Friday, October 30, 2009

ObamaCare and the War over the Welfare State

For Republicans and conservatives ObamaCare is like a Halloween nightmare.

Everything we hate about liberalism is contained in the 1,000 page monstrosities being dragged through the Congress by its liberal leaders: more taxes, more bureaucracy, more mandates, more price controls, more compulsion.

How can the Democrats be proposing this madness? Surely they can't believe that the monstrous Pelosi bill, a 1,990 page behemoth, will solve anything? Pessimists like Mark Steyn say that government health care is a path of no return. Once people get "free" health care you can never get them to live like free men and women: paying for what they get.

Steyn may be right. But it seems to me that there is no avoiding the climactic battle to decide the war. I am not necessarily talking about the Clausewitzian decisive battle. That notion is tied up with the Prussian need, as a small nation, to beat its enemies swiftly before a conflict turns into a war of attrition.

What we are seeing, in this desperate Democratic gamble, is more like the Ludendorff offensives in early 1918. The Germans threw everything they had against the British in Picardy and more or less destroyed the British Fifth Army. Then they turned south and drove the French back toward Rheims. But the offensives petered out; the breakthrough didn't occur, and the Allied defense held. After that, the German retreated, step by step, until the Armistice in November.

We are in a similar situation. The Democrats are making one last desperate gamble to impose their administrative, compulsory, universal welfare state on the United States. It is the last moment that anyone can pretend that the bureaucratic method can deliver social services, or indeed anything except a police force or an armed service.

There is no way that we can avoid this climactic moment, the high water mark at the end of a vast tide of the welfare state. We must fight against it, bravely and truthfully as the Loyal Opposition. We must have faith that, one fine day, the American people will turn from the meaningless and degrading world of the welfare state, which makes adults into adult teenagers.

The last time that the Democrats tried this the American people upchucked and we got the election of 1994. If anything, the opposition to the Democratic agenda seems to be forming faster and more effectively than in the Year of the Angry White Male.

There is a simple way of understanding what conservatism is all about. You can call it the Affirmation of Ordinary Life. If you take away the tasks and the challenges of ordinary life--work, marriage, children, family, and the many struggles and sacrifices that accompany it--then you strip life of its meaning.

Which may explain why studies show that liberals are less happy, less generous, and less honest than conservatives.


  1. "If you take away the tasks and the challenges of ordinary life--work, marriage, children, family, and the many struggles and sacrifices that accompany it--then you strip life of its meaning."

    I am an Englishman and obviously we have the NHS. I feel it has its positives and negatives, but can you explain this idea of public healthcare making people into "adult teenagers" and being degrading? it's an argument I have heard before specifically from Americans and I 'don't get it'. You are correct that (at least here) it helps mitigate many peoples struggles and sacrifices (e.g. people are free from bankruptcy by the cost of illness, free to change jobs without penalty or worry as they are not tied into private plans, free from the burden of pre-existing conditions, and the rationing of their healthcare is decided by doctors instead of accountants etc.). I can't fathom how these are negatives or how they might lead to, well, degradation? How do do you expect them to effect work, marriage, children and so on?


  2. *I think that should be AFFECT...!