Wednesday, 13 April 2011

God hates the NHS!

In trying to abolish the National Health Service, Cameron, Clegg and Lansley are only trying to keep us from eternal damnation.


Yes, it's true. According to Rick Santorum (you'll like that link), quondam Republican Senate Chair, healthcare leads directly to hell, and government healthcare = dealing crack.

     “Think about how they view you,” he told the crowd of Republicans. “They view you no different than the drug dealer views the little kid in the school yard. They want to get you hooked, they want to get you dependent. They want to get you relying upon them for your wellbeing. And once they’ve satisfied you, giving them that drug, that narcotic, then you’ll be reliant on them and, by the way, you’ll also be less than what God created you to be.”
     The crowd thundered applause. Santorum talked about statistical proof of American exceptionalism — arguing that life expectancy didn’t increase for thousands of years until America was founded, and then it doubled in 200 years — but kept returning to the importance of next year’s election.
     It’s not enough to preach to committed Republicans and conservatives, Santorum said. “You all need to go out and build your own choir, all over this state, so when 2012 rolls around, you are ready to battle for America’s soul. That’s what’s at stake.”

Theologically of course, he's on to something. In the 17th century, Protestants were keen to throw off the collectivist Catholic inheritance which encouraged charity and Good Works as a path to salvation. In its place (and derived from the Renaissance emergence of individuality) was an emphasis on material life as an index of your spiritual health. Taking its cue from these Bible verses (Genesis 1):

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
the Protestants initiated a programme of imperialism and despoliation which has led us to where we are today: massively unequal and environmentally degraded. Plenty of American evangelicals oppose environmentalism on the grounds that a) pollution is part of the End Times or b) God will sort it out, and it's impertinent to interfere and c) earth's here to be bent to our whims, whatever the consequences. Robinson Crusoe is an early and brilliant exposition of this attitude: the island and Man Friday are the planet and its non-Christian inhabitants who exist only for Robinson's use. His spiritual health is measured by the success of his endeavours.

But the healthcare insanity is part of the other legacy of Protestantism: the idea that you should only look after yourself. If you're rich, it's because you've got God's favour. If you're poor, it's because you're spiritually lacking too. So the richer you are, the more likely it is you're going to heaven. Can you see why the Prosperity Churches and Hollywood-loving sects are doing so well? No more guilt, no more charity, just endless selfishness.

So under this theology, citizens getting together to provide healthcare (that's what government does: it's not being imposed by some kind of dictatorship) challenges God because it detracts from the isolated individualism of the 17th century.

What an enlightened philosophy. Unfortunately, health is a bit trickier. No vaccination for one = danger for everyone else, for instance. It's a public good, not something which should be restricted to the Godly Rich. Unless you're poor old Rick, constantly viewing the poor as some kind of conspiratorial Tools of the Devil.


intelliwench said...

Hmmm, and Santorum being a good Catholic and all. Who'da thunk?

I swear, I'm going to start speaking with an accent and pretending that I'm not from here...

The Plashing Vole said...

Now that's interesting: I didn't realize he was Catholic - he's straying a long way into Protestant heresy with all this!

I like pointing out to rabid pro-Israeli rightwingers that Israel has an excellent state healthcare system. They go a bit cross-eyed trying to work out what to think about it.