Monday, February 20, 2023

For your own good. . .

Of people seeking to make me or where I live better, there is no end.  A while ago I succumbed to the ordinary affliction of bronchitis and a sinus infection.  Alas, I could not visit my own doctor.  There were no appointments.  A walk in clinic sufficed and, as you can read, I did recover.  My doctor is so busy that appointments are usually booked months in advance and, except for the occasional cancellation, it is not all that easy to visit him when you need him.  But he is always there when I do not need him.  He is full of advice about vaccinations and insurance covered preventative tests and screens.  I appreciate that but this is not why I have a doctor.  I have a doctor, at least I thought I did, for those times when I was ill.  The walk in clinic has become my default primary care simply because they are always there when I need them.  My official primary care has become the medical life coach trying to preempt the onset of other problems.  Of course, he reminds me that I am old and fat from time to time and my insurance company has loads of programs to enroll me so that my lifestyle might be improved.  Ain't it grand!

The government is the same sort of nanny.  They want to make sure I get a paycheck, have a retirement income, and take advantage of every appropriate program to improve my life -- all whether I want them to do this or not.  They tell families with children how to raise their kids.  They provide endless free aid to those who do not want families but like to practice at it and they want to provide a way out if the burden of a conception takes place and nobody wants the child.  They tell me all the time how wonderful it is to have a big brother in Washington deciding what I need and what in me needs fixing.  The only problem is that I am not at all sure they have read or care to read the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  They certainly are of a different spirits than those who pursued liberty at the cost of real blood.  Maybe it would have been better to have a benevolent monarch from time to time than a government of people who assure me they know best.  Ain't it grand!

The progressives in culture and society have the same goal.  They know what would improve me and my life and they are full of advice and rules to put into place when I do not need that advice.  They see the school as the incubator of the vast new society they envision and sometimes complain that parents get in the way.  They have mastered social media so that their message gets across under the aegis of free speech that is, well, not always so free or equal access.  They want cameras to record my movements just in case a crime is being committed.  They want my phone and computer to inform on me -- for my own good, of course, and for the overall good of all.  They know best and are working like dogs to convince me of it.  Ain't it grand!

It all reminds me of a C. S. Lewis quote.  

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some time be satisfied; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own consciences."  God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

I realize that we live in a world where some, perhaps many, want a nanny to decide what is best for them, to relieve them of their responsibility and allow them to wallow in victimhood, to prevent any needless ideas of freedom and accountability to mess up what is clearly for my own good.  But that is not me.  I want the freedom to screw up and be held accountable for my screw ups and then to beg forgiveness from those I have wronged and from God for all things wrong the absolution of His promise.  It may be quaint but that is how I was raised and that is the nature of the Christian faith.  The rescue I yearn for is not the tyranny of those who know what is best for me but the God who has demonstrated His steadfast love so that I may in peace pray Thy will be done.  But sometimes I fear that there is no peace left for me in a world full of do-gooders who are relentless in their insistence that they, the experts, the government, and the creators of a better world know better than God what is in my own good and they will not sleep until it comes to fruition.  Lord,  have mercy.

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