The editors at National Review put out a defiant challenge to Democrats today, telling them that passing ObamaCare is just the beginning.
Are they right? Or just blowing smoke at the Democrats?
For now, they are just blowing smoke. Just like the Democrats who are saying that it's a done deal and ObamaCare will pass and the people like it, they really like it.
I've written that ObamaCare is a shame and it will hurt the American people. So I think that the best thing is for ObamaCare to lose and never get into the statute books.
But the partisan in me thanks the Democratss every day for provoking what may the the Clausewitzian "decisive battle" on the welfare state.
Although we have seen major advances in the power of the welfare state in the 1930s and the 1960s when Democrats had big majorities in Congress, the fact is that it has also advanced year by year with micro-advances that have been difficult to oppose. One more government program for education, or for child health care or for green jobs doesn't seem like much, and it is hard to say: No.
It's like seducing a woman. If you gently, kindly work on her, a baby step at a time, you will eventually succeed. Because almost all women believe in love, and cannot resist the idea that someone loves them. The only happiness in life, wrote Georges Sand the French woman writer, is to love and be loved.
But the Obama Democrats have rejected the arts of seduction for the peremptory command to lie back and think of England. And that sort of treatment women resent.
So there's a good chance that the ObamaCare campaign could result in a great reverse for the welfare state, as the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk marked the turn of the tide for Nazi expansion.
It could prove a high-water mark for the administrative Bismarkian state.
We conservatives believe that social programs should be truly social. They should not be bureaucratic programs backed up by government force. They should be part of a great organic whole of give and take, sharing and caring, giving and receiving, of humans as social animals. The US was well on the way to implementing such a system in the late 19th century. But then came the Progressives (grandfathers of our liberals) and their faith in the administrative state. They smashed the growing array of sociable associations in which people obtained safety, security, and fellow feeling, and replaced them with uncaring government programs.
So a monumental failure by ObamaCare, either by withdrawal of the current package or by repeal in a year or two, would open the public square to alternatives.
And then we could all start over, and get to work on a system of social arrangements that was truly social, truly just, and truly worthy of the United States of America.