Friday, October 05, 2007


Something in the air this week? Suddenly two New York Times op-ed pieces are about the basic philosophies of conservatives. David Brooks writes about the "creedal" and "dispositional" schools of conservatism, the ones I'd call "Bugger off, I've got mine" and "barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen" schools, respectively. But then I'm not a conservative, though I would certainly count as the intended victim of both of those noble schools of thought.

Krugman also writes about conservatives, and he's a little bit more like me in eschewing fancy words and noble language (which hides some very tacky things) and just going straight for the real sliminess:

Today's leading conservatives are Reagan's heirs. If you're poor, if you don't have health insurance, if you're sick — well, they don't think it's a serious issue. In fact, they think it's funny.

On Wednesday, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have expanded S-chip, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, providing health insurance to an estimated 3.8 million children who would otherwise lack coverage.

In anticipation of the veto, William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, had this to say: "First of all, whenever I hear anything described as a heartless assault on our children, I tend to think it's a good idea. I'm happy that the president's willing to do something bad for the kids." Heh-heh-heh.

Most conservatives are more careful than Mr. Kristol. They try to preserve the appearance that they really do care about those less fortunate than themselves. But the truth is that they aren't bothered by the fact that almost nine million children in America lack health insurance. They don't think it's a problem.

"I mean, people have access to health care in America," said Mr. Bush in July. "After all, you just go to an emergency room."

By the way, I'm not being snarky here because of the philosophizing. Indeed, Linda Hirshman has started an interesting series of posts on the need to discuss liberal principles, too. I just decided that nobody likes to read thoughtful posts because they are like a mouse squeaking in the wall.