I can't help but be struck by the similarity between the rhetoric against health care reform ("the ultimate surrender of freedom") and the claims made against Medicare ("One day we will tell our grandchildren about a time when America was free")
Rick has a point, in that we fantasize about ourselves being independent and free of government entanglements; yet when we actually suffer some calamity ( a flood, a layoff, a devastating illness) we are appreciative of the "Big Government" that gives us assistance.
Despite the appeal of a Jeffersonian "limited government" how in practice would such a thing work in a complex global age?
In short, it was the investment of Big Government that helped create that capitalist engine. You are reading these words over an Internet that Big Government created, your computer powered by electricity likely coming from a dam built by the Corps of Engineers, your job dependent on freight that comes through a publicly built harbor, where you commute on a federally built freeway, to an office park made possible by municipal sewers, storm drains, streets and power grid.
You probably got a flu shot courtesy of the public health agencies, and are protected by government fire departments, police department. Your company is protected by government patents and federal interstate commerce regulations, the food you eat is inspected and assured safe by government health regulators.
The idea that extending health insurance to those who are currently uncovered will result in a Soviet gulag is the most absurd paranoia and hyperbole. The idea that we currently live in a pure free market economy with no government control is also absurd.
The marketplace actually works better with a reasonable amount of government oversight and control- if you doubt this, show me one modern industrialized nation that does not have government regulation and a social welfare system.
Aside from Somalia, I can't think of any.Comment Posted By Reason60 On 13.11.2009 @ 12:52
Regardless of your feelings of Islam, Hasan's bitter angry words were about on par with the rage and sentiments expressed at some of the townhalls and Tea Parties.
If one of them were to go nuts, I would defend them from over broad surveillance and oppression just the same.Comment Posted By Reason60 On 12.11.2009 @ 20:41
Slightly off topic, but tangential- this notion of being able to find a "simple solution" to prevent this tragedy from ever happening again is that simple solutions are the opposite of the calm reason and empirical evidence thinking of conservatism.
It is the central conceit of Marxism that all the problems of society- economics, war, crime- can all be summed up by the class struggle, and all be solved with the magic silver bullet of turning the factors of prodution over the government.
The opposite of this thinking is not a reverse silver bullet called "Capitalism" of saying that all the factors of production should be privatized; it is the reasoning that societies are complex things, and all works of men are flawed, and that crime and evil and tragedy will always be with us.
The idea that given enough power, the police arm of the State will be able to eradicate crime/ terrorism is extremely un-conservative, yet is a frequent refrain heard in conservative circles.
The better course is to balance power and freedom even while accepting that perfection will never be acheived.Comment Posted By Reason60 On 12.11.2009 @ 14:40
I agree, a careful middle ground should be found. As ever, we want the government to be able to keep the peace, without becoming overbearing and oppressive.
Hindsight is always the best view; if tomorrow one of the Tea party protesters were to go off the rails and shoot up an IRS office, of course in hindsight his screeching posters would seem more than just harmless rhetoric.
I think also we need to accept the idea that in any free society, a suicidal madman is nearly impossible to prevent or stop. Our laws are predicated on the notion that criminals are afraid of getting caught after the fact- suicidal killers get around that by ensuring there won't be an after the fact.
It should be self-evidently absurd to imagine we can catch and detain a killer in that narrow window of time when his motives go beyond legal ranting and raving, and cross into actual planning.
We should work to screen and identify dangerous people, and be alert for threats- but accept that in the end, zero tolerance is literally an impossible goal, and risk is always a part of living freely.Comment Posted By Reason60 On 12.11.2009 @ 14:31
@David Ross #25;
OK, you are right. Saying Tu Quoque, that the Republicans are just as bad isn't the best argument. It is true, but still not the best defense of this bill.
But it is a valid point that this is by far the best health care reform bill extant. The GOP version was laughably bad, and insincerely done. Or at least I hope it was insincere- if that really is the bet they can do, they are in worse shape than we previously thought.
As for bipartisanship, it is incredible to argue that the very same people who promised that this would be the President's "Waterloo" and who fanned the flames of the most hyperbolic claims of death panels were somehow unfairly shut out of the process; the Republicans did not want to modify the bill, they openly said they only wanted to kill it. Not work with, but destroy. Didn't they think the mic was on when they said those things? Or that we would think they were joking?Comment Posted By Reason60 On 8.11.2009 @ 22:22
Busboy and Michael Reynolds make the points better than I could, but just to add for emphasis-
This bill however flawed, is the only serious one on the table; the GOP had control for decades, and not once made any serious attempt to fix the problem.
To cry crocodile tears now and wail that "we wudda fixed it better" is just a sham.Comment Posted By Reason60 On 8.11.2009 @ 13:18
Nutcases always have something to prop up their madness;
But waiting until all the facts are in? Fact-checking?
How do you expect to fill the 24/7 newscycle?Comment Posted By Reason60 On 6.11.2009 @ 15:11
"As to them being loons - they were reasonable, orderly and exercising their First Amendment rights to seek redress from their ELECTED representatives who are, after all, their employees! Nothing looney about that at all."
Nope, nothing loony about saying health care is akin to the gas chambers; nothing loony about saying the President is a Marxist/Fascist/Evil Dictator; who comes from Kenya to enslave us all; who is building death camps in Nevada
Nope, the Tea Partiers are the model of polite respectiful debate...
sorry, I started giggling so hard I couln't type.Comment Posted By Reason60 On 6.11.2009 @ 10:11
"After all, what Obama is doing—state control over corporations, national healthcare, cult of personality—are the hallmarks of facism."
Lurker-I am opposed to the bank and auto bailouts, as you are. But I am curious- how do you feel about the Cheney/Addington/Yoo Unitary Executive theory, which holds that during a time of war, the Chief Executive (in this case Obama) has nearly unlimited power? Power such as suspension of habeas corpus, wiretapping, reading emails, searching bank accounts all without a warrant or judicial review?
Isn't it possible that by seeing eveything in terms of My President (GOOD) and Your President (BAD), we miss the bigger point, which is the steady expansion of governmental power?
And if we are heading towards fascism, wouldn't it logically follow that we should curb the police power of the government?Comment Posted By Reason60 On 5.11.2009 @ 11:48
" 'How To Serve man' is a COOKBOOK!!!"
Yeah, the aliens who seem too good to be true plot element has been around awhile.Comment Posted By Reason60 On 5.11.2009 @ 11:41
But when you spend 24/7 obsessing over Obama as either the Messiah or the Anti-Christ, everything looks like a revelation.
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