A reader writes about our bizarre medical system for punishing the sick

A reader writes about our bizarre medical system for punishing the sick December 12, 2019

Sez he:

People are being arrested and put in jail in relation to private medical debts. Debtors prisons for the poor, free money for the rich- remember they gave billions to big agribusiness, not to mention investing firms under TARP, not to mention private corporations who profit from war.

As Martin Luther King saw fifty years ago, conservatives pretend to oppose socialism.  What they in fact deeply believe in is socialism for the rich.  Punishing the poor for being sick is sadistic, of course, since humans are rational animals and therefore responsible for creating systems which do this and fighting to maintain them out of greed and inertia.

But there is also a certain way in which the defense of such systems reduces the creators and defenders of such monstrous evil to something sub-human.  The more invested they become in simply destroying their capacity to even see, much less care about, their victims, the more they become mere animal predators.  The poor become to them what any prey becomes to a crocodile.  If you listened in on a crocodile’s thought you would just hear a dial tone.

That does not mean such degraded human predators are innocents like the crocodile.  It means that they may already be damned and are now simply awaiting their final lapse into becoming–eternally–an ex-human.

C.S. Lewis images this terrible vision of damnation in The Last Battle.  In the creation scene in The Magician’s Nephew, Aslan selects certain beasts and makes them talking animals.  But he warns them that out of dumb beasts they were made and to such beasts they can return.

In The Last Battle, a wicked and cunning cat agrees to pretend to go into the Stable and see Aslan and then come out and try to frighten all the other creatures with tales of his fake encounter.  Instead, when he goes in he encounters the very real Tash (the devil of that world) and runs in terror from the Stable.  He attempts to speak but it becomes clear that he no longer can.  He has, in fact, turned himself, by his sin against the intellect, back into a brute.

As Lewis elsewhere observes about another great sinner in The Magician’s Nephew–Uncle Andrew–the trouble about making yourself stupider than you actually are is that you can often succeed.  The grave sin of turning oneself into a predator on other human beings, and especially on the least of these, is that you abandon the good of the intellect for mere animal cunning.

This is the great tragedy of Trumpian MAGA Christianity and its devoted efforts to rationalize things like its sadistic preying on the weak and the sick.  And the terrible warning is that “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me.”

In The Last Battle, the scene of judgment shows those who reject Aslan departing into the shadow because that is where they want to go.  The damnation they suffer is not externally applied but is simply their own sin in fruition.  They want to be as far away as they can from him and they are punished by, not for, their sin.  They freely choose it and they cling to their choice.  It is the warning of the Tradition that humans are capable of that.  I see nothing in my experience of this world–and especially of MAGA anti-Christ worship–to throw that into doubt.  I do not know if anybody ever has chosen it with finality and it is not my task to figure it out.  My task is to avoid making such a choice, which is something I have flirted with in one way or another thousands of times and been rescued only by the grace of God.


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