Top Opinions of the Week: March 23–29

TIME Ideas rounds up the most thought-provoking posts on the web

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“Can One Nation Have Two Moralities?” in The American Conservative

Who: Patrick J. Buchanan, author and columnist

The Idea: Gay marriage has divided America into two moralities, says Buchanan, both of which are irreconcilable to the other. “One half of the nation sees the other as morally depraved, while the latter sees the former as saturated in bigotry, sexism and homophobia.” If “common faith and moral code” have historically held the country together, Buchanan asks, “how do we stay together in one national family” if Americans can no longer agree on what is moral and immoral?

Sum-it-up Quote: “But if we no longer stand on the same moral ground, after we have made a conscious decision to become the most racially, ethnically, culturally diverse people on earth, what in the world holds us together?”

(MORE: Why the Supreme Court Is Likely to Rule for Gay Marriage)

“The Ivy League Was Another Planet” in the New York Times

Who: Clare Vaye Watkins, author and assistant professor of English at Bucknell

The Idea: As a study recently found, “Even the most talented rural poor kids don’t go to the nation’s best colleges,” says Watkins. As a high school student growing up in Pahrump, Nev., Watkins says there were no college recruiters visiting her school. But there were military recruiters. “The most important thing the military did was walk kids and their families through the enlistment process,” says Watkins, while the students applying to college were left to navigate blindly. “If top colleges are looking for a more comprehensive tutorial in recruiting the talented rural poor, they might take a cue from one institution doing a truly stellar job: the military.”

Sum-it-up Quote: “The Army needs every qualified candidate it can get, while competitive colleges have far more applicants than they can handle. But if these colleges are truly committed to diversity, they have to start paying attention to the rural poor.”

(MORE: Can ‘Mindfulness’ Help You Focus?)

“Gay Rights Opponents’ Last Argument” on CNN

Who: Paul Waldman, author and contributing editor at The American Prospect

The Idea: “It’s not you, it’s me” may be a good excuse for breakups, but Waldman says that opponents of gay marriage are now using the same excuse to explain their opposition. When DOMA was passed in 1996, gay marriage was widely considered “immoral”. Now, Waldman says,  “Conservatives [are] arguing that the problem isn’t gay people themselves, it’s how straight people are affected by them.”

Sum-it-up Quote: “Opponents of gay marriage want everyone to know that they aren’t motivated by bigotry, only by a concern for straight people with tender feelings and fragile marriages.”

(MORE: Will Prop 8 End Not with a Bang But a Legal Whimper?)

“Unhappy Birthday for Obamacare” in the National Review

Who: John Fund, national-affairs columnist

The Idea: Obamacare marked its third birthday on March 23, but the legislation is even less popular now than when it barely passed in 2010, says Fund — and for good reason. As the Affordable Care Act is put into action, not only will insurance premiums skyrocket, but more doctors will continue to leave the profession, further exacerbating a growing shortage of physicians in the U.S. and leading to longer wait times for patients. Polls are reflecting that citizens are starting to believe that “health-care costs will rise and the quality of health care will decline in coming years, exactly the opposite of what President Obama promised.”

Sum-it-up Quote: “Skyrocketing insurance premiums, a slowdown in medical innovation, longer waiting times for appointments. Obviously, Obamacare isn’t solely to blame for the long-standing problems with American health care. But it clearly isn’t making matters better.”

(MORE: America’s Forgotten Economic Challenge)

“Rand vs. Rubio” on Slate

Who: John Dickerson, author and Slate’s chief political correspondent

The Idea: Rand Paul and Marco Rubio are being hailed as the new saviors of the Republican Party. But Dickerson says that the success of either (or both) young politicians depends on how much the GOP is willing to change before 2016. “If either is elevated into a serious national candidate, it would reverse two old truths about presidential politics: that opposition parties promote candidates who are distinct from the sitting president and that governors have the advantage over senators,” Dickerson says.

Sum-it-up Quote: “The route each man charts and how successful he is in capturing arguments of the moment—on immigration, drones, and whatever else comes up—will tell us something about what the emerging Republican Party values and what it might look like as it tries to get in shape for the next national contest.”

Share the “ideas” that caught your attention this week in the comment section.