Public Reason and the Health Care Bill
To be an autonomous thinker, according to Kant, requires courage and willingness to act. Unfortunately however, the majority of society tends to shy away from thinking autonomously because people are lazy and it easier to accept the ideas of someone else. Also, it can be somewhat scary to rely on one’s own ideas rather than accept society’s opinion. It requires confidence. For the minority that do engage in autonomous thinking, they enter a sphere called private reason, where individuals discuss issues and use logic to support their opinions.
The relationship between the public and the government is important, and both parties have to listen to the other. The government has to listen to the public because they are representing he will of the people and should be influenced by their ideas. Meanwhile, the public can continue to think autonomously, but must also obey the government’s laws even if they disagree with what an individual believes.
This relationship made me consider how our government handled the Health Care plan that passed through Congress. Was the government actually listening to the public’s opinion? In the Poll I found it showed that 48% of the population was opposed to the proposed health care plan and 42% were in favor of the plan as of the fall 2010. It made me wonder why the government did not listen to the public and change its course of action. There was expressed opposition readily available to the government but still no changes were made in the plan. Kant says that the public should respect the laws even if there is a disagreement with what the public thinks is correct and what the government chooses to do. Americans will have to respect this new bill. However, I would hope that the government respect the public’s reason and consider what it wants, rather than what those in power want.
If the government continues to not listen to the public’s opinion, it will lose legitimacy, which is exactly what happened during the Congressional elections. Republicans won 64 seats in the House and 8 more seats in the Senate.