Do we advocates of freedom and individual rights oppose the expansion of governmental controls over patients, doctors, insurance companies and taxpayers because we’re “confused” about the import of the socialist healthcare bills being floated in Congress?
In the 1760s and 1770s, were our forefathers “confused” about the meaning of the Navigation Acts, Sugar Act, Quartering Act, Stamp Act, Declaratory Act, Townshend Acts, Tea Act, Intolerable Acts, and so forth? Was that the problem? Was it that those boobies Sam Adams, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Paine, George Washington, George Mason and the rest of the rebels just didn’t understand the wondrous means and ends of king and parliament, all the paternalistic goodies that they had in store for the colonists? Was that it?
The New York Times home page recently included the following blurb:
President Obama is confronting tepid support for his handling of the war in Afghanistan and an electorate confused about the proposed health care overhaul, according to the latest Times/CBS News poll.
The article itself, datelined September 24, 2009, reports:
The [latest New York Times/CBS News] poll found that an intense campaign by Mr. Obama to rally support behind his health care plan—including an address to Congress, a schedule of campaign events across the country and an aggressive run of television interviews—appears to have done little to allay concerns about the proposal. Majorities of respondents said that they were confused about the health care argument and that Mr. Obama had not a good job in explaining what he was trying to accomplish.
“The Obama administration seems to have a plan, but I’m not understanding the exact details,” Paul Corkery, 59, a Democrat from Somerset, N.J., said in a follow-up interview.
So: If all the confusion over the confusing details about how the confusing socialist healthcare would actually operate in confusing practice could be cleared up—if transcendent luminousness could be injected into the issue of exactly when and how much the government would stomp us if we want to do something different than the government wants us to do under the laws and rules of the proposed markets-cramping, markets-annihilating socialist healthcare—if we could all understood exactly when and how much the mallet would be striking our skulls should we try to compete with (i.e., decline) what the government has in store for us, would everybody who at present cherishes his rights and liberty then be happy to exclaim, “Oh, okay then, glory hallelujah, go right ahead and impose yourself, government! Callooh! Callay! Dictate and tax away!”?
It’s a thought experiment. Let’s suppose that President Obama stops lying about whether the proposal—right there in the individual mandate provision of the legislation he endorses—to collect penalties of up to $3800 a year on individuals who refuse to buy healthcare insurance is in fact a tax. To see how far he would have to travel linguistically and triangulation-wise to admit this fact, cf. his recent interview with George Stephanopoulos:
Mr. Obama: “No. That’s not true, George. The—for us to say that you’ve got to take a responsibility to get health insurance is absolutely not a tax increase. What it’s saying is, is that we’re not going to have other people carrying your burdens for you anymore….” In other words, like parents talking to their children, this levy—don’t call it a tax—is for your own good.
Mr. Stephanopoulos tried again: “But it may be fair, it may be good public policy—”
Mr. Obama: “No, but—but, George, you—you can’t just make up that language and decide that that’s called a tax increase.”
“I don’t think I’m making it up,” Mr. Stephanopoulos said. He then had the temerity to challenge the Philologist in Chief, with an assist from Merriam-Webster. He cited that dictionary’s definition of “tax”—”a charge, usually of money, imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes.”
Mr. Obama: “George, the fact that you looked up Merriam‘s Dictionary, the definition of tax increase, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now….”
Oh dear. Why do dictionaries always stretch a point like that? Why do they just “make up” the words and the meanings and all that sort of thing?
Bill Clinton was good but—wow! Obama can prove you’re Way Out There if you point to a cat on the mat and say “The cat is on the mat.” “The fact that you are using your finger to actually point to the cat on the mat, as if that could have any relationship to the truth of your doctrine about the cat positionally vis-à-vis the mat, indicates to me that you’re stretching a little bit right now….” Somebody call the Internal Revenue Service and tell them that they’re not collecting taxes, they’re collecting social-responsibility thingies.
But suppose that Obama were to stop referring to the proposed tax for the thoughtcrime of prioritizing one’s spending in ways the dictocrats dislike as a mere eschaton-immanentizing “responsibility to get health insurance.” Suppose he admits it; suppose he says, “It’s a tax, yeah, it’s a friggin’ tax, deal with it, we’re from the guvmint and we’re here to help you, and if you don’t accept the help, bam! Gonna clobber you with a new tax! From sea to shining sea!”
Suppose this happens. Could we all then relax? Once that “confusion” were cleared up, would all friends of freedom and individual rights and self-responsibility giddily acquiesce in the next major programmatic step in the heisting of our liberties? How much more fun, really, is it to be mugged if the mugger admits, “Yeah, I really do want your wallet! Now give me the expletive-deleted wallet!”?
Those poor Brits. If only they had explained things just a little better back in the day, we might still be luxuriating in the joy of being ground under their heels, and already “benefiting” from fully communized healthcare.