While I was on vacation in North Dakota (totally off my computer and non-ESPN television), two significant events broke, and I am only now catching up on them.
The first event concerned a murder in South Carolina of nine black churchgoers by a white supremacist, and the ensuing public reaction. Inexplicably, the murder caused a mass movement to ostracize anything related to the antebellum South, especially the display of the Confederate flag.
Today the movement spread to San Antonio, where our leading politician, Julian Castro, boldly asked that Robert E. Lee high school be renamed. I am not being facetious in using the term “boldly” because Castro doesn’t typically act precipitously before checking on the direction of the wind, and there has been a lot of backlash to his suggestion. I suspect his action is directed more for nationwide approval, and he doesn’t have to worry about aggravating the piddling number of local alumni of Robert E. Lee HS.
Personally, I have always been torn by my affection for the Confederacy as a symbol of states’ rights and my deference to black people who resent it as a symbol of slavery. Because of that conflict, I don’t think governments should memorialize the cause, but we should be able to memorialize valiant conduct of individuals like Lee. Hell, we Americans seem to have reasonable opinion of Patton’s WWII adversary Rommel, the Desert Fox.
The second event was the Supreme Court rejection of an argument that federal exchanges for ObamaCare should not be allowed to give subsidies. Although the argument seemed strong to me (Scalia thinks the name ObamaCare should be changed to ScotusCare because the Supreme Court has twice saved it), the NT Times confidently declared that the argument was preposterous. I’ve long been in the camp of those wanting to end ObamaCare, but admit that the GOP has not suggested what should replace it. All Americans are entitled to healthcare, and it doesn’t make sense to route so many people to an emergency room with nonthreatening problems.
An aspect of this matter, however, that has not received much attention is that the premium subsidy that is provided to millions of Americans is really welfare – i.e., needed-based government expenditures. Romney referred to the 47% of Americans who live off government benefits, but that includes Social Security. It would have been more interesting to focus on needs-based benefits – welfare – because America might be reaching a critical mass of those people, too, and then America will begin to resemble a socialist country – i.e., from each according to their ability, and to each according to their needs.