In his Sunday column, columnist George Will takes note of the poor discourse on health care/insurance in this country. Its a clash of rights claims and moral claims. "We have a right to...and if you don't see this self-evident truth then you are a..." Insert expletive here.
The use of moral absolutes has become so diluted and abused that it's not working anymore. What once held significant manipulative sway, just doesn't pack the same punch. We can see their manipulations from a mile away and we're having none of it. Morality is manipulation.
Here's Mr. Will,
If our vocabulary is composed exclusively of references to rights, aka entitlements, we are condemned to endless jostling among elbow-throwing individuals irritably determined to protect, or enlarge, the boundaries of their rights. Among such people, all political discourse tends to be distilled to what Mary Ann Glendon of Harvard Law School calls "rights talk."
Witness the inability of people nowadays to recommend this or that health care policy as merely wise or just. Each proposal must be invested with the dignity of a right. And since not all proposals are compatible, you have not merely differences of opinion but apocalyptic clashes of rights.
Rights talk is inherently aggressive, even imperial; it tends toward moral inflation and militates against accommodation. Rights talkers, with their inner monologues of pre-emptive resentments, work themselves into a simmering state of annoyed vigilance against any limits on their willfulness. To rights talkers, life -- always and everywhere -- is unbearably congested with insufferable people impertinently rights talking, and behaving, the way you and I of course have a real right to.
Hmmm..I wonder why would people throw elbows to expand their rights? It couldn't be that they are using morality as a tool of manipulation to gain more power and status?