19 March 2010

Last Bit

Well, it's probably inevitable that our dear leaders will vote to reform the administration of health insurance over the weekend.

My initial reaction is to try the Dylan Thomas routine and not go gently, to decry the willingness of my fellow citizens to fold in the comforting embrace of government, to bemoan the marching (further) down the road to serfdom.

But nope. This pooch has been screwed for some time now and it looks like my card will be punched before the actual 1984 rolls around, at least I hope so anyway. But I just want to clarify a few things.

I've said this before, but...just because you think this bill is a bad idea, that Medicare and Medicaid are a bad idea, that Social Security is a bad idea, doesn't mean that you don't like people, or that you like big businesses making big profits more than you like people, or that you enjoy watching people suffer. I am just as human as anyone else, and hearing stories of companies reneging on promises (whether contractually obligated or implied) makes me mad. My heart bleeds no less than anyone else's at the thought of someone suffering and dying from a treatable condition or curable disease.

And just because I think the federal government is overstepping it's clearly defined bounds and I distrust government intervention in everyday life as a general matter doesn't mean I hate government. I've spent too much time reading, studying, discussing, bitching and learning about it to hate it. I love how humans developed civilization. I respect the idea that, left to his own devices, man can be savage indeed. That coming together benefits everyone far more than going alone. I also believe that the coming together should be voluntary, or else it loses something. Something essential.

I also believe that if you treat people like chattel, or convince people that they don't know enough to take care of themselves, or aren't smart enough to live by their own devices then eventually you will end up with chattel who can't take care of themselves and aren't very bright. Evolution isn't necessarily a one way street and the Whig Theory of History could be very wrong--which, I think, it is.

There were people who were rightfully enraged at the agglomeration of executive power during the Bush administration. But remember, when the people in the Bush Administration did wiretapping without warrants and other such encroachments they didn't do it for giggles; they did it in the name of protecting the people. As misguided and misanthropic as it may seem, that's what they were getting at; it was for our own good. Can't you see? You need us to keep you safe!

But the people who were so infuriated then are now not only silent, but enthused about the diminution of liberty currently underway, they just don't see it in the same light. We're not simply encroaching on your liberty or taking more of your money. This is for your own good, for the good of everyone around you. Can't you see? You need us to keep you safe!

The fact that Democrats and Republicans speak out of both sides of their mouths and engage almost exclusively in ad hominem and to quoque arguments doesn't mean they are both not equally at fault. The expansion of power beyond constitutionally defined parameters, regardless of whether you think it will keep us safe from would-be terrorists or dastardly capitalists, is never acceptable. And we are the poorer for so willingly giving up our liberty.

One last point, anyone who thinks that this legislation will "reduce the deficit by $138 billion in its first decade and half of 1 percent of G.D.P., amounting to around $1.2 trillion, in its second decade," is simply delusional. The CBO report is chock full of caveats, specifically saying that CBO has not "thoroughly examined the reconciliation proposal to verify its consistency with the previous draft."

Well, I will try to avoid this subject forevermore. I think I'd rather watch basketball instead. G'Night.

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