There is no such thing as pragmatism.
One of my favorite authors, Ayn Rand, denounced pragmatism because it is the refusal of an individual to make a choice and instead perpetuate the contradiction that there is some value in both good and bad, right and wrong. Unfortunately, pragmatism usually ends up being the worst as people get used to the supposed “good” things and denounce the “bad” thing that was attached to it. That is why I am pleasantly surprised to see some on the Right finally see this for what it is:
Conservatism has a long and storied history of pragmatism. The Godfather, Edmund Burke, ended his Reflections by declaring himself a man who wanted to “preserve consistency, but who would preserve consistency by varying his means to secure the unity of his end, and, when the equipoise of the vessel in which he sails may be endangered by overloading it upon one side, is desirous of carrying the small weight of his reasons to that which may preserve its equipoise.”
I hope it isn’t too naive to wonder if the one-time Republican supporters of the legislative ancestors of Obamacare weren’t just trying to prevent the ship of state from tipping any farther to the left than it had to. In other words, if they were concerned primarily with not letting the abjectly terrible be the enemy of the merely bad.
I am usually fond of saying that Republicans and Democrats are the same, but on this particular issue, I agree with the blogger that Republicans have found religion on healthcare: there is no legitimate way that Republicans could “pragmatically” turn Obamacare into a less bad piece of legislation. The ship has already been overloaded to the point of capsizing and the only thing to do now is a) abandon ship or b) start throwing the bad stuff out. Many favor the latter approach as less damaging, but with the looming liabilities of Social Security and Medicare and all of the loan guarantees this government is papering over we will be soon faced with the reality that we just need to abandon the ship.
On that note, I leave you with this (with homage to Portal): The Third Way is a lie.