Anyway, this got me thinking, it sure would be intellectually honest if more people started framing their arguments in the terms, “I don’t like freedom on this issue and here is why…” You pretty much never see that. I mean, gun control is an anti-freedom stance, but they never argue it that way. I think maybe that’s why they don’t understand how unpopular their stance is.
The same thing with the health care debate. The mandate is an anti-freedom stance, but they try to say they’re for more freedom by ending worries about health care, which is BS. One thing is freedom and one thing isn’t; it’s not debatable. Putting a gun to someone’s head and saying, “You must buy health insurance!” isn’t freedom and no one should pretend it is. It’s okay to take an anti-freedom stance, you just should frame it terms of why you think your ideas are better than liberty. And that will probably also help you understand why so many people don’t like your views, as the left always seems to get caught off guard by that.
Or, as Justice Scalia asked, after the government’s lawyer finished reciting all the problems that Obamacare was created to allegedly solve, “Why aren’t those problems that the Federal Government can address directly”.
The answer is: they are.
If the Democrats in Congress had been more honest, they could have built an alternate Obamacare that wouldn’t have run afoul of the Constitution. It would likely have set up a government system similar to Medicare, but for individuals and those with pre-existing conditions. The new system would by definition be very expensive so Democrats would have had to either 1) fudge the numbers so badly that not even the friendly MSM could obscure it, or 2) build a tax structure right away to dump a trillion dollars or so into it each year. In either case, everyone would have to pay more taxes — likely on the order of several thousand dollars. But once they were done, they’d have their government-run health insurance program that covered those relatively few Americans who want health insurance but can’t get it.
Of course, they would have had to sell America on the largest tax increase in the history of the planet to get it. Lots and lots of people would have asked them if there wasn’t some less expensive way to get the job done, perhaps a state-by-state option or a shift of tax incentives from employers to individuals. The questions would have been tough, fair, and in all likelihood hostile to a huge new bureaucracy and its attendant tax scheme, but the Democrats would have had to make a real argument and we could have have an honest discussion about our health insurance problems.
Obamacare was the Democratic attempt to avoid that discussion. The President hid behind a lie, almost completely unchallenged by the MSM, that if you like your health insurance plan, nothing in Obamacare would force you to change it. The Democrats promised us a fantasy world in which evil insurance companies deny care to sick children with glee could instantly become a bright and shining world where benevolent government officials granted nigh-unlimited care to anyone and everyone. They told us none of their plans would ultimately cost us money. In fact, they said Obamacare would actually save money.
They could have been honest with us. They could have come to us as men and women and talked with us, sought our counsel. They could have tried to convince us that the good of their ideas was worth all we would have to give up to get it. They did not. They lied and lied and lied some more. They called us ignorant and vicious and heartless and stupid. They pushed a bill none of them had read in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve. They fudged numbers so badly they ended up counting whole piles of money twice. They accused anyone who disagreed with them of wanting to kill old people and innocent children. They built a law their own lawyers can not ably defend. They resorted to threats and intimidation to get compliance (seriously, folks. Here’s the letter).
And then they acted surprised when we resisted their dishonest bullying.
But, as Frank wrote, their surprise isn’t an act at all. They genuinely do not understand that there are principled and intellectual disagreements with their philosophy. John Podhoretz nailed the problem in this article, which I recommend to you highly.
My hope for this election is that voters will so utterly repudiate progressivism that Democrats find themselves forced to reconsider how they do politics. Perhaps then we will see a left-wing party willing to understand the arguments its opponents make even if it doesn’t agree with them. Like Podhoretz said, the arguments are out there in abundance. Learning them would not be difficult at all.