Key: Slate's Dahlia Lithwick's whine:
Her conclusion paints the dystopian future that the conservatives on the Court are preparing for us:One of the recurrent Leftist tropes about nationalized health insurance is that we are our brother's keeper. Genesis 4 tells of two brothers, Cain and Abel. They were rivals and it ended badly"
This morning in America’s highest court, freedom seems to be less about the absence of constraint than about the absence of shared responsibility, community, or real concern for those who don’t want anything so much as healthy children, or to be cared for when they are old. Until today, I couldn’t really understand why this case was framed as a discussion of “liberty.” This case isn’t so much about freedom from government-mandated broccoli or gyms. It’s about freedom from our obligations to one another, freedom from the modern world in which we live. It’s about the freedom to ignore the injured, walk away from those in peril, to never pick up the phone or eat food that’s been inspected. It’s about the freedom to be left alone. And now we know the court is worried about freedom: the freedom to live like it’s 1804.So basically, if the law is overturned children will be sick, and the elderly will die without care. Without government to make it real our obligations to each other don't even exist.
This isn't an argument. It's a defeated whimper: you just don't... CARE!
Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Let’s go out to the field.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother Abel and killed him.Of course, the standard answer to God's question that the Left gives is "yes." The problem is that they think that unless the government manages it, it cannot succeed. That is exactly what President Obama meant in his speech to the National Prayer Breakfast, where he spoke of, "giving every American a fair shot at opportunity," then explained:
Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is your brother Abel?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Am I my brother’s keeper?”
But part of that belief comes from my faith in the idea that I am my brother’s keeper and I am my sister’s keeper; that as a country, we rise and fall together. I’m not an island. I’m not alone in my success. I succeed because others succeed with me. ...Which means: we cannot care for one another except under coercion by the government, and the keeping being done only in ways and means that the government mandates. But in fact it's bad biblical exegesis to read Genesis 4 that way. Jewish writer Jerry Bowyer explains, "I'm Only My Brother's Keeper If My Brother Is My Sheep."
Treating others as you want to be treated. Requiring much from those who have been given so much. Living by the principle that we are our brother’s keeper.
[I]t is a pretty slender reed (Biblical allusion intended and undistorted) on which to rest the general moral principle that we are our brother’s keepers, let alone on which to build a social theory which compels a steeply progressive federal income tax. After all, Cain is history’s first homicide and, worse still, its first fratricide. His brother’s blood is still being swallowed by the earth (also intended) while lying to his Creator. Perhaps his is not the moral compass (not in the Bible) by which we should guide the ship of state. And quoting the father of murderers hardly seems like a good way to illustrate your vision for a compassionate society. ...And that is exactly how the Left sees us proles: sheep who should passively accept what our betters decide and who should be grateful to be fleeced. But,
The story tells us very little about Abel, really only his occupation and how it relates to his liturgical offerings. He was a shepherd.
In the book, The Beginning of Wisdom, Leon Kass observes that in effect Cain sarcastically asks whether he is the shepherd’s keeper. The point is pretty clear in English if we stop and reflect for a moment, but it’s even clearer in the original Hebrew in which Cain asks whether he is the shmr of his brother.Shomor. The shepherd is missing and Cain is saying that the shepherd is not one of his sheep. In other words, Cain is being a smart ass.
But Cain, in his choice of wording, is also revealing a lot about his interior life and his philosophy of human nature. He thinks of men as being shepherds of other men, who of necessity must therefore be sheep. The old Roman saying that Homo homini lupus est (“man is a wolf to man”) is prefigured in the sense that if the first group of men is a wolf to the second group of men, then the second group of men must be sheep to the first.
The political and economic theology of shepherds starts with the affirmation that the role of provider, shepherd, and keeper of the people does not belong to any imminent human authority, but to the Lord. On this foundation, we see the Torah develop a social theory of equality before the law and of brotherhood among citizens, not keeperhood by the state.Bowyer writes more here.
Am I my brother’s keeper? No. According to the Torah, I am not my brother’s keeper, because I am my brother’s brother.