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Cass Sunstein – Revisited

Now that Congress and President Obama’s health care bill has been signed into law, it’s time to revisit the views of some of the people who advise him to gain a better understanding of how their influence can affect the lives of Americans who will receive care under this brave new health system. I begin by taking a look at the President’s adviser from the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Cass Sunstein.

“In his 2008 book, “Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness,” Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler discussed multiple legal scenarios regarding organ donation. One possibility presented in the book, termed by Sunstein as “routine removal,” posits that “the state owns the rights to body parts of people who are dead or in certain hopeless conditions, and it can remove their organs without asking anyone’s permission.”

“Though it may sound grotesque, routine removal is not impossible to defend,” wrote Sunstein. “In theory, it would save lives, and it would do so without intruding on anyone who has any prospect for life.” (Source: http://www.wnd.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=112757)

With all due respect to Mr. Sunstein, while the government may have staked its claim to our labors and even a portion of our property through taxes, it does NOT own our bodies whether we are dead or alive. Our life, and inherently the body in which we live it, is an inalienable right given to us by our Creator as described in our Declaration of Independence. That right is not just for some Americans, those whom the government deems fit to live. It is guaranteed for all Americans regardless of health, productivity, “hopeless condition” or any other qualification our government officials choose to use.

How did we come to accept having a person advising our president with views so diametrically opposed to that outlined by our Founding Fathers?

Pardon my flag-waving moment here. My observations are that Americans as a people are generally kind-hearted. We are almost always willing to reach out and help each other in a time of need, both at home and abroad. Our generosity to other countries in times of disaster, man-made or otherwise, is commendable. It is something I think most of us are happy to do with no more expectation in return than a heart-felt “thank you” and good wishes for us in the future. We’ve come to accept that instead we may receive a healthy helping of criticism for our efforts. Yet, it does not stop us from continuing to try to help.

We don’t enjoy seeing our fellow man suffer no matter where in the world they live. We like to believe in the best of ourselves on an individual level as well as a nation. We like to believe others are good and well-intentioned.

This optimism generally serves us well in that it creates an atmosphere where even the poorest among us can find hope for the opportunity to provide a better life for his family than his ancestors did. We inherently understand that it takes hard work and determination, things of which most Americans are not afraid. Most of us buy into the idea that if we can dream it, we can achieve it even when our circumstances don’t seem to warrant such brazen optimism.

We don’t like to think about evil, and some of us don’t believe it actually exists. Some believe that if evil does happen to us, we’ve brought it on ourselves. Because of our collective humanist belief that people are good and well-meaning, we ignored the signs warning of the acts of September 11, 2001. Nearly three thousand innocent people who were simply going about their daily lives lost their life that day. We tend to take a reactionary path after bad things happen rather than a proactive stance toward prevention. This has given some a reason to criticize our continued participation in the war on terror both here at home and abroad.

Because we are generally an optimistic society believing that we can have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, we also choose to believe that our government also has our best interests at heart and does not wish to intrude upon our lives to do us harm. Despite written documentation to the contrary, we don’t want to believe that anyone in our government might actually be willing to sacrifice a helpless person in a “hopeless condition” such as a loved one who is severely autistic or one who has some other physical or mental illness, for the benefit of someone the government deems as more productive who would provide more tax dollars to feed the government beast. Beware! Any person who espouses the use of body parts from people in “certain hopeless conditions” is not above deeming that an aging parent who is in declining years is also in a “hopeless condition” and therefore not fit to live.

What we Americans fail to remember is that all of human nature is flawed and we are not exempt. America’s Founding Fathers understood this Judeo-Christian concept very well. They also understood that given the power to do so, man will rule with tyranny over his fellow man. Once given this power, the people will have great difficulty in prying it from the rulers’ hands. They understood that power is also an addictive drug.

Not convinced? One only has to study world history to realize that evil does exist and it is not confined to one continent or group of people. Many a nation throughout history have been led into enslaving government systems by promises of the government apparatus providing health, wealth and prosperity for the masses. Vladimir Lenin used the metaphor of the promised land to enslave Russia into communism. Adolf Hitler used the same ideas of prosperity for all to install National Socialism (aka Nazism) in Germany. Germany under Hitler did not start out to be what we think of as the Nazi’s at the end of World War II. Over the course of a few years though she sank into a state where the government controlled every aspect of life, disallowing any form of public dissent and squashing opposition at every turn to the point of mass murder.

We in America are on a VERY slippery slope toward this end whether the people who support this administration want to believe it or not. We as a society have turned a blind eye to ideas such as those espoused by Mr. Sunstein as well as other equally horrifying ideas. We hang on to the hope that the people in power in this country won’t really resort to such things to save money even when these ideas have been as clearly documented as in Mr. Sunstein’s book. We want to believe that our lives are of more value to our government leaders than this. Enough of us still stick our heads in the proverbial sand, somehow thinking our leaders in Washington couldn’t possibly mean these things. We choose to believe they still have our best interests at heart even when they refuse to listen to the protests of “We The People” and call those who oppose them on policy “racist.”

We in America are humbled to have been blessed with many things that people of other countries are not given the opportunity to enjoy. Our entrepreneurial spirit and our willingness to be the trailblazers are some of our most admirable qualities not always found in other countries. However, to think that our (American) human nature less subject to the influences of evil, that we and our government leadership are any more righteous than others throughout human history, is simply illogical.

Copyright © 2010 by One Write Angle™
All rights reserved.

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