The state giveth access, the state taketh access away!

A lot of people say that that politicians don't have principles, and it often seems that they don't. But as I pointed out earlier, there is one overarching principle that tends to dwarf all others to the point where it might delay or kill the full implementation of socialized medicine:

The only thing which might -- and I stress might -- hold them back is if they perceive such a ground swell of grassroots opposition that they actually fear losing their seats. (This did happen in 1994 after Hillarycare was attempted.)

So on the one hand, Obamacare can be seen as a done deal simply because the votes are there for it and the Democrats in principle favor it. But there is one principle that politicians place above and beyond all principles -- the principle of staying in power.

Leftist ideologues know this, but instead of admitting the reality, they scold their fellow Democrats and call them names ("Blue Dog Democrats" being one of the kinder ones). In the case of Harold Meyerson, they scold the "wealthy" and pull out the old "blame the Internet" routine:
Time was when Democratic Congresses enacted Social Security and Medicare over the opposition of powerful interests and Republican ideologues. In fact, our government used to actually pave roads, build bridges and allow for secure retirements by levying taxes on those who could afford to pay them.

To today's centrist Democrats, this has become a distant memory, a history lesson they cannot grasp. The notion that actual individuals might have to pay to secure the national interest appalls them. In the House, the Blue Dogs doggedly oppose proposals to fund universal coverage by taxing the wealthiest 1 percent of the nation's households. Their deference to wealth -- whether the consequence of our system of funding elections or a byproduct of the Internet generation's experience of free access to information and entertainment -- is not to be trifled with.

So, it's not the fear of not being reelected; it's deference to wealth -- fueled by "free access" to information of the sort Meyerson does not approve.

"Access" is one of the sneakiest words in the English political lexicon, and it is a barometer of bullshit because it can mean anything at all. In this case, the ability to share information of which Harold Meyerson does not approve, or opinions with which he does not agree. Whether he minds me having "access" to his opinion I don't know, but he seems to forget that it's a two way street, because so far the government hasn't figured out a way to place ideology filters on opinions it does not like.

Nowhere in his piece does Meyerson address the very fear of what might happen to the Blue Dogs in the next congressional election if this nightmare legislation is passed and the reality of socialized medicine has had time to sink in. Instead, he characterized their opposition as "incoherent."

As someone who pays a substantial amount of money to get what I need out of the Internet, I truly loved and savored his use of the weasel word "access," though. It just epitomizes what is wrong with the left.

In a great post yesterday, Ace explains why that very word has led to so much trouble for socialized medicine:

Here's something I didn't know, from Kaus: It turns out that "access" to health care polls badly. I always imagined the opposite, that people were just wild about socialism in this area.

Not so. They know when we talk about "access" we're talking about raiding their wallets (and rationing their care) to cover someone else, so they don't like it.
That's apparently why Obama has apparently chosen to sell this abortion in terms of "reducing costs" and "bending the curve."

The problem with that is that he's actually attempting to reduce costs so he can increase access. So it's not about reducing costs per se -- it's about reducing costs and rationing enough that he can expand access to more non-paying people.

And that might be why this isn't working. Because, while he may talk about one more salable notion, people are getting word that in the actual details of the plan it's not about reducing costs, i.e., giving them the same or superior service for less money. It's about giving them inferior service so that more people can have that same level of inferior service.

In other words, when they say "access," they don't mean having hospitals nearby or doctors and clinics listed in the phone book. They mean forcing some people to pay so that other people don't have to.

It's like Internet "access" for "the poor." It not the same as the access Meyerson condemns the "wealthy" for having too much of. In the case of the poor, "Internet access" means making other people pay for Internet services, and creating a new tax to do just that.

Of course, when leftists talk about "access" to firearms, then the word takes on an entirely different meaning. Criminals, they say, should not have "access" to guns. Even though stringent laws everywhere make it a crime for them to possess firearms, what they mean by "access" is that criminals might break the laws and get guns anyway. So in this context, "access" means the mere fact that there are guns in houses and stores owned by law abiding people, and when liberals say that criminals should be denied "access," they mean that you should be denied access, by being disarmed.

I think people are a little tired of such deceptive games, and I'm glad they've caught on to the latest attempt to hoodwink them with another lecture about "access." Ace is right that in this case "access" means, simply, raiding their wallets (and rationing their care) to cover someone else.

The lesson here is, be careful of the word access. When leftists talk about access to health care, they mean they should have full access to your money. When they talk about access to guns, they mean you should not have access to guns.

"Access" is a word often syruped out in a placating manner to disguise the authoritarian statist impulse to control people, and to take away money and freedom. Ordinary people sometimes have a tendency to go along with it, but once it comes down to the realization that they're going to lose something, they wake up. I had a liberal friend who supported gun control (to cut off "access to criminals" naturally) until it suddenly occurred to her that not having access to handguns might mean that she could not buy a handgun, which in her view went too far. "Access to health care" sounds very nice and soothing, until people realize it means they'll have to pay for other people's access -- while losing the access they once had. When people learned that it would become a criminal offense to pay for "unapproved" medical care, that doomed Hillarycare.

It's not your access to your stuff that they want; it's their access to your stuff.

posted by Eric on 07.22.09 at 09:40 AM










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