Matt Lewis

A fatal conceit: How ObamaCare explains the liberal worldview

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor

When it comes to websites, pride goes before destruction. The same is true of overly ambitious policy plans — or otherwise Utopian schemes. It takes a lot of chutzpah to believe that you (the government, the president, …whoever) — care more about my family’s healthcare than I do.

But that is precisely the message being used to rationalize the “if you like your plan you can keep your plan” canard.

(If you’re not familiar with the current spin, it goes like this: “[O]f those people who lose access to their plans, many will pay less and all will have better and more comprehensive options.”)

This elitist and condescending worldview was, perhaps, most succinctly expressed by Josh Barro:

Screen shot 2013-10-30 at 9.12.14 AM

Translation: The proles were happy with inferior plans. They were too stupid to know what’s good for them. Obama’s lie was necessary in order to bring about the greater good for the most people. The ends justify the means.

For those looking to draw grander conclusions, this is a teachable moment. The hubris necessary for this kind of vast undertaking — impacting nearly 20 percent of the economy! — is  patently unconservative. And I don’t need to trot out some fire-breathing or controversial conservative to demonstrate why this sort of chutzpah is a fundamental affront to basic conservative philosophy.

As I’ve noted before, my favorite definition of conservatism comes from David Brooks, who defined it thusly: “The essence of conservatism — from Burke to Hayek — is epistemological modesty — an awareness of how little we can know about ourselves, and how little we can plan. Because life is so complicated.”

Liberalism operates under a fatal conceit that is fundamentally immodest. The ObamaCare rollout is a prime example of why such hubris is dangerous and costly.