home  |  book  |  blogs  |   RSS  |  contact  |

How The Grinch Stole Health Care The Four Freedoms: 75 Years of Liberal Betrayal

print view

Megastate Fail: Do You Hear Me Now, Liberals?

by Christopher Chantrill
December 24, 2013 at 12:00 am


SO NOW PRESIDENT Obama has started to repeal Obamacare by delaying the individual mandate, as a courtesy to six Democratic senators mostly running for reelection in red states. The pro-repeal six are Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Angus King (D-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), and Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Kaine (D-VA).

This looks like a good time to rehearse the standard conservative position on the megastate. Maybe liberals will be listening, if they can hear anything over the thunder of the waterfall immediately downstream.

The problem with the administrative state is that you cannot write a law to, e.g., provide universal health care so that all the actions of the government’s agents are covered by the letter of the law.

In other words, big government and government under law are mutually exclusive.

As soon as you write a law to manage health care you find that the law is inadequate for its purpose, because a law of 2,000 pages, even supplemented by regulations of 12,000 or 100,000 pages, cannot deal with the millions of unique transactions that occur daily in the health care cosmos.

In the extreme case, as with Obamacare, the law even fails in its primary purpose to help the uninsured and buy off the special interests.

As soon as a big-government law goes into effect the government’s administrators encounter situations that require administrative discretion. After about a week they run into another problem: they find they need to act administratively in direct violation of the law.

We have seen this with the Obamacare rollout. Here Richard Fernandez discusses the “14th Fix,” the 14th time the federal government has unilaterally changed Obamacare law by executive fiat thus far.

The silence of liberals on this is deafening, and we know why. To speak up would start the political landslide that would bury the pretty little village in the valley of liberalism forever.

There is nothing new here. F.A. Hayek in The Constitution of Liberty and Law, Legislation, and Liberty wrote reams about the contradiction between the need for certainty in law and the need for flexibility in administration. You cannot hope to provide enough detailed direction for the administrators charged with executing a law. You have to give an administrator discretion, and as soon as you do that you have abandoned the rule of law and substituted the law of men.

That is the basic screaming contradiction at the heart of the liberal project. You cannot have government under law and government running big programs. We are talking oil and water.

And if you don’t like the ravings of a right-wing nutcase like Hayek, there is always the lefty Frankfurt School which came to the view, after decades of hemming and hawing, that system is domination, that the powerful systems of modern society must be balanced with communication and negotiation among equals. It’s a pity that most of our modern liberals stopped thinking with Frankfurter Herbert Marcuse and “Repressive Tolerance.” Why bother to read and learn when Marcuse has given you an all-season hunting license?

Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left.

Way to go, GLAAD!

There is a reason why Hayek dedicated The Road to Serfdom to the “socialists of all parties.” He wanted to warn all socialists that their plans for liberation and emancipation would never work. But liberals never listen.

The fatal flaw at the center of the progressive project is bellowing out of Marx’s famous apothegm: “from each according to his abilities, to each according to his need.” Do you think, liberals, that Pajama Boy has a clue yet what his “abilities” might be, when he actually gets a job, when he moves on from his cushy gig at OfA and actually buys real health insurance for a whole family? And what about “need?” Are we talking about the need of a transit-system rider to subdue, immediately, a gun-toting thug? Or the need of an arriviste like Michelle Obama for expensive vacations?

If people spend half their lives figuring out their abilities, and if needs change with the seasons, how in the world can we expect lifer bureaucrats to balance abilities and needs in a national health care system based on a mere 12,000 page rule-book?

A lot of people have been sneering at the Obamacare managers that have been taking vacations recently. But I feel their pain. Nothing in their prosaic bureaucratic experience of gently failing upwards and counting the years till retirement ever prepared them for this.

Usually the awful disaster of big government plays like a tornado disaster out in flyover country. It doesn’t exist for real bi-coastal people.

But the tornado called Obamacare is starting to devastate liberal lives. It’s about time.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

print view

To comment on this article at American Thinker click here.

To email the author, click here.



What Liberals Think About Conservatives

[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

Racial Discrimination

[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

Liberal Coercion

[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

Taking Responsibility

[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

Responsible Self

[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

Conservatism's Holy Grail

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

Moral Imperatives of Modern Culture

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

Drang nach Osten

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

Government Expenditure

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

presented by Christopher Chantrill

Data Sources  •   •  Contact