I think I'll wrap up the classical conservatism series today where I left off with Part VI. In Part VI, I addressed the lunacy of how the GOP has been dealing with Obamacare, and it is looking, again, like their repeal efforts will fail (although I still wouldn't put the probability at 0). Still, let's take a moment to look back at the process and some basic pathologies.
In Part III, I pointed out that the pathology of classical conservatism, if taken to its extreme, is anti-intellectualism in the form of rejectionism. Don't bother with anything, it won't work. Nothing ever works, so never try to do anything. Classical conservatism, particularly of the Oakeshott variety, is motivated by the law of unintended consequences, but if you are myopically focused on the law of unintended consequences, then you never consider the possibility of intentionally achieving anything. That is an anti-intellectual pathology. Of course, modern liberalism has a pathology too. Take modern liberalism-- at least of the economic variety-- to its extreme, and you have the following: a government program for every problem. What's that you've got? Well, hey there! I've got a government program for you! There's a problem somewhere?! Let's create a new government program! What happens if you take that too far? You have the opposite pathology from conservatism.
Most importantly, you have a pathology that requires classical conservatism because every government program has unintended consequences, and modern liberals, with their trust in government's ability to solve problems, tend not to consider those consequences. And that brings me back to the Obamacare issues.
Consider the counties that currently lack insurers. The ACA has a tax penalty mandate/Schrodinger's mandate thingie (fuck you, John Roberts!), but doesn't say anything at all about what happens when there are no insurers willing to sell on exchanges within a county. Gee, wouldn't it have been nice if someone had been asking about that kind of thing during the legislative process? Um, what happens when nobody is willing to sell insurance within a county, but people are still required to buy insurance or pay a tax penalty?
Yeah, that's the kind of unintended consequence that a true, intellectually honest classical conservative would have been asking during the process. Why didn't that kind of thing get addressed? Well, the liberals don't think about stuff like that because they are mushy-headed twerps who ask questions like, "what could possibly go wrong?!" Of course, you know the consequences of asking that question in a work of fiction. Same thing in real life. The conservatives? They're not classical conservatives anymore. They're anti-intellectual rejectionists. Rather than actually thinking through the unintended consequences, they were spreading lies about "death panels."
So, nobody during the debates over the ACA was playing the role of the classical conservative. As a consequence, we have an increasing number of counties with no insurers, and people still required, by law, to purchase insurance or pay a tax penalty. That, in technical, political science terms, is fucked up. And it didn't have to be.
What happens now? I don't know. My point here is merely that the absence of an intellectually honest, rigorous, classical conservative in the process of debating the ACA left a pretty fucking stupid hole in the system. How would the law have been written otherwise? I got no fuckin' clue on that either. Still not the point. The point is that liberals are reckless by nature and don't think through the unintended consequences of their programs because they are overly trusting in the ability of a government program to solve whatever bugs them about the world. That requires a classical conservative, not to "stand athwart history and yell, stop," as that racist, piece of shit, William F. Buckley wanted, but to warn against recklessness, and to think through what the unintended consequences might be. Oakeshott, not Buckley.
Otherwise, you might find yourself with a bunch of people required to buy insurance, and nobody willing to sell it to them.