“Lack of compassion has become a matter of principle, at least among the GOP’s base,” pontificated New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, adding that the incident demonstrated U.S. politics was now about “different moral visions.” Slate’s Jacob Weisberg lamented that the “Tampa Tea Party mob” wanted to “let the young man go to the devil.” Protect Your Care, a group that promotes ObamaCare, is running ads online that read “Would (GOP Candidate) allow an uninsured man to die? Ask him.”
Never mind that the “Tea Party mob” consisted of two or three loudmouthed jerks in an audience of over a thousand. Ignore that Rick Perry said he was “taken aback” by the cheers and condemned the response, while Mitt Romney said he was “very disappointed” in the audience reaction. Overlook how Ron Paul (who, whatever his faults may be, has no penchant for pandering) absolutely rejected that the man should die in his response to the question.
Instead, Paul proposed that neighbors would look out for each other. Speaking about his own experience as a doctor before the launch of Medicare and Medicaid, Paul noted that nobody had ever been “turned away” from the hospitals. “We’ve given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves and assume responsibility for ourselves,” he observed. “Our neighbors, our friends, our churches would do it.”
That’s not a different moral vision. That’s a different conception about the best process. The disagreement between liberals and conservatives isn’t about whether to save the man’s life, but how to save his life. Liberals see the ideal solution as government-funded (and mandated) insurance for all, while conservatives see the best way as encouraging personal responsibility, and if that falls through, bringing together family, community, and generous donors to pay the bills.