No, we are not doomed!

Now that the best health care system known to man seems officially doomed, it is not surprising that some people on the right are succumbing to doom and gloom thinking. (I don't want to point fingers, because the point is not who is saying it, so much as whether the argument has merit.)

Being a libertarianish sort, I cannot but sympathize with the doom-and-gloom crowd in a certain sense, because in many ways this does look like, if not the Final Triumph, at least a major victory for the forces of socialism.

Or perhaps I should avoid the S-word and say "the forces of big government." The thing is, if you are my age (55) and you are a libertarian, it's a bit tough not to be cynical, and cynicism does have a nasty way of coming across as doom and gloom.

So whatever you want to call this, this phenomenon of big government and the opposition to it, as I see it, there is no way for me to deny a stark, naked reality.

I was born in 1954, and ever since my brain began laying down memories of what was going on, I have watched the relentless, steady, constant growth of Big Government -- regardless of which party was in power.

Yet in all that time, this country has never had an honest debate over socialism. The word has been avoided for decades, but now that it is upon us, there is no avoiding it.

We need to have this debate. Badly. It's so long overdue that I could scream.

My sincere hope is that the passage of Obamacare will bring it on.

This is not doom and gloom. Far from it. I welcome the debate, and I think it will be clarifying. Perhaps there will be a genuine fight over whether America wants want to go the socialist route, instead of phony and pointless haggling over diversionary peripheral issues (like whether abortion should be socialized right now or temporarily privatized).

Far from being the end, in many ways I see this as a beginning.

MORE: Already there is talk of civil disobedience. That's hardly doom and gloom. In fact, it's a sign of progress.

AND MORE: For your reading list.


UPDATE: My thanks to SayUncle for linking this post!

posted by Eric on 03.22.10 at 11:44 AM


Government controlled health care is not about health care for the people but about government control of both health care and health care providers.
Countries, Canada and Europe seem to function reasonably well with a national heath care program.
The populations tend to get used to waiting, and accept the care provided, the fact that life expectancy is slowly rising is
good evidence that health care in both Canada and Europe is adequate.
Cost control of health care in Canada and Europe is also out of control rising at over 3 times GDP rise.
USA and Obama should not expect to be able to control costs when Cadillac health care for all is an entitlement.

Hugh   ·  March 22, 2010 12:13 PM

"The thing is, if you are my age (55) and you are a libertarian, it's a bit tough not to be cynical, and cynicism does have a nasty way of coming across as doom and gloom."

I wouldn't mind being less cynical if politicians didn't keep making it manifest that they're acting primarily out of selfishness.

Sean Kinsell   ·  March 22, 2010 1:59 PM

With half the population paying no income taxes and with more and more people receiving government payouts, I am afraid that the outcome of the "Socialism Debate" will be a resounding "Yes, Please!"

My greatest concern with Obamacare will be the negative effect on medical innovation. Without a profit motive, will new drugs and devices be developed?

SteveBrooklineMA   ·  March 22, 2010 2:11 PM

"Rogue!" The spelling is r-o-g-u-e! "Rouge" is makeup. (Which, while also arguable, is more of a stretch.) I hate to be the spelling nazi, but better to fix it now than have it seized on by the enemy.

Dave R.   ·  March 22, 2010 3:50 PM

You must be having an Emily Litella moment.
Rouge is the French word for red. The background color=Obama politics, no?

Frank   ·  March 22, 2010 5:35 PM

We might not have come to this if the Republican party had an organized plan. For instance a few Republicans had ideas (similiar to the ones proposed by John Mackey) that they couldn't seem to get out of committee. But those seemed more like individuals; the party as a whole had no platform and no beliefs other than "no".

That also was against the people's wishes, because while we did not like this bill, we still wanted reform to address rising costs. But the Republicans couldn't get organized behind any reform to offer as an alternative, Michael Steele offered no leadership whatsoever and indeed he and most Republicans in office have no problem with a huge expansion of the government in principle.

So yes, if the people opposed to this don't get out and run, then the only "opposition" we'll have to vote for are Republicans, who aren't really opposition at all. And for this november it's probably too late, and in 2 years will people still be angry enough to vote out both parties?

plutosdad   ·  March 22, 2010 5:40 PM

Some will argue, like Andrew Sullivan, that the Republicans offered no alternative. This kind of thinking comes from a statist mindset that proffers it's the duty of government to make decisions best left to individuals.
So what would have happened if Republicans had actually tried to water down the socialist HCR proposals of the Democrats? Nothing.
What Republicans did propose was rejected out of hand. The ending of state insurance franchises, and any kind of tort reform to lower costs, were anathema to the bought and paid for Democrats who might as well be members of Trial Lawyers, Inc.

The only kind of plan the Republicans should have proposed was a 5 year plan to dismantle Medicaid, Medicare, No Child Left Behind, Prescription Drug giveaways, etc.

So now, if the Democratic Party has become the leftist Socialist Party it's tried to be for 70 years, isn't it time to stand up and force the American people to make a choice: either Socialism or Capitalism, either Statism or Freedom.

The way I see it, the Democratic Party is now the party of Karl Marx. The Republicans had better wake up this fact and stop acting like enablers.

Frank   ·  March 22, 2010 10:13 PM

Rouge or Rogue?

I assumed the reference was to Rouge which means Red in French. But I understand it implies "reddish" rather than a bright red.

KTWO   ·  March 22, 2010 10:39 PM

There's going to be a lot of talk in the liberal media to the effect that the HCR bill is not socialist, that having people buy insurance, thus keeping in place "private" insurance companies, is anything but socialistic. Technically this is true.
What they did was a defacto nationalization of the insurance industry, leaving in place the framework, but gutting it.
When the government dictates the content of insurance plans and the terms of coverage, it controls it.

This is more akin to fascism. I believe it's only the transitional phase leading to total control. But even if this is the final solution, (not a typo), it's still something Mussolini or Hitler would approve.
If memory is right, didn't Mussolini start out as a Socialist? Isn't fascism called National Socialism?

Obama's constant use of the word "folks" in almost every speech is so disturbing. All I hear is volks.

Frank   ·  March 22, 2010 11:08 PM

OK, French is not my forte. But I think that Norodom Sihanouk (the guy who put the word "Rouge" after the word "Khmer") was fluent in French, and meant red.

I mean, I know we have "Code Pink" and everything, but "Khmer Pink" just sounds wrong!

Eric Scheie   ·  March 23, 2010 12:38 PM

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