An attack on conservative ideology reveals that the state works miracles according to the theology of progressives.
Nicholas Kristof attacked Paul Ryan in his New York Times column yesterday and, in so doing, exposed the role of the state in his political theology. It starts this way:
A woman who had been bleeding for 12 years came up behind Jesus and touched his clothes in hope of a cure. Jesus turned to her and said: “Fear not. Because of your faith, you are now healed.”
Then spoke Pious Paul of Ryan: “But teacher, is that wise? When you cure her, she learns dependency. Then the poor won’t take care of themselves, knowing that you’ll always bail them out! You must teach them personal responsibility!”
First of all, I think Kristof is giving Paul Ryan too much credit. The champion of Obamacare Lite doesn’t match up with the Ryan of his opinion column.
But the major takeaway from Kristof’s piece is what it tells us about his theology. Kritof is allowing Jesus the miracle-worker who can heal at no cost to represent his vision of the federal government. In Kristof’s theology, the state is a miracle worker. It is God incarnate with no limitations and infinite resources.
There’s a long history behind this idea. Consider what one philosopher has written:
From G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophy of History in Jacob Loewenberg (ed.), Hegel: Selections (New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1929), pp. 388-89: “The State is the march of God through the World, its ground is the power of reason realizing itself as will.” And: “We must … worship the State as the manifestation of the Divine on Earth.”
So, it is not hard for a progressive to see a close similarity between a state program to “provide” (i.e. force people to buy) health insurance and Jesus healing the sick.
The other assumption of Kristof’s column is that a syndicate that exists by plundering those in its power can claim to be virtuous by allocating some fraction of their loot to good deeds. Throughout the piece, he treats “Paul Ryan’s” objections to helping the needy as if they apply to personal charity. In other words, he identifies a program run by federal workers, who are well-paid for their work, with personal charity.
Barack Obama’s lying campaign, falsely assuring people they could keep their doctor, was all identical to personal charity motivated by compassion. Forcing “The Little Sisters of the Poor” to fund contraception and abortion is an act of personal charity motivated by compassion. Doubling the amount of money a family (like my own) has to pay out for health insurance, while massively increasing deductibles, is an act of personal charity and compassion.
Anyone who believes that the army of tax feeders who coerce our behavior and spend our money are giving to charity is a fool. But in Kristof’s theology the state is as virtuous as a charitable person. And anyone who warns against the crippling societal consequences giving the sick over to this army of tax feeders is really against charity.
Truly this theology is Satanic. “Satan” means “the Accuser.” It justifies itself by making accusations against anyone who warns against it.