No time to write a considered post on this I’m afraid, but this article really illustrated a modern version of false consciousness for me - built on the media advisor’s view of the world. Most Americans favour most of Obamacare, but they’re against it.
The pessimist in me says that this is entirely possible – that people kind of like posturing about their ideological views, sometimes so much that they end up with ideological views which conflict not just with their own interests (which would be a sign of principle) but also somehow with their own preferences.
In a sense it’s part of what I was getting at when I criticised the current Government for their individualist rhetoric in which government is simply a service deliverer to customers, when anyone knows that rhetoric that moves people addresses the ‘we’ not the ‘I’.
In any event there is some logic to Americans’ position on Obamacare, and as intimated above, it’s the logic of the media advisor. When you get media training one of the things you’re trained to do is never acknowledge any weaknesses in your position. You don’t say “I’m in favour of the minimum wage, because I think the good it does in increasing wages for the least well paid in the workforce outweighs the harm it does in denying people who want to work below that wage (and can’t command a higher wage) the ability to work.” But that’s regarded as bad technique and if you’re in a hostile interview, you rapidly find out why. The whole interview then turns to the downsides. “How many people are put out of work by the minimum wage?”, “So you can’t guarantee that no-one will be put out of work by your policy?” and so on.
You just stick to little set piece arguments that support your position – and your opponents introduce the downsides. In the case of Obamacare, in so far as people’s views are rational, they support the ‘good things’ in the bill – constraints on insurers kicking you or your kids off insurance, subsidies to insurance – but oppose the ‘bad things’ which is the mandate – which of course is the source of the good things (by minimising adverse selection more bad risks can be funded).
Anyway, we’ll see what the Republican majority on the Supreme Court come up with on the mandate – the result of the case is supposed to be handed down as early as next week. I’m certainly glad that we do government a whole lot better than the Americans.