“Amidst the turbulence and disorder of faction, a certain spirit of system is apt to mix itself with that public spirit which is founded upon the love of humanity, upon a real fellow–feeling with the inconveniencies and distresses to which some of our fellow–citizens may be exposed. This spirit of system commonly takes the direction of that more gentle public spirit; always animates it, and often inflames it even to the madness of fanaticism. The leaders of the discontented party seldom fail to hold out some plausible plan of reformation which, they pretend, will not only remove the inconveniencies and relieve the distresses immediately complained of, but will prevent, in all time coming, any return of the like inconveniencies and distresses. They often propose, upon this account, to new–model the constitution, and to alter, in some of its most essential parts, that system of government under which the subjects of a great empire have enjoyed, perhaps, peace, security, and even glory, during the course of several centuries together. The great body of the party are commonly intoxicated with the imaginary beauty of this ideal system, of which they have no experience, but which has been represented to them in all the most dazzling colours in which the eloquence of their leaders could paint it.
“Some general, and even systematical, idea of the perfection of policy and law, may no doubt be necessary for directing the views of the statesman. But to insist upon establishing, and upon establishing all at once, and in spite of all opposition, every thing which that idea may seem to require, must often be the highest degree of arrogance. It is to erect his own judgment into the supreme standard of right and wrong. It is to fancy himself the only wise and worthy man in the commonwealth, and that his fellow–citizens should accommodate themselves to him and not he to them.”
-Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments, 1759
Don’t get me wrong, over the past year or so I’ve actually become a supporter of the idea of high accessibility in a health care system. This post isn’t against the sentiment contained in the policies currently being voted upon, but rather against the system. Against the process. Against the American policy of waiting until something becomes a crisis before dealing with it, and even then only patching up the leaks in a ship that has lost her mast.
The Tattooed Economist sends his Love