Either ObamaCare will pass in some form, or Congress will buckle and pass a face-saver. Either way, the question is: What happens next?
People who are adamant about killing ObamaCare at once fear that once the new subsidies and special-interest deals have been enacted into law we will never get back to the status quo ante. On this view we must defeat it now or water it down to a minor new subsidy for the uninsured.
Then there's the Leninist argument: the worse the better. On this view we need a political cataclysm in order to reverse the century-long trend of the welfare state. What better than for the Democrats to pass an unpopular government health takeover in the teeth of grass-roots opposition that gets stuck in the gullet of the American people?
I admit that my preference is for ObamaCare to pass and for the American people to rise up and send a president and Congress to Washington in 2013 to repeal it. I don't think that we can avoid this kind of confrontation if we are ever to reverse the welfare state and chart a new course based on the principle articulated by British Conservative Party leader David Cameron.
Cameron said: There is such a thing as society. It's just not the same thing as the state.
This articulates the essential conservative position. If you want to do societal things, like help women and children, you don't have to do it with a government adminstrative program. There is another way. In fact it is better not to get the government involved.
Why? Why shouldn't we have government programs where we come together to do things collectively? Well, the simple answer is: Force. Whenever government does something, it does it with force. Do we want health care to be a question of force, where we force some people to provide health care for other people? Do we want education to be a question of force. where children are forced to go to school for twelve years according to a syllabus that has been determined by political chicanery?
Conservatives say that there has to be a better way than force. In fact, there is. And if you want to know what it looks like, look around you at the amazing things that get done without government compulsion.