Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

Coming Undone?

June 11, 2010

I had a dream, which was not all a dream.

The bright sun was extinguish’d, and the stars

Did wander darkling in the eternal space,

Rayless, and pathless, and the icy earth

Swung blind and blackening in the moonless air;

Morn came and went—and came, and brought no day,

And men forgot their passions in the dread

Of this their desolation; and all hearts

Were chill’d into a selfish prayer for light:

And they did live by watchfires—and the thrones,

The palaces of crowned kings—the huts,

The habitations of all things which dwell,

Were burnt for beacons; cities were consum’d,

And men were gather’d round their blazing homes

To look once more into each other’s face…

                           —Lord Byron, from Darkness

 

I.  Introduction

Thomas Hobbes

Long ago, an English philosopher once characterized the natural state of the human condition as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.”1  Perhaps Thomas Hobbes had it right.  But considering the everyday lives of most modern Americans and Europeans, you wouldn’t know it.  Until recently, that is.  Over the course of our daily lives, most of us probably never give a second thought to how fortunate we Westerners — particularly Americans — truly are.  How pampered and privileged we’ve grown accustomed to being treated.  Most of us live and work in relative comfort.  We cruise around in our SUVs, or other similarly extravagant vehicles, while listening to the latest songs on our I-pod playlist.  We go to shopping malls (real or virtual) that cater to our every whim and fetish for things gaudy and gadgety.  We chat (or text) away on our cell phones or clatter away on our laptops while sipping gourmet coffee.  We see luxuries as mere conveniences and conveniences as absolute necessities. And we demand all sorts of expensive “rights” from our government leaders who seem more than happy to dole them out to us provided we keep electing them to office.  We’ve become so used to this coddled — albeit humdrum — way of life that we feel cheated if it is ever somehow denied to us.  We see it as no less than our birthright, our inheritance, our legacy.  We feel we are entitled to it.

And yet, most of us don’t seem to have a very clear understanding as to how we even got here; or have even the vaguest idea how entirely new and fragile all this is.  And for those of us that do, it is a trifling thought that signifies very little as we go about our daily routine.  We don’t stop to think that what we call life today in modern Western civilization, never even existed only four or five generations ago.  And we have nary a thought that one day it might all just go away.  Instead, we go on living in our own world enveloped by a kind of bubble of affluence and entitlement which deludes us into believing that Hobbes’s stark observation of man’s true state of existence is just not so.  Or if it is so, then it has little relation to today.  In our comfortable time and place, the realities of that other, much bleaker human condition are kept neatly at bay, tucked far away in other times, in other places.  In short, we take everything we have for granted.

But only five generations ago, everything was completely different.  At the very beginning of the twentieth century, there were of course no I-pods or I-pads or laptop computers.  There were no cell phones (the telephone itself was still a new invention.)  There was no Internet.  There were no televisions, no radios, no air conditioners, no refrigerators, no microwaves, no coffeemakers, not even a pop-up toaster.  In fact, the widespread use of applied electricity, as made available to consumers, was in its infancy.  The newly invented gas-powered automobile would have been a quirky indulgence.  And even basic needs like central heating and running water would have been considered a comfort that only a relative few could afford.  Indeed, a world with all of these amazing things in it would have seemed, to the seventeenth century mind of Thomas Hobbes, entirely fantastical.  And yet still alive today, there are those few very old folks who can actually recall, from childhood, the harder but much simpler times before any of these incredible advancements in the human condition had come into being.  Before the world was utterly transformed.

II.  A Brief History of American Capitalism

But what was responsible for this astonishing transformation of the world?  What was the overall driving force behind the affluence and technological advancements?  Was it government?  No, absolutely not.  And it definitely was not a large, centralized government.  In fact at that time government programs, to the extent they existed at all, were nothing like the costly entitlements of today.  Indeed, outside of waging war, the government’s role at the beginning of the twentieth century was, by today’s standards, a very limited one. 2

So what was responsible?  In a word, it was capitalism. American capitalism. As the nineteenth century drew to an historic close, the premonitory beginnings of the new twentieth century foretold the advent of an even more momentous age.  The decrepit despots and ruling classes of old Europe were on their last legs.  Soon, the First World War would snuff them out completely.  And in the New World, the age of American liberty and American capitalism — of individual freedoms and free enterprise — was well underway.  America had made it through a bitter civil war and survived.  And a nation, “conceived in liberty,” had in fact not perished from the earth. 3  Indeed, it was flourishing.  America as an idea — an idea of freedom — had taken hold.  Liberty, individual liberty, and self-reliance were at work in all spheres, and had become the fulcrum and foundation of the American economy.  And they became embedded in American culture and society.  The young American nation’s industrial revolution was in full swing.  Virtually over night, America went from an agrarian economy to an industrial powerhouse.  And the nations of old Europe looked our way with envy and a desire to emulate.  And emulate they did, but they only got so far.  Caught up in class struggles and internecine conflicts, and tied down by the vestiges of their own feudal past, capitalism in the American sense never quite took root in Europe.  The façade of capitalism was erected but deference to the central authority of the state remained.  It would take yet another World War and then a Cold War for European nations to finally try to put misguided ideologies behind them.  Yet even today much of Europe still seems poised to slip back into the false calm of despotism.

Nevertheless, as the new American century moved forward, the power of American capitalism, and the wealth it created, was spreading worldwide anyway it could.  And as the reach of America’s brand of capitalism extended elsewhere, it began to utterly and fundamentally alter the lives and living standards of Americans and Europeans.  Indeed many Europeans, not willing to wait for prosperity to come to them were now emigrating to America’s shores in droves.  Capitalism was lifting off the shade of night and raising America and the world into a bright new realm of limitless possibilities.  Unfettered freedom in the markets, freedom in the exchange of thoughts and ideas, created and still today creates the nurturing environment — the incubator — for individual initiative and innovation and invention to take place.  It was the “pursuit of happiness,” that our founders had so eloquently bequeathed to us, made actual and real.  Individuals, not governments, reliant on no one, other than themselves, armed with freedom and a desire to succeed: that was the simple but beautiful idea — a dream almost — upon which the young American nation was founded and that Americans were actually living.

And, at least until recent times, it was an idea that was lived by Americans without undue interference or “assistance” by government.  Quite the contrary, it was a formula that worked precisely because government was removed from it.  As little government as possible; only that government which is absolutely necessary — these were the things our country’s founders warned us about over and over again.  But somewhere during the past one-hundred years or so, between New Deals and Fair Deals, between Progressive Reforms and Great Societies, between Social Justice and the Nanny State, between Hope and Change, we allowed government to gum up the works.  Big time.  We are now a full-fledged entitlement economy, society, and culture which is something the founders of this country never wanted us to be.  Individual self-reliance and initiative have gone by the wayside.  They have been supplanted by a group mentality of entitlement.  We look to government now, rather than ourselves, for “rights” and other “free” stuff, and we are embittered and angry if ever we are denied our due.  Moreover, we are made to feel justified in these feelings.  Indeed, over the years we have been encouraged and conditioned by weak leaders within governments and by a misguided media culture to see these things — this grand benefits package — as our heritage.

But as we choose to remain an entitlement society, we shall go the way of all entitlement societies: sooner or later, the bubble bursts.  And when it does, that other, cruel Hobbesian world comes rushing in. 

III.  Greece: The Collapse of an Entitlement Society

In Greece, that bubble has burst.  The momentous events in Greece over these past several weeks and months have been a rude awakening for the Western world.  Greece, the epitome of a modern entitlement society, has finally come crashing down.  For decades, Greek citizens have relied on government entitlements and subsidies: unaffordable state jobs, excessive state pensions, government healthcare and other high-priced government programs and, consequently, the country has amassed unsustainable debt.  They’ve simply run out of money.  Now, the government’s long overdue attempts to rein in spending through a variety of austerity measures — a requirement of their multi-billion dollar bailout by the European Union and the largely United States funded IMF — have forced the Greeks to give up the entitled way of life that they had grown accustomed to and accept another, harsher reality.  As a consequence, Greece has erupted.  The Greeks have resorted to looting and rioting and lawlessness, resulting in anarchy and death.

At present, the only thing keeping the Greek economy alive today is the massive infusion of loans from the IMF and the European Union.  The Greek economy and society have simply come undone.  And it is dark days indeed for the Greek people: nasty, brutish and short.  They must now try to start over.  To search for the pieces of their past lives through the dark of starless nights and the sulfurous pall of extinguished days.  To rethink the future and to relearn, perhaps, what they had never really taught themselves in the first place.

Now, comparable calamities are foreseen in the other entitlement nations of Europe: particularly Spain, Italy, Portugal, Great Britain and Ireland.  If one or more of these nations experience similar death throes then the dominos will surely begin to fall.  Some experts suggest that any number of obscure triggers may set things off and send fundamentally profound tremors undulating through all of the industrialized world’s economies. 4

Obviously, this all has potentially dire implications for the United States.  But the Greek example illustrates a larger point: the inevitable predicament that all entitlement societies, including the United States, eventually find themselves in.  As the debt grows, it eventually swallows up the nation’s capacity for production.  Like in Greece, ultimately the nation’s economy is devoured entirely by national debt and becomes no more. Essentially, entitlement economies feed upon and finally consume themselves until there is simply no economy left.  So is present day Greece a glimpse into the future of America?  Are we coming undone too?

IV.  Are We Coming Undone?

Well to start with, we are a nation and government that bears little resemblance to the one that existed just four or five generations ago (to say nothing of the one that the founders envisioned).  We were then a land of immigrants — mostly European immigrants— who fled our respective home countries to come live the promised dream of America.  But the sad irony is that now we have more in common with Europe and European systems than ever before.  A recent study by the Heritage Foundation finds that one in five American households now depend on the government for assistance with basic necessities (e.g., food, housing, etc.) And one in eight households now rely on the government for food-stamps.  This is to say nothing of unemployment subsidies, education subsidies and the advent of subsidized healthcare.  All this, the study finds, while the number of Americans who actually pay the taxes to ostensibly support this government largesse is shrinking.  5

And, all the while, the government continues to grow.  Recent federal government stimulus programs, government bailouts of industries, and now government-run healthcare have been heaped onto an already growing mountain of national debt.  The government has become an enormous and myriad conglomeration— a colossus — of bureaucratic programs, agencies, divisions and departments that siphon billions off the nation’s wealth just to pay for the interest on the debt alone.  While Greece’s debt to GDP ratio is at an unsustainable 110% the United States is now not far behind, with a recent CBO report estimating U.S. debt will rise to a staggering 90% or more of GDP by next year!  6   Continuing down this path, “we can expect a default on government promises (Medicare, Social Security, Healthcare), higher interest rates on U.S. government bonds or even a flight by foreign investors like China to alternative investments, and a drop in the value of the dollar, raising energy and consumer costs and spreading inflation throughout the economy.” 7   All of this resulting in a dramatic decline in American living standards for generations to come.  Eventually, the colossus topples and falls.

The Colossus of Rhodes

So these are all very disturbing statistics.  Numbers shocking enough to provoke any reasonable government official to take action and change course.  Or at least one would think that.  And yet today we have leaders in government who seem not the slightest bit concerned by any of this – on the contrary they are willing to go even further in this direction.  Indeed, our President actually comes right out and says, and seems to truly believe, that government and more government is the only solution for America.  And he is aided and abetted in this view by a complicit mainstream news media that borders on a ministry of propaganda. 

But what’s more is that we, as a people, seem perfectly willing to accept this madness; and that is the real tragedy.  Apart from a few vocal dissenters, today we, the people, look to government for solutions rather than ourselves.  With our dependable entitlements and our reassuring affluence, with our mania for creature comforts, and in our sheer arrogance and complacency, we have moved well beyond mere apathy and into the mindset of dependency.  We have lost our way and drifted far, far away from what we were one hundred years ago, and before, into something that we were never meant to be.  We have allowed ourselves to be cajoled, nudged, and deceived by those in government who would have us depend on government rather than ourselves; so much so that we now feel entitled to our dependency.  But dependency and liberty can never go together.  So we’ve traded in one for the other.  Now we’re left with platitudes from politicians, slogans of hope and change, images on the television, and our own vanities.  We are left with the mere trappings of liberty.  But not liberty itself. 

So how long can America remain on this tragic, catastrophic course?  How much longer can the unsustainable be sustained?  How long before we realize that we have become Greece?  Before we realize the inevitable, tragic collapse?

In a way, Greece is lucky that they are the first.  They are lucky that there are still  solvent institutions like the IMF and EU to come and bail them out.  But what happens next?  What happens to Spain, to Italy, to Portugal, to Great Britain, to Ireland?  Who comes to bail them out?  What happens to California? To New York?  To Michigan? To Louisiana? To Florida? To Pennsylvania?  To the whole of the United States?  What happens when the economy completely shuts down?  When currency becomes worthless paper?  When investments, retirement accounts, savings accounts are completely wiped out?  When there is no longer a monthly check from the government?  When there is no food on the shelves?  No electricity?  No heat?  No running water?  When people have nothing left to lose; when we have finally come undone?  Because sooner or later in an entitlement economy, society and culture, it all comes undone.  And, frighteningly, these sorts of things always seem to happen sooner than anyone expects. 

Darkness falls.  And the night comes swiftly.  

V.  Conclusion:   “We Are Americans”

It was a simple formula that the Founding Fathers gave us.  Individual liberty combined with self-reliance in the pursuit of one’s own happiness.  A simple and beautiful and common-sense formula; not some pricey entitlement and benefits package.  We were given an elegant thing by very courageous, brilliant and generous men, and we threw it away; or rather so abused and neglected it that it is as good as thrown away.

However…   However, individual liberty, self-reliance, free-enterprise, the free exchange of ideas and freedom of speech and expression — these essential ingredients that make up the rare alloy of capitalism — come from America and nowhere else.  They come from our shores.  They may have taken root elsewhere in the world, and thank Heaven for that, but they are American “inventions” if you will and they are what make us unique.  America is the birthplace of these things and they are our true legacy, our real inheritance.  Capitalism, the free-market way, is the unique American way.  It is as American as apple pie or a Norman Rockwell painting.  It is in our blood, so to speak. It is our culture.  And for that reason, so long as we remain Americans, we can always naturally return to it.

And we will return to it.  With the passing of this year’s Memorial Day into night and into day again, and with this week’s remembrance of D-Day and the consequential days that followed it, I am reminded that this country has seen dark days and darker nights before.  This nation has faced formidable — seemingly insurmountable challenges — and has overcome them.  And so I am reminded of this nation’s greatness, its uniqueness.  I am reminded of its tenacity and inner strength.  I am reminded of its love of freedom and individualism.  And I am reminded of its people — our people.  Our people are not the Greeks. We are not the Italians.  Nor are we Spaniards or Portuguese.  We are not English, nor Irish nor Scottish. We are not Germans nor are we French.  We are not Russians. We are not Asians, neither are we Arabs.  We are not Africans, we are not Australians, and we are not South Americans. We are neither Mexicans nor are we Canadians. We are, rather, all of these, and something much more.

We are Americans.  E Pluribus Unum, is the Latin phrase.  Out of many, one.  And as Americans, we shall triumph over the undreamt of troubles that for us Fate has set in store.  We shall change our course and right our faithful ship, as we have done so many times before.  We shall come through this dour darkness to look yet once more into each other’s face, in the bright early light of a newly dawning day.  8

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Notes:

1: The full Thomas Hobbes quote: 

“Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition, there is no place for industry; because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  –Leviathan, Ch. 13.

2:  Around the beginning of the twentieth century, the United States national debt as a percentage of GDP was only around 10%.  United States currency was tied to the gold standard.  There was no Federal Reserve Bank.  And there was no Federal income tax — that would have to wait until 1913 with adoption of the Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution.  For a great website on the history of U.S. Government, taxation, spending and debt, click here:    http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/index.php

3: The full Gettysburg Address:

“Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.  Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate…we can not consecrate…we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” –Abraham Lincoln, November 19, 1863.

4: Washington Post article:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/23/AR2010052304170.html

5: http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=36648

6: Washington Times article:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/mar/26/cbos-2020-vision-debt-will-rise-to-90-of-gdp/

7: Heritage Foundation article:

http://blog.heritage.org/2010/05/10/europe-2010-a-glimpse-of-america%e2%80%99s-economic-future/#more-33298

8: The poem: 

We Are Americans

We are Americans.

E Pluribus Unum,

Is the Latin phrase.

Out of many, one. 

And as Americans,

We shall triumph

Over the undreamt of

Troubles that for us

Fate has set in store.

We shall change our course

And right our faithful ship,

As we have done

So many times before.

We shall come through

This dour darkness

To look yet once more

Into each other’s face,

In the bright early light

Of a newly dawning day.

              – by Elbert Soler

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For related posts on this topic, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/22/america-r-i-p/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-arrogance-of-hope-change-%e2%80%a6-or-else/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/02/27/glenn-beck%e2%80%99s-cpac-speech-tiger-woods-and-toilet-bowls-a-blackboard-and-brilliance/

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Pelosi to Young Americans: Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out; We Got Your Back

May 19, 2010

This week, that great thinker and illustrious leader of ours, Nancy Pelosi, had this to say about one of the many benefits of her new healthcare legislation:

“We see it as an entrepreneurial bill.  A bill that says to someone, if you want to be creative and be a musician or whatever, you can leave your work, focus on your talent, your skill, your passion, your aspirations because you will have health care.” 1

So in other words, for all you kids out there (and by that we mean adults in your twenties), no need to be productive, just tune in, turn on, drop out and the government’s got your back.  It’s easy to see how Nancy can relate to this, being an old hippie chick herself.  You know, Haight-Ashbury and all that.  For the hippies of the 1960s, and for those who are still living that dream (most of whom are still in San Francisco), that was the way to go.  It was the cool thing to drop out, smoke weed, get high and take up the bongos or guitar; then go hang out at Woodstock or somewhere and protest the war or whatever was the latest thing going around on campus (besides herpes.)

But of course back then things were a little different.  Back then you had those good old capitalist pigs Mom and Dad to take care of things for you.  You see, in the 1960s your parents still made their money the old fashioned way: they earned it.  But today, the hippies are Mom and Dad.  And with Big Nanny Nancy in charge, they’re also running the country.  And guess what, they make their money the old fashioned way too: by taxing the American citizens (or at least those who still work for a living.)  That’s how the new healthcare law works!  Ain’t socialism just grand!

—————————————-

Fn. 1: For the Pelosi quote:

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/65950

News Media Reports: Times Square Bomber’s Motive “Shrouded in Mystery”

May 9, 2010

CBS News reports that Faisal Shahzad (you know, he’s that guy who tried to blow up Times Square about a week ago) is somewhat of a mystery man.  An enigma of sorts, one might say.  His motive is “shrouded in mystery,” report those hard-hitting news folks over at CBS. 1

Now I’m thinking, well, if the smart-as-a-whip guys and gals over at CBS News can’t figure him out, then how the heck am I, your typical Joe Six-Pack, going to be able to do it?  Well, I guess I’ll just have to give it the old college try.  So here are some of my theories:

Theory Number One: Shahzad is a Tea Partier.

I think NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg hit the nail right on the head when, before they had even arrested anybody, he speculated to Katie Couric of CBS News (there’s that CBS news again!) that it was probably somebody “home-grown, maybe a mentally deranged person or somebody with a political agenda that doesn’t like the healthcare bill or something.” 2  Katie’s journalism instincts immediately kicked into high gear, and she responded with a knowing look.  So Bloomy nailed it: it’s those damn government-hating Tea Partiers!  I think that makes a lot of sense.  Double-plus good, Mike!  I mean, anyone who’s crazy and racist enough not to want free healthcare must be so mentally deranged they’d want to blow up Times Square and kill innocent people right?  Also, if Shahzad was willing to blow himself up too, then he obviously wouldn’t have had any need for healthcare because he’d be dead!  But he didn’t blow himself up.  Okay, maybe this theory isn’t so great after all.  That’s too bad.  I was really hoping I could blame this on those damn tea baggers! 

Theory Number Two:  Shahzad Suffers From Post-Home-Foreclosure-Derangement-Syndrome.

So some really creative psychologists have come up with this new disease for the new economy we’re in: post-home-foreclosure-derangement-syndrome.  Or at least I think that’s what it’s called.  Anyway, the idea is that people who are about to lose their homes go out and do wacky stuff like blow people up in Times Square.  Well, it just so happens that the mortgage on Shahzad’s Connecticut home was in foreclosure.  Or about to be foreclosed or something like that.  Hey, times are tough!  You know, it’s that lousy Bush economy we’re still mired in.  I know, I know, it’s been almost two years since Bush has been out of office, but according to the media, Bush put us in such a hole that… Oh, wait, that’s right, now we’re supposed to be in a recovery.  Isn’t that what Obama said?  The “jobless recovery.”  So is it Bush’s recovery or Obama’s recovery?  Maybe the jobless part is Bush’s and the recovery part is Obama’s?  I’m so confused!  All right, let’s move on to another theory, shall we?

Theory Number Three:  Shahzad is a Right-wing Republican and Talk-Radio Listener.

Okay, try to stay with me on this one.  There are reports (probably also from CBS News) that the radio in Shahzad’s SUV was tuned to an AM station!  Now, follow this logic.  Who is on AM radio?  Rush Limbaugh!  That right-wing extremist and rabble rouser.  See what I’m sayin here?  Shahzad is a right-wing Republican and AM radio listener.  As for why that would make him want to blow up Times Square, I uh… well I refer you back to Theory Number One.

Theory Number Four: Shahzad is Anti-Disney or Anti-Lion King, or Maybe Just Anti-Lion.

Did you know that Shahzad’s SUV was supposedly parked right near the theater that shows the Broadway musical “The Lion King?”  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  You know, it is Disney’s The Lion King.  So maybe Shahzad was anti-Disney. Or maybe he just saw a performance of The Lion King and really (I mean really) hated it.  Or maybe he just hates lions!  Hey, we need to cover all the possibilities here.  After all, Big Sis Janet Napolitano—our beloved Homeland Security apparatchik—reassured us all that Shahzad probably acted as just a “one-off.”  So maybe his “one-off” thing is that he’s anti-lion!  It’s possible!  Okay, maybe this one is a little thin.  Next!

Theory Number Five: Shahzad is a Violent Islamic Extremist and Terrorist

Now, I realize I’m going way out on a limb here, but maybe, just maybe, Shahzad is an Islamic terrorist.  I know, it’s that tired old canard again, and I can find hardly anyone in the news media to back it up, but I guess it should kind of be considered, no?  Ok, I’ll back off.  Sorry for sounding so politically incorrect and racist and all that.  I mean I really am so in agreement with MSNBC’s news anchor Contessa Brewer on this one.  Speaking on the liberal Stephanie Miller’s radio show, Contessa offered up this trenchant analysis:

“I get frustrated… There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country… There are a lot of people who want to use terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry.”  (Emphasis added.) 3

Contessa is just so right.  I much prefer her form of trendy, up-to-date bigotry instead.

 ———————–

 Footnotes:

 Fn. 1: See the full CBS News article on Times Square Bomber’s Motive here:

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/05/national/main6462351.shtml

Fn. 2:  Excerpt of Bloomberg interview with Couric:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/brent-baker/2010/05/03/cbs-features-ny-mayor-bloomberg-speculating-bomber-was-mad-about-obamac

Fn. 3: For the Contessa Brewer quote:

http://newsbusters.org/blogs/scott-whitlock/2010/05/04/msnbcs-contessa-brewer-frustrated-times-square-bomber-muslim-0

Hey, This Universal Healthcare Thing is a Big F*ing Deal!

April 12, 2010

Yes, Mr. Vice-President, it is a big f*ing deal!  Shredding the Constitution always is.  Joe Biden is of course a buffoon, and he might even be slightly crazy.  (Boy-oh-boy, we sure are lucky we didn’t end up with that loose cannon Sarah Palin!)  But every now and then, in his own inimitable way, he says something that is on the mark.  The latest gaffe — dropping the F-bomb on an open microphone during the healthcare bill signing ceremony — being a case in point and, in this writer’s humble opinion, an understatement.  But you probably know my views on the healthcare law by now.  1   For the present discussion, I want to focus on the illustrious Mr. Biden.

As I am sure everyone is well aware, Joe Biden is compulsively prone to making these kinds of wacky remarks, always, it would seem, at the worst possible moments.  He has done so as Vice President, as a candidate for VP, and also over his long career as a United States Senator.  Here is just a sampling of the rich repertoire of Bidenisms:

  •  As the titular head of the White House team that is supposed to keep track of stimulus spending, Biden was on the CBS “Early Show” touting a government-run website that allegedly tracks stimulus money.  When he was asked for the site’s web address, he said: “You know, I’m embarrassed. Do you know the Web site number?” he asked an aide standing out of view. “I should have it in front of me and I don’t. I’m actually embarrassed.”
  • And of course, we all remember his colorful remarks last year about the Swine Flu:  “I would tell members of my family – and I have – I wouldn’t go anywhere in confined places now.  It’s not that it’s going to Mexico – if you’re in a confined aircraft and one person sneezes, it goes all the way through the aircraft…. I would not be at this point, if [my family] had another way of transportation, [be] suggesting they ride the subway.” 
  • At a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the White House, Biden took a moment to honor the memory of the Irish prime minister’s mother—a woman who is still very much alive.  “God rest her soul,” Biden said.  But he quickly corrected himself noting it was the prime minister’s father who had passed: “Wait … your mom’s still, your mom is still alive. It was your Dad (who) passed. God bless her soul. I gotta get this straight.” 
  • Finally, when recently asked to comment on why no one seems to pay attention anymore when he says something off-the-wall, he said, “A couple weeks ago, I insulted this disabled kid and a pregnant lady all in one day, but all anyone wanted to talk about was how President Obama was hating on the Special Olympics.  I’ve gotta figure out ways to elevate my game.”

The temptation is to write off old Joe as the crazy but affable uncle of the Obama administration who they keep locked up in the attic of the White House (or in the cellar, if you prefer) and only let out when they have to—for special ceremonies and such.  And even on these occasions it almost always looks like Obama is actually on the verge of tackling Biden before he blurts out some hellishly embarrassing thing in front of a live microphone.  Though I have to admit that lately it seems the President has resigned himself to the Vice President’s risible verbosity.  I mean, what can he do but laugh it off and hope no one is paying that much attention.  And of course the Government Information Ministry, formerly known as the mainstream media, is more than happy to laugh along with the President over Joe’s gaffes as though it’s all a big joke and we needn’t worry that he’s only a heartbeat away from running the country.

So there is this temptation, encouraged by the media, to say, “Well, it’s just Biden being Biden” and to ignore whatever he has to say.  And make no mistake; a lot of what he does say is indeed rambling nonsense.  But bear in mind, he sits in on all national security briefings and other top level meetings with the President and the Cabinet.  He obviously has the highest level security clearance which gives him access to all sorts of classified information. (I mean, he has to have that right?)  And after all, he is next in line to be President if, God forbid, anything should happen!  So one has to think that he knows about stuff, lots of stuff, and that he has known about it for a long time, going all the way back to the days of the 2008 campaign. 

But therein lies the pickle this administration finds itself in.  Biden is the Vice President.  But he is also Joe Biden.  He is still the big, likeable, garrulous, grinning guy from Scranton, PA who can’t wait to tell everybody what he knows or to blurt out whatever’s on his mind, even if what he knows or what’s on his mind is a big f*ing deal, to put it in the vernacular of the Vice President.  And so, every now and then, chatty Joe blabs about something that he’s not supposed to.  He lets out something that he’s just heard, or read, or been told is a really big secret.  I’m alluding to what Biden said back during the 2008 campaign.  Remember?  It was on the campaign trail and Biden had recently been selected as Barack Obama’s running mate.  In fact, you could say this was one of his first gaffes as a member of “Team Obama.”  He was at a fundraiser in Seattle, surrounded by the party faithful.  He was in his element.  He hadn’t realized that there were any press in the room (not that they make any difference anyhow) until after he had rambled on about some very revealing stuff.  Here are some excerpts: 

“Mark my words, it will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy… Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy…. And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you — not financially to help him — we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right….  Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going, ‘Oh my God, why are they there in the polls? Why is the polling so down? Why is this thing so tough?’ … So I’m asking you now, I’m asking you now, be prepared to stick with us. Remember the faith you had at this point because you’re going to have to reinforce us… There are gonna be a lot of you who want to go, ‘Whoa, wait a minute, yo, whoa, whoa, I don’t know about that decision.’  … I probably shouldn’t have said all this because it dawned on me that the press is here.” (Emphasis added.)  2

As the then Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden also touted his own credentials and said he would add value to the Obama ticket. “I’ve forgotten more about foreign policy than most of my colleagues know,” he said, “so I’m not being falsely humble with you.” 

So what exactly was Joe, the humble foreign policy expert, talking about?  What did the Obama people confide in him was going to happen?  What kind of test?  JFK had to deal with the Cuban Missile Crisis which brought the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation.  Is that what he meant?  Just what kinds of decisions were going to be coming down that would make folks say “Whoa… I don’t know about that decision!”  Liberals (nervous liberals especially) will conveniently dismiss this as Biden just opening his big mouth.  But I think Biden gave us a brief, rare glimpse into the inner sanctum here.  He opened up a small window into the mind of this administration when it was in its infancy, sensing that victory was at hand and planning about all the fundamentally transforming things they were going to do, both domestically and on the international scene.  And Biden was like a new convert who had just come out of a revival meeting, having heard the true Progressive Gospel for the first time; and he just couldn’t wait to spread the word, to tell everybody what he knows.

While this administration has seen its challenges in the international arena, a catastrophe of the magnitude that Mr. Biden was suggesting has yet to materialize.  There have been no Cuban Missile-size crises or 9-11’s to deal with.  So Biden’s prognostications as to timing have been wrong…  so far.  However, just about every week it seems like there is some new big f*ing deal.  Some new push.  Some new peeling away of the onion.  Some new chipping away at the foundation.  Gradually, the curtain is being pulled back on this President and his administration to reveal the inner-workings of the machine; the levers and pulleys of the mechanism of fundamental transformation.  But none of these things rise to the level of actual crises.  Certainly none have been “generated” by our enemies.  They don’t even come from someplace else in the world.  Rather, they are ginned up right here, at home, by this President and his administration.

For example just this past week, the Obama administration announced a new nuclear policy for the country.  For the first time, we unilaterally and preemptively have said to the world that we are fundamentally altering our policy as to when and against whom we will and will not use our nuclear arsenal.  In particular, the new policy actually allows certain nations to attack us with biological and chemical weapons and we will politely refrain to retaliate with a nuclear weapon.  Without here debating the merits or recklessness of such a decision (i.e., whether or not our existing or potential enemies will be inspired to follow suit or actually emboldened to press an advantage) it is beyond dispute that such a move is unprecedented in the history of American nuclear security policy.  In fact, it is a radical change in that policy.  It is a meddling with something that does not cry out for meddling with, indeed, something that has stood us in good stead for some sixty odd years.  And yet, this decision follows a pattern and formula that has become the hallmark of this administration.  That being: fundamental change, for its own sake.  Fundamental change, based on an intellectual argument.  Fundamental change, whether you like it or not. 

So again, what was Joe Biden talking about?  What kind of long range plans and schemes did the Obama people let him in on (before it dawned on them they were talking to Joe Biden.)  Did he hear something but misinterpret it?  There is certainly a high likelihood of that!  Maybe he got the “test” part right but mixed up the antagonists.  Just who is testing whom here?  Is it this President who, like John Kennedy, is being tested by the world?  Or is it perhaps the other way around?  We could ask Joe Biden, but he’d probably honestly say he doesn’t remember.

———————————-

Footnotes:

Fn. 1: In case you don’t, I expand on why this law is an affront to the U.S. Constitution in several prior posts. To read, start by clicking here:  https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

Fn. 2: Source: 

 http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/2008/10/biden-to-suppor.html

Why You Don’t Have a Right to Healthcare

March 20, 2010

 

 

 

I.  What is a Right?

Healthcare in America is not a right and cannot be a right so long as we live in a country that still recognizes the United States Constitution as the law of the land.  Our rights are embedded in Natural Law.  They do not come from a king, they do not come from the President or any other politician, they do not come from Congress, nor do they come from the government as a whole or from some special group of policy makers within the government.  They do not even come from the Constitution itself.  Our rights emanate from the fundamental nature of our humanity or, if you will, from God.  As individuals, we are born with them.  The Constitution is the document under which our rights are protected.  Protected from what or whom? Why, from the government of course.  Or more to the point, the government’s inherent desire for ever more encroaching power and control over our lives.

Because our rights derive from our own individual humanity, healthcare, whether provided by the government or somebody else, cannot, by definition, be a human right.  And why is this?  Because if it were a right, we would be able to require of another person that he or she provide it to us, which would then infringe on that person’s rights.  In other words, if a so-called right requires someone else to do something for you or give something to you (i.e., guaranteed care whenever you are sick) then it is not a right.  So if healthcare is not a right, what is it?  It is a good.  A good is something we want or need, as opposed to something we naturally possess from birth.  So healthcare is no more a right than is food, clothing, housing, high-speed Internet access, or a double mocha latte from Starbucks. 

What are some examples of rights?  We have a right to life, to speech, to worship, to travel, to due process (or fairness); we also have the right to be left alone.  These basic rights and others are to be found among the first ten amendments to the Constitution, otherwise known as the Bill of Rights.  But when you think about it, they are not really rights at all. There is nothing there that is being given to Americans that they do not already naturally possess.  They are more like prohibitions – prohibitions placed upon the government; things that the government shall not do to infringe upon the rights of the individual.  “Congress shall make no law…” this right “shall not be infringed…” this other right “shall not be violated,” the Bill of Rights is replete with such language.  So if we already possess these rights, why were they even added to the Constitution?  Because the people were, understandably, suspicious of government and in fact feared a government that would not only fail to secure their rights but actually, in the words of the Declaration of Independence, become “destructive of these ends.” 

 

 

II. The Progressive View 

Of course none of this squares at all with what Progressive politicians are saying.  Those great liberal luminaries, Dennis Kucinich, Tom Harkin, Nancy Pelosi and even Barrack Obama, have all argued that healthcare either is or should be a right in this country.  If they think it is already a right, then they either are unable or unwilling to comprehend the above analysis.  On the other hand, believing it should be a right is even more troubling because that implies that they —the officials of the government — actually think they have the power to grant it as a right.  Well, they who have the power to give, also have the power to take away.

But all this begs the question, why are these deep-thinking Progressives so hot to make only healthcare a right?  What about food? What good is it being healthy if you don’t have anything to eat?  What about housing? You need a place to sleep don’t you? What about a job?  How about a car to get to the job?  How about a place to rest when you go on vacation from your job?  Sound good?

Well, believe it or not, these things can all be yours.  Just one little catch: you have to leave the country.  Yes, the governments of other fine nations, both existing and defunct, have provided in their constitutions for all of the above, including healthcare.  Regarding the healthcare “right,” here is just a brief sampling: 

Article 42.  Citizens … have the right to health protection.This right is ensured by free, qualified medical care provided by state health institutions; by extension of the network of therapeutic and health-building institutions; by the development and improvement of safety and hygiene in industry; by carrying out broad prophylactic measures; by measures to improve the environment; by special care for the health of the rising generation, including prohibition of child labor, excluding the work done by children as part of the school curriculum; and by developing research to prevent and reduce the incidence of disease and ensure citizens a long and active life.

This comes from the U.S.S.R.’s Constitution of Fundamental Rights, as amended in 1977.

Here is the right to healthcare from the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China (as adopted in 1982): 

Article 45. Citizens of the People’s Republic of China have the right to material assistance from the state and society when they are old, ill or disabled. The state develops the social insurance, social relief and medical and health services that are required to enable citizens to enjoy this right. The state and society ensure the livelihood of disabled members of the armed forces, provide pensions to the families of martyrs and give preferential treatment to the families of military personnel. The state and society help make arrangements for the work, livelihood and education of the blind, deaf-mute and other handicapped citizens

And to satisfy the Michael Moore crowd, the Cuban Constitution (as amended in 2002) also gives everyone the right to healthcare:

Article 50: Everyone has the right to health protection and care. The state guarantees this right; by providing free medical and hospital care by means of the installations of the rural medical service network, polyclinics, hospitals, preventative and specialized treatment centers; by providing free dental care; by promoting the health publicity campaigns, health education, regular medical examinations, general vaccinations and other measures to prevent the outbreak of disease. All the population cooperates in these activities and plans through the social and mass organizations.

Finally, there’s this one:

… Healthcare is a basic right … to be provided through a not-for-profit plan.  We … include coverage for those excluded… We … free the states. We … have control over private insurance companies and the cost their very existence imposes on [our] families.  We … provide a significant place for alternative and complementary medicine, religious health science practice, and the personal responsibility aspects of health care which include diet, nutrition, and exercise.

Actually, those are the words of Congressman Dennis Kucinich in a speech he gave just last Wednesday regarding his plans to vote on the upcoming bill for government managed healthcare in this country.  Sound familiar?

 

 

 

III. America the Exceptional

I often get this from liberals: “Most of the industrialized world thinks that healthcare is a human right, why not the United States?” Well most of the world, industrialized or not, thinks a lot of things that are decidedly un-American, including the government’s power to bestow healthcare (and other things) as a right.  One has to ask, how did America get to be America?  By becoming like the rest of the world?  By giving things away for free? Heck no!  What makes us still today the shining beacon to the rest of the world is that we are different from the rest of the world.  We are exceptional.  And what allows us to be exceptional is the recognition that our rights and liberties are intrinsic to the individual and not derived from government.  Where over the course of human history through to this day, governments of other nations have handed down rights to the peoples they’ve governed and have, in the name of those very rights, meddled, restrained and enslaved, in America the individual rights and liberties of our people have freed us to create, innovate, invest, build, grow and pursue success and happiness in every conceivable way, including giving it all away if that is an individual’s choice.

So really the question is not so much whether healthcare is or is not a right, because in America it is not.  Rather the question is what kind of country we want to be. 

For more on the healthcare debate, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/18/fortune-favors-the-brave/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-arrogance-of-hope-change-%e2%80%a6-or-else/

Fortune Favors the Brave

March 18, 2010

There is a phrase in Latin that the ancient Romans were fond of saying: Aduentes Fortuna Juvat.  Roughly translated, it means “fortune favors the brave.” 

Earlier this week, as a part of his final push for universal healthcare and the fundamental transformation of American culture and society, President Barrack Obama staged a rally in Ohio attended by scores of his hardcore supporters and, notably, Congressman Dennis Kucinich.  Obama concluded his speech by saying, “We need courage, that’s what we need…  I want some courage!”  He then jetted back to Washington, D.C.  The next day, Congressman Kucinich, who had been treated by the President to a ride on Air Force One, announced he was changing his “No” vote on healthcare to “Yes.”  In a speech Kucinich declared, among other things, that healthcare is a “basic right.”  Time will tell whether or not fortune smiles upon Mr. Kucinich.

Well, with all this talk by politicians about being courageous, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment to look at an American leader with real courage: George Washington.  Now, I am quite sure most of us all know at least a few generalities about the following story from our high school history.  Unless of course you are a student in high school today, in which case you are busy learning about much more important things like: The Influence of Hip-Hop on American Culture; The Proper Way to Use a Condom; and Why You Don’t Need a Daddy to Have a Family.  But be that as it may, here goes…

It was winter of the year 1776.  The new American nation had declared its independence from Great Britain the previous July and all-out war with the British was underway.  The American Continental Army, led by General George Washington, had been beaten and chased out of New York by the British forces and was in a desperate retreat.  British General Lord Cornwallis had pursued Washington’s diminishing army through New Jersey, until the Americans withdrew across the Delaware River and took refuge in Pennsylvania in early December.  Although General Washington’s skillful retreat had prevented the British from completely crushing the dwindling American force, the outlook for the Continental Army, and American prospects for winning the war, was very bleak indeed. 

George Washington had fewer than 5,000 men in his army, whose morale was now at its lowest.  The Congress, ever pessimistic, had turned tail from Philadelphia and fled to Baltimore.  There was no money left to finance the army.  Provisions were scarce and Washington’s men were starving and cold.  “These are the times that try men’s souls,” wrote Thomas Paine, who was actually with the army at the time.  Virtually everyone considered the American cause lost.  That is, everyone except George Washington.  At this dire hour, faced with these demoralizing circumstances, George Washington, a man of deep faith and courage, decided to go on the offensive.  He knew that, despite the forces arrayed against him, he had two things in his favor. First, the popular mood among the people against the British remained strong, and, second, he had the element of surprise on his side.  So rallying his men before dawn on December 26th, he secretly led them back across the Delaware River, over land to Trenton, New Jersey where a force of some one thousand Hessian troops (German mercenaries engaged by the British) were quartered. Washington and his men took the Hessians by complete surprise and, after a brief engagement, defeated the entire force with negligible losses to their own side.  So overconfident were the Hessians that they were caught sleeping off the effects of their Christmas revelry from the night before.  As the story goes, after the battle the Hessian Colonel was found dead with a dispatch letter in his coat pocket warning him of the American sneak attack.  The letter was unopened.

Aduentes Fortuna Juvat!

After this victory, the American war effort was galvanized, the Congress found renewed confidence in General Washington, and enlistments in the Continental Army increased dramatically.  Eventually, the British were forced to retreat to their base in New York City.  Many consider this battle to be the turning point in the American Revolutionary War.  In later years, George Washington himself became convinced that America was guided by Divine Providence.  Fortune favors the brave.

In this the current battle over universal healthcare, we all of us are called once more unto the breach to defend what George Washington and his brave men risked so much to obtain.  On one side are the Republicans in Congress, some Democrats, and the vast majority of the American people whose mood against the proposed legislation remains strong.  On the other side are Mr. Obama and most Congressional Democrats.  In this process, we have seen secret deals made and Senators bribed, all manner of legislative chicanery used, deception and outright lies told by politicians at the highest levels, and a President who on the one hand expresses his ambivalence as to how his legislation is passed into law — as long as it is passed into law — while on the other hand talks about courage.  Courage?  Just what sort of courage do you mean Mr. President?

__________________________________

For more on the healthcare debate, link to:

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/20/why-you-don%e2%80%99t-have-a-right-to-healthcare/

https://culturecrusader.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/the-arrogance-of-hope-change-%e2%80%a6-or-else/

The Arrogance of Hope

March 4, 2010

He is the distinguished college professor seated at the head of his class.  Today’s subject: universal healthcare.  He calls on his students one by one.  Have they done their homework?  Have they completed the assignment to his satisfaction?  Did they come to class prepared with the answers that he wants to hear?  He calls on Johnny McCain who inappropriately raises the issue of unequal treatment of citizens under the proposed law.  The professor summarily scolds him, reminding him that the campaign is now over.  As an upperclassman, Johnny should know better than to revert to mere talking points!  Then there is little Eric Cantor who had the temerity to bring the 2700 page assignment with him to class.  He needs to be scolded too.  Ostentatious props like that are uncalled for and serve only to distract from the intellectual discussion.  Then there is naughty Paul Ryan who just didn’t have his facts right. The professor will need to speak with him after class.  Alas, it would appear that at least some of his students are very delinquent indeed!  But then there are his honor students: Joey Biden, Harry Reid, and of course teacher’s pet Nancy Pelosi.  They all followed the professor’s instructions implicitly and so get to go to the head of the class.  Well if there is nothing further, class dismissed!  Now the professor, with the able help of his honor students, can return to his treatise on universal healthcare and the reshaping of American culture and society.

The arrogance is nothing new; only it was on full display at last week’s healthcare summit.  Americans who had the weekday leisure hours (and infinite patience) to tune in saw in microcosm the raw conceit that is the defining quality of this administration’s approach, not just to the healthcare, but every policy debate.  Perhaps the campaign trail is where he first learned he could get away with it, and indeed he did.  Being derisive of conservatives and conservative ideas will always win you points with the broad-minded liberal media. 

But it is much more than that.  Arrogance towards opposing ideas and derision towards those who stand in opposition is really what Progressive Liberalism is all about.  “If you disagree with me, it is because you are stupid.” That is the basic mindset.  “And because you are stupid, I don’t need to listen to you, you need only do as I say.”  When his healthcare plan is rejected by two-thirds of the American public, it is not because it is a bad idea, but because the ignorant masses are just too dumb to understand it.  So he will try to explain it in simpler terms so that they can understand it.  And if they still don’t get it, then tough sh*t!  Elections have consequences. The last election was about “hope and change”, but did anyone stop to ask what that really means.  Now that the campaign is over (as we are constantly reminded) apparently hope and change really mean entitlement and transformation: the entitlement of the governing elite to transform the society of the governed.

... or else!

This is the nature of Progressivism and, historically, has been the political approach of Progressives in America since the beginning of the twentieth century.  The governed are not to be listened to, but instead instructed by the governing elite in matters of health, wealth and general welfare.  Only the governing Progressive elites, having superior education and understanding, are qualified to fathom the multifarious aspects of daily life in an increasingly complex society.  It is they, therefore, who are best suited to make decisions for the average American citizen, who will only screw things up for himself.  Only the Progressives are capable of brininging about much needed change through the implementation of a whole raft of government programs.  And yet, none of the programs of the Progressives are based on any grasp of reality, but rather on an imagined vision of the future.  It is a vision of how to change reality.  A vision of a society reshaped and reordered in their image.  And once power is gained, that hoped for vision becomes expectation.  And the nearer the goal of the vision’s realization, the more expectation grows into entitlement.  Healthcare for all is now something to which we are entitled.  Healthcare is now a right.  In an America where rights are still defined under the Constitution and are God-given, this line of thinking is nothing short of arrogance: the arrogance of hope.

But the approach of the Progressives is not without its consequences, at least as long as we still live in a Democratic Republic.  Last week, average Americans finally got a long look at their methods and, in that sense at least, the healthcare summit did some good.  Regardless of how things play out over the coming weeks and months, there is always the ballot box, where Americans as voters will at last be able to send arrogance back from whence it came: the world of academia, where it doesn’t matter much.

Inconvenient History

March 3, 2010

Over the past several weeks, I have grown increasingly impressed by the President’s determination, in the face of daunting public opposition, to press on with enacting his plan for government-run healthcare.  Notwithstanding a growing number of angry Americans who clearly do not want the national experiment that is this plan, this President appears resolute.  I am reminded of the words of a noted historian:

“Like many of the revolutionaries and conquerors of history, from Alexander to Napoleon to Stalin, he was a foreigner among his countrymen.  There is surely a psychological link between this sense of being an outsider and the readiness to employ a whole nation as material for wild and expansive projects, even to the point of destroying the nation.”

Excerpt from: Hitler by Joachim C. Fest.  (New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc., 1974), p.14.