The following Op-Ed by VCA Advisory Board Member, Dan Wolf, was submitted to and rejected by: The Washington Post, USA Today, The Richmond Times-Dispatch, and The Virginia Pilot.
To the Editor:
While recently reading a mental healthcare related op-ed, I was struck by its commonality with the Syrian refugee crisis. We share the author’s pain and concern, but disagree another law is needed. The bill is well intentioned, but places decision-making in judiciary hands, and creates new positions within the DHHS. More government funding, jurisdiction, and intervention only deals with the effects, and not the underlying cause(s).
Understanding cause requires asking why. Mental health resources were historically provided by private charities or state/local government. The federal government inserted itself seventy years ago for the ‘greater good’ with new agencies, funding, and regulatory promulgation. It had no authority, but created costly new operating and compliance requirements. Only four outcomes are possible: reducing unprofitable services (with job losses), service rationing, ceasing operations, or government provided funding – creating federal control with taxpayer funding.
Some will think this absurd, but look at healthcare. Virginia has over 100 hospitals. One significant change is the shift from payment for services to perceived value, increasing unreimbursed care. New requirements and regulations increased costs by about $1.5 billion. When revenues decline as costs increase, margins decline. Last year about 25% of Virginia’s acute care hospitals had negative operating margins, and in rural areas it was over 40%. This cannot continue indefinitely. Left unchanged, one of the four courses noted above must be chosen. Government at its best, first create a problem and then come rescue us from its unintended consequences.
How does this apply to the Syrian refugees? We are asked to accept Islamic refugees in increasing numbers, and our President has stated not doing so is un-American. Is his assertion true? If aiding another human being is the only criterion then the answer is unequivocally yes, we should accept all we can. We are called to extend charity out of love. However, this is not the only relevant question. Historically, immigrants have come from many parts of the world, and given themselves over to an idea based upon our founding principles – regardless of their religion.
Islam is an ideology with a religious component. We can demonstrate with two ideas. First, equality under the law; all share the same nature; therefore all have the same rights. Within Islam, only Muslims have full rights; even then women have fewer. Second, man’s nature includes free will, the freedom to make one’s own choices. This is essential to our purpose; we cannot be set in motion like inanimate machines. Within Islam, freedom is the negation of a negative; it is what one has when not coerced. Man’s natural state is a slave to either others or his own passions.
The Declaration’s and Constitution’s divine inspiration are not recognized by Islam, because it doesn’t share our values. Instead they are human documents to be replaced by Sharia. A second question is necessary; to what extent should a society sow the seed for its own destruction to demonstrate its compassion? Acting with true compassion requires answering both. Our President is silent on this question. Think this question untrue? Consider: the 1,400 year annihilation of the dhimmi (protected) peoples under Islam, most war and civil unrest today is in areas where Islam is in conflict with non-Muslims, and the almost continuous fighting among Islamic sects. What more is needed?
We are called both as individuals and a single people – our Creator’s people. A people require both a single set of mutually agreed upon rights, and a shared commitment to the common good. Can ours co-exist with Islam when the rights and common good each recognizes are incompatible? We could take some refugees, if it is done in a way that assimilates them into society. Historically Islamic groups have tended to isolate themselves. Or creating Middle Eastern refugee safe zones, where refugees can be supported and protected. This is a mess created by Islam’s tenets and exacerbated by our leadership’s incompetence.
By potentially inviting some who seek to destroy us, our government is performing a calculation that some level of lives lost is acceptable as long as the greater good – its end goal – is achieved. This same calculus has been applied to healthcare. To achieve the greater good, we need only care for those deemed more deserving – some lives are more equal than others. This is evil, and those supporting such actions are doing evil. But this is the very ends justify the means notion that underlies all collectivism’s forms – including Islam and progressivism. When a society mocks and ridicules good, what is left it? If good people do not run for office or vote, who will be elected and who will vote? If good people do not stand up and act in truth and honesty, how will things change?
Dan Wolf is a Virginia Christian Alliance Advisory Board Member. You can learn more about Dan and read his blog at his website, http://www.livingrightly.net/. For more about Islam, read his contributions http://www.vachristian.org/