hurled it into the abyss, and saw his career plummet like Ted Kennedy was behind the wheel have I enjoyed a story more.
Alas, the English language is not well equipped to capture the sensation I’m describing, which is why we must all thank the Germans for giving us the term “schadenfreude” — the joy one feels at the misfortune or failure of others. The primary wellspring of schadenfreude can be attributed to Barack Obama’s hubris — another immigrant word, which means a sinful pride or arrogance that causes someone to believe he has a godlike immunity to the rules of life.
However, such mirth was an effort to cope with, not deny, the very real possibility that as I entered the time of life when I most need health insurance I was finding it elusive. (That and Jonah’s right – this failure is so huge its comic – at those moments when I can remove myself from the personal struggle.) My personal plight has ended not because Obamacare worked but through the grace of my wife’s employer and so I can turn a bit to objectivity.
Goldberg’s piece is excellent this morning, as is James Taranto yesterday, if without the mirth:
So this was a deliberate misstating of the truth. By raising the possibility of “good intentions,” the Post-Gazette editorialists seem to be suggesting that it was a sort of noble lie. “The furor of the supposed great lie is an embarrassment to Mr. Obama,” they concede in conclusion, “but it obscures the larger and more important truth that the Affordable Care Act remains good policy.”
That evaluation seems increasingly delusional with every passing hour, but let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that ObamaCare was a well-intended policy: that Obama pushed for it out of a sincere desire to help people. That would make its failure an example of what the scholar Barbara Oakley calls pathological altruism.
That seems to us, however, to give Obama too much credit. For one thing, it takes more than altruistic motives to justify lying. Suppose one could establish that Bernie Madoff sincerely wanted to make his clients wealthier. Would that mitigate his guilt for defrauding them?
Further, good intentions are not the same as pure intentions. People often have altruistic and selfish motives for the same action. Even if we assume Obama honestly wanted to help people and made his fraudulent promise in pursuit of that goal, it would be silly to deny he also made it in pursuit of his own aggrandizement–of the approbation that comes with a “legacy” of substantial “achievement.”
Of course, that’s not working out so well for him now. Whether or not this is a case of pathological altruism, it definitely is pathological narcissism.
What is truly troubling is that the so well diagnosed “pathological narcissism” extends beyond Obama. The hubris evident in the conception, passage and execution of this monstrosity is deeply troubling. Vast swaths of our elected officialdom had to suspend reality, or be willfully ignorant to get this to happen to begin with. Large portions of the administration had to actively conceal problems from the top echelons of our government for them to have any form of denial possible. (Our arduous and complex civil service rules are designed in part to prevent such things from happening. – That’s another thing that has to come out of all this is a reexamination of how the civil service could be so cowed.)
As I listened to yesterday’s Hugh Hewitt interview with Obamacare “architect” John Guber, my first thought was that the man was not a college academic but a pure propagandist. But on relfection I don’t think so. He is so pathologically narcissistic that he is capable of holding reality at bay. His ego could not suffer the intrusion of this reality.
There are two bottom line lessons of faith. The first is that there is something much bigger than us out there. The second is corollary – we don’t measure up to that much bigger thing. That’s reality folks. We cannot make the world, we can only live in it and play by its rules.
Government is the accumulation of power. Religion is the reminder that there are limits to our power. This disaster contains a lesson not just for Obama, not just for Democrats, but for all of us.
Faith serves to ground us in reality, not remove us from it.