My friend Montag over at the blog A Father Talks to His Daughter about God has an interesting post on health care reform entitled "The Canary in the Mine is Health Care." (He's a wonderfully metaphorical guy.) In which he makes the following statement: "The only thing that matters is the welfare of the human beings in a country; ideology and political philosophy are meaningless charades. The measure of a country is the well being of the people under its power."
While there's certainly nothing profound here--great thoughts don't necessarily have to have that attribute--it's something that bears some contemplation. It occurs to me that by the measure suggested here, very few countries are going to make the cut as caring much about the well being of their people. And I can say without fear of contradiction that no capitalist country will. The only countries that I can think of are the ones we disdainfully dismiss here in the US as those practitioners of "European Style Socialism." Countries such as Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden . . . you know, those crazy, corrupt countries with everybody on welfare. Nobody worrying about health care costs, higher education costs, disability insurance, or millions of nimwits running around armed with handguns and assault rifles. How unAmerican! What a stupid way to organize a society.
Bottom line: the American canary is long since dead.