One thing I find frustratingly absent in policy debates in the US is this question: Is this really going to work, be stable, etc., in the long run? Liberals like me don’t bring up the point, and Conservatives don’t seem to think about it in the first place.
Couple examples. Gay marriage: Do you really think you’re going to hold off gay marriage in the long run? That gays will eventually give up? “Hey, yeah, we don’t need gay marriage.” Or maybe the Christian crusade against gaydom will eventually be victorious, and they will all be cured?
Same thing with health care: Do you really think that having 45 million uninsured is stable over the long run? That, say, in the year 2100, we can just have people going to the ER with heart attacks and cancer and no insurance coverage? Is this the way it’s going to be… forever?
Abortion. I’m actually not a huge fan of what abortion is and how it’s used, but I would ask Conservatives: Do you really think, in a country that has millions of abortions a year, that you could just say, “Stop it!” and people would obey, and, moreover, that society could absorb all those new babies without dire economic implications, and, further, that women and those that support them would be happy with medical tribunals putting them on trial for every abortion, miscarriage, etc., to make sure that each was “ethical”?
And I could say the same thing about Conservatives’ overall vision: Do you really think we’re going to return to our scrappy frontier days with no taxes and no social safety net, and that that’s really going to be the engine of prosperity and, unlike today, people will be doing well and things will be OK?
It’s totally fair to apply this question to Liberal policies, but I think that we can usually say, “Yes.” Yes, we are supporting Obamacare, not because it’s perfect, but the trend is toward greater socialization of medicine. In fact, we’re greatly behind the rest of the world in this regard.
Liberals seem to be about using government to solve problems. Conservatives seem to be about advocating a Platonic ideal of what ought to be (in their opinion) and not considering or caring whether it actually works or not.
Now, from Libertarians, I do hear the assertion that an Ayn Randian utopia would work over the long term. They’re dead wrong IMO, but they at least make the assertion.
But the Ted Cruz-style Conservatives, i.e., the Republicans who have the power the influence policy in this country, never seem to talk about the long. They only talk about what ought to be right now, as though it will work forever. Heck, at a job interview, you are likely to be asked, “Where do you see yourself in five years,” but I never hear Conservatives talk about a vision for the future of America at all.
What are your thoughts?