|ObamaCare: Why the Rules Matter||Who Do You Trust?|
by Christopher Chantrill
March 24, 2010 at 11:27 am
A LIBERAL acquaintance likes to say that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. He would, for hes a retired professor from a government university.
He didnt think this up on his own, of course. His sound bite is a quote from Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., nominated to the US Supreme Court by Progressive Republican President Theodore Roosevelt in 1902. Holmes also said: I like taxes. With them I buy civilization.
Up till now, I had failed to come up with a retort to this challenge. But the other day, awake at 4:00 am, that peculiar time for inspiration, I found my answer.
No. Taxes are not the price of civilization. Taxes are the Cost of Compulsion. Taxing is just what governments do, all of them, from the grandest continental power to the meanest guerrilla band taxing the villagers in its jungle hideaway.
You only have to look at the process that got the votes to pass ObamaCare 219-212 in the House of Representatives on the night of March 21, 2010 to understand the self-delusion in the idea that taxes have anything to do with civilization. Why wonder that the president wont answer the questions of Brett Baier? Why be shocked about the capitulation of Rep. Stupak? Why wonder why so many Democratic House Representatives have caved, bowing to the power that will certainly punish them for a No vote, rather than to the people, who may perhaps forgive and forget by November?
ObamaCare is about raw political power. It is about threats, deals, arm-twisting, and paying for votes with taxpayers money. Its taxes, its alphabet soup of bureaucratic agencies, its budgetary tricks are about folding the whole vast enterprise of modern American health care under the knout of politicians and special interests. Henceforth Americans will only get health care if they genuflect to the political gods.
Under actual civilization ordinary Americans in voluntary association would secure their access to health care by balancing their needs and their means through their own voluntary individual and collective efforts. Insurance companies, doctors and hospitals would compete vigorously for their good opinion. And Americans would, so far as they were able according to their lights, obtain that decent provision of health care without compelling other Americans to provide health care for them through exercise of political power.
But our liberal friends, led by the president himself, have built up a belief system that supposes the opposite. They have taught themselves to believe an impossible thing. They profess the notion that a free and generous society is not the last best hope of mankind. They confidently believe that the highest and best society is one organized upon a system of universal compulsion and administered by large-minded people like them.
No doubt they truly believe that bureaucratically administered one-size-fits-all is the most evolved and compassionate way of delivering social goods like health care and education. But the poverty of their thinking does not excuse the injustice of their program. The United States was not founded in 1787 so that its rulers 233 years later in 2010 might turn it into a social democracy by a simple majority vote, to gratify their vanity and reward their supporters.
In the following days and months, we may dearly hope, a movement of rejection begun by ordinary Americans a little over a year ago will swell into a raging torrent that floods the US political square like nothing since the civil rights era in the 1960s. Otherwise the pessimists like Mark Steyn will be right, that once national health care has been legislated youve got European social democracy until the the day that the whole unbalanced and unjust system collapses in a welter of non-negotiable demands and sovereign default.
In truth, this is the way that all societies decline and fall. They bulk up their government with the sons of the privileged. They overextend their commitments. They buy off powerful interests. They inflate the currency. They default on the national debt. And then the people perish.
It is time to put away childish things and see things face to face. Taxes are a projection of government power; the fund-raising arm of the ruling class. Governments will tax to the limit and beyond and they will justify their subventions with pleasing narratives until the people rise up and stop them.
But in the dark hour of defeat there is still the counsel of Winston Churchill: In victory magnanimity, in defeat defiance.
There is a simple and effective way to register that defiance: at the ballot box in November.
Buy his Road to the Middle Class.
[W]hen I asked a liberal longtime editor I know with a mainstream [publishing] house for a candid, shorthand version of the assumptions she and her colleagues make about conservatives, she didn't hesitate. Racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-choice fascists, she offered, smiling but meaning it.
Harry Stein, I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican
[T]he way to achieve a system of determining admission to the public schools on a nonracial basis,
Brown II, 349 U. S., at 300–301, is to stop assigning students on a racial basis. The way to stop
discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.
Roberts, C.J., Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District
[T]he Liberal, and still more the subspecies Radical... more than any other in these latter days seems under the impression that so long as he has a good end in view he is warranted in exercising over men all the coercion he is able[.]
Herbert Spencer, The Man Versus the State
[To make] of each individual member of the army a soldier who, in character, capability, and knowledge, is self-reliant, self-confident, dedicated, and joyful in taking responsibility [verantwortungsfreudig] as a man and a soldier. — Gen. Hans von Seeckt
MacGregor Knox, Williamson Murray, ed., The dynamics of military revolution, 1300-2050
[The Axial Age] highlights the conception of a responsible self... [that] promise[s] man for the first time that he can understand the fundamental structure of reality and through salvation participate actively in it.
Robert N Bellah, "Religious Evolution", American Sociological Review, Vol. 29, No. 3.
[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm
[Every] sacrifice is an act of impurity that pays for a prior act of greater impurity... without its participants having to suffer the full consequences incurred by its predecessor. The punishment is commuted in a process that strangely combines and finesses the deep contradiction between justice and mercy.
Frederick Turner, Beauty: The Value of Values
Within Pentecostalism the injurious hierarchies of the wider world are abrogated and replaced by a single hierarchy of faith, grace, and the empowerments of the spirit... where groups gather on rafts to take them through the turbulence of the great journey from extensive rural networks to the mega-city and the nuclear family...
David Martin, On Secularization
What distinguishes true Conservatism from the rest, and from the Blair project, is the belief in more personal freedom and more market freedom, along with less state intervention... The true Third Way is the Holy Grail of Tory politics today - compassion and community without compulsion.
Minette Marrin, The Daily Telegraph
These emerge out of long-standing moral notions of freedom, benevolence, and the affirmation of ordinary life... I have been sketching a schematic map... [of] the moral sources [of these notions]... the original theistic grounding for these standards... a naturalism of disengaged reason, which in our day takes scientistic forms, and a third family of views which finds its sources in Romantic expressivism, or in one of the modernist successor visions.
Charles Taylor, Sources of the Self
There was nothing new about the Frankish drive to the east... [let] us recall that the continuance of their rule depended upon regular, successful, predatory warfare.
Richard Fletcher, The Barbarian Conversion
The Union publishes an exact return of the amount of its taxes; I can get copies of the budgets of the four and twenty component states; but who can tell me what the citizens spend in the administration of county and township?
Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America