On Friday, July 5, for about 90 minutes, I debated with “the Son of Man” — the leader of the New Nation of Islam — on his Detroit radio and television broadcasts. The issue was the Affordable Health Care Act, i.e., ObamaCare.
Never before having heard of “the Son of Man,” and knowing only that he considers himself the successor of Elijah Muhammad — the deceased Nation of Islam head responsible for both inspiring and, eventually, murdering Malcolm X — and that he calls himself “the Son of Man,” I was reluctant to accept his invitation. Yet given the graciousness with which he extended it, his assurances that I would be treated with respect and courtesy, and, last but not least, his willingness to give a prospective opponent as much air time as needed to express an alternative point of view, I found it hard to refuse.
The experience was an interesting one. To my host’s credit, he proved himself to be a man of his word. Not only did he give me as much time as I needed, he gave me more than enough time. In fact, he actually wanted for me to stay on for the full two-and-a-half hours with him. And not once did he try to shout over me. On the one occasion when one of his congregants jumped on the line to express his displeasure with my position — it happened so quickly, I didn’t hear a word that this malcontent mumbled — “the Son of Man” wasted not a second in smacking him down. He excoriated his disciple for “disrespecting” his guest and cautioned him in no uncertain terms against attempting a move like that again.
All of this aside, it became painfully clear that my thoughtful host wasn’t so thoughtful on this issue of ObamaCare. It isn’t that he was necessarily any less thoughtful — or any more thoughtless — than anyone else who favors this monstrosity. He was, to put it charitably, confused. And he was confused for the same reasons that all proponents of ObamaCare are confused. Gently, but firmly, I drew the attention of “the Son of Man” to the error of his ways.
First, I remarked, the plethora of cost-benefit analyses of ObamaCare that both its friends and foes supply are, in the final resort, of no relevance. Utilitarian considerations of the kind that these studies invoke are not germane to the ultimate question: Does it amplify or diminish liberty?
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Jack Kerwick, Ph.D. (photo)