A lot of hot air is being spread by both side in the health care debate in the US, and many foreigners, who see no problem in having socialized health care, don’t see the reason why a government take over of the health care system is so abhorrent to many Americans.

Well, it comes down to culture.

Many societies see an elite group running the state, and stress that these elites have the responsibility to care for all under their authority.

This idea is behind the structure of everything from the kingdoms of ancient Egypt and China, the “enlightened (but absolute) monarchs of the Enlightenment, the social welfare programs of Bismark, to modern communism and modern socialism.

In theory, this works, since everyone has a place in the society and is seen necessary to society’s ability to function.

In reality, what tends to occur is that those in charge tend to get more and more power, and more control over those under them.

The elites tended to get inbred, allowing only those who are in their group (by relationships or those with a similar world view/weltanschauung). Breaking into the elite was hard, and changing one’s job and status difficult.  And those who disagreed with the elites often were seen as heretics/traitors, not as “the loyal opposition”.

Now, there is another form of government, where the one making the decision on how to live one’s life is decided not by the society or by the leaders, but by the person himself.

In these countries, the trust for personal decisions goes not from the person to their master, but see ordinary people as having the right to make their own decisions, and posit the idea that the people’s lives should not be interfered with by someone who claims authority over them: because, after all, those in authority are supposed to follow the wishes of the people, not vice versa.

So the ambitious emigrated, as did the malcontents, and those who didn’t want to stay in their limited role dictated to by a class structure, and so did those who wanted to worship in a church that wasn’t recognized by the state.

Or to quote “John Winger” (Bill Murry) in Stripes:

We’re all very different people. We’re not Watusi. We’re not Spartans. We’re Americans, with a capital ‘A’, huh? You know what that means? Do ya? That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog. We’re mutts!

Unless you recognize that a lot of America was populated by those who refused to stay in their place and obey the master, whether it be the government who told you where to worship or Bismark’s welfare state, where changing one’s status was discouraged, or the Philippines, where to get rich you have to have connections.

So what does this mean for the President’s health care bill?

It means a lot of folks vehemently oppose it, not because they oppose helping those without insurance to pay for large medical bills, but because they see it as another government intrusion on their lives.

So for those who wonder “What’s wrong with Kansas” that doesn’t want government programs to help them, the answer is that in a lot of redstate America, people prefer to help themselves, or to get help from family, friends or neighbors, because along with government “help” comes the ability of government to tell you how to run your own life.

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