The Corner

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Winning by Addition


Here is Andrew Sullivan responding to Ezra Klein’s paean to socialized health care in the U.K.:

One reason I’m a conservative is the British National Health Service. Until you have lived under socialism, it sounds like a great idea. It isn’t misery – although watching my parents go through the system lately has been nerve-wracking – but there is a basic assumption. The government collective decides everything. You, the individual patient, and you, the individual doctor, are the least of their concerns. I prefer freedom and the market to rationalism and the collective. That’s why I live here.

I know a lot of readers here have a big problem with Andrew, but ask yourself a practical question: Shouldn’t you, at a minimum, want a tactical alliance with somebody who believes this?

I’m not trying to personalize this, but am just trying to use this as an illustration of a broader point. Politics should not define our lives, and consequently, it’s not healthy to look to politics for your soulmates. Think of it as finding a team of people at work who can accomplish practical goals together. Somebody hurt your feelings? You don’t agree with the guy about gay marriage? Whatever. Unless it’s an extreme case, just get over it, and get on with the job at hand.

If you think of it this way, why wouldn’t you go out of your way to try to find areas of commonality and pursue them in the public square, rather than emphasize differences? There’s a simple term for a coalition built in this way — a majority.