One of our current society’s most salient characteristics is an absence of shame on the part of politicians, financial architects and media fulminators. No matter how scurrilous or dishonest their behavior, they exude, if not exactly respectability, an air of self-righteousness – – proud of their ability to delude the general public and do whatever it takes to get elected, get a gig on cable TV or just make as much money as possible.

At the start of the health-care debate, there was widespread support for reform. But, over the course of a tumultuous summer, disruptive town-hall meetings, raucous tea-party events and obstructionism in Congress managed to distort the process and turn support into dissent. Indeed polls showing voter dissatisfaction with the bill were a distortion themselves since some of the negative numbers were the result of people who weren’t against reform itself but felt the proposed legislation didn’t go far enough.

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