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The Liberals' "Other" Problem Palin and the Future

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ObamaCare's Hot Water Treatment

by Christopher Chantrill
November 25, 2009 at 10:17 pm


MODERN CONSERVATIVISM is the essence of moderation. Conservatives want to persuade the world to chart a course between two extremes. They join with the modernists in breaking the absolute power that family and tribe once had over peoples’ lives. While conservatives value filial respect, they want sons and daughters to be able to defy the power of their fathers, and workers to defy the power of their occupational guilds.

But conservatives join with traditionalists in exalting the “little platoons” of family, church, and voluntary association over rational national bureaucracies. That is why Berger and Neuhaus in To Empower People urge the development of “mediating” institutions between the individual and the “megatructures” of big government and big business.

ObamaCare is a big step towards transforming health care into a rational national bureaucracy. That is why conservatives oppose it. And that is why the key procedural vote in the US Senate on Saturday, November 21, is so disappointing. Sen. Harry Reid got the 60 votes he needed, including Joe Lieberman’s (I-CT), to open debate on the Senate version of ObamaCare.

Although optimists insist that it ain’t over till it’s over, you’d have to assume that something is going to pass, and that by the State of the Union message in February the United States and its people will be set upon the course of a complete government takeover of health care.

So the question is: Are President Obama and the Democrats throwing the All-American frog into a pot of boiling water or of lukewarm water? Will the American people jump out of the pot, or stay in?

Maybe the best thing that Republicans have going for them is the Democrat’s very obsession with universal health care. Democrats that run for president all want to make the big play. They want to throw the long ball into the social justice end-zone and thrill to the roar of the crowd.

The great conservative challenge is to persuade the American people that top-down government bureaucracy is a terrible way to do almost anything. It’s a terrible way to do health care, and a terrible way to do education. And as for welfare, well, it’s destroyed the low-income family.

The American people seem to be ready to be convinced, in principle. They agree that government is too big and taxes are too high. But the devil is in the details. It is hard for a guy to turn down a nice little freebie. It is hard for a mother not to go along when someone shames you to do it for the children. After all, we paid for it in our taxes!

These days Bill Clinton is running around stiffening the backs of reluctant congresssional Democrats. He’s telling them that Democrats lost in 1994 because they failed to pass HillaryCare. They should have had the courage of their convictions then and they should vote their convictions now. The people will reward them. To which I say: Bring It On.

Sooner or later conservative are going to have to fight a climactic battle over the welfare state, and it might as well be now. The question at issue is simple: Shall American women have the power to decide when to get breast X-rays or will the “boob panel” decide? Shall American daughters have the power to get health care for grandma or will the “death panel” decide? Shall the American people be a free people, living their lives in voluntary cooperation and in widespread networks of trust? Or should they live in micromanaged tutelage to liberal experts?

Shall America follow the moderate course of conservatism, developed by Edmund Burke in 1790 just when the Jacobins were greasing the axles of their tumbrils? Or shall it follow the bureaucratic extremism of our liberal friends, modern heirs of the Jacobin Club, for whom every question is a political question, a question of power and control?

It looks as though November 2010 would be a good moment for the battle over this great contest of ideas. In a year when any government that cared about the American people would have been implementing practical measures to lighten the burden of businesses, Democrats were planning to increase the burden of government and bailing out their cronies. In a year when science cast increasing doubt on the global warming consensus, Democrats voted for huge energy price increases. In a year when ordinary Americans needed all the help they could get, Democrats spent $787 billion on Democratic special interests.

This year it’s pretty obvious that Democrats don’t care about jobs. Democrats don’t care about freedom. Democrats don’t care about ordinary people. So let’s bring it on.

For all that liberals insist upon their love of peace, it is conservatives that believe in trust and peaceful cooperation. That is what it means to reject the harsh subservience of the agricultural age and the rigid conformities of the bureaucratic age, and try to cultivate an oasis of freedom between the desert of subservience and the desert of conformity.

Sometimes the only way to the future is through the refining fire of conflict. The first step is for the American people to react against the scalding shock of ObamaCare in the only way that is given to them: Throw the bums out.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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