Acceptance of this adage is due to combining desired improvement with words (society, individual) which present differing meanings to different people.
Republicans think positively about individual; to them, an individual is: a leader, a stalwart, a trail-blazer or a commander. In the mind’s-eye of a Republican, an individual is always self-sufficient. On the other hand, Democrats have difficulty detaching the silent and invisible adjective selfish which always seems to precede individual in their mind's-eye.
Not so with society. Democrats hear society and think about the large group they’re part of, which includes many who are less fortunate than they are. Republicans hear society and see the slothful looking for hand-outs, welfare abusers, and human parasites.
During a recent lengthy discussion with my sister (economic-free market-pessimist / social-conservative / professional-successful businesswoman) she used the term Obama care. So, I asked her why she was against 2009's health care bill. She mistook my question as a statement of protest, and I needed to repeat myself a few times before my clarification “just because I voted for him doesn’t mean I support everything he does,” got heard.
I didn’t know much about the health care bill before today (and still don't know much). I knew it was almost 2,000 pages big and was supposed to improve health care in the US (there's that word again improve, now it’s appended to health care...which hits the mind’s-eye just like society, and not like individual.)
Since my sister is an adjunct to the medical, legal, and insurance professions I thought she'd have a rational, fact-based, explanation for dismissing it. She does not. Instead, she fell into an all too familiar rant-rut: government...bad...social security...fail... Medicaid...broken...goes without saying...blah...new health care...ditto.
I assumed she’s too close to the issue (the forest-from-the-trees analogy) but she says she sees the issue better than most because of her perspective, which is why she is amazingly confident in her ability to forecast the future failure of the 2009 heath care bill, which gradually becomes law over the next four years.
So I found it and skimmed it. Bill HR 3962. It delineates (repetitively and in legal jargon) the new law, while it also updates previous laws, describes new responsibilities, outlines oversight, enrollment, and fines, as well as updates the Native American health care laws, and revises some Medicaid laws.
In a nutshell, all US taxpayers (with exceptions) will be required, by 2014, to purchase health insurance or pay healthcare bills with cash. No more county clinic walk-ins claiming 'too poor to pay'; failure to do so will mean facing an annual fine (like a tax) which will be assessed by the IRS.
I have not paid much attention to this bill because I (retired military) and my fiancée (Native American) are two exceptions. Reading portions of the bill did not clarify, for me, why it's expected to reduce health care costs, although I do see how it'll improve coverages and close loop holes. I don’t know why my sister says it's all total bullshit. I suspect, though, that in the next few years there will be a dramatic increase in US taxpayers joining the Christian Science Church because, after 2014, the IRS can't fine you for refusing to own health insurance if you are a member of The First Church of Christ, Scientist. Which begs the question: Are we sure we want the separation of church and state to be negated by an organization that advocates the creation of zombies on their registered logo?