Thursday, August 27, 2009

Mope And Rage

Interesting essay by author and historian Victor Davis Hanson in NRO about Pres. Obama and his program.


Whether more or fewer Americans would get better or worse access and cheaper or more expensive care, or whether the government can or cannot afford such new entitlements, oddly seemed largely secondary to the crux of the debate.

Instead, the notion that the state will assume control, in Canada-like fashion, and level the health-care playing field was the real concern. “They” (the few) will now have the same care as “we” (the many). Whether the result is worse or better for everyone involved is extraneous, since sameness is the overarching principle.

We can discern this same mandated egalitarianism beneath many of the administration’s recent policy initiatives. Obama is not a pragmatist, as he insisted, nor even a liberal, as charged.

Rather, he is a statist. The president believes that a select group of affluent, highly educated technocrats — cosmopolitan, noble-minded, and properly progressive — supported by a phalanx of whiz-kids fresh out of blue-chip universities with little or no experience in the marketplace, can direct our lives far better than we can ourselves. By “better” I do not mean in a fashion that, measured by disinterested criteria, makes us necessarily wealthier, happier, more productive, or freer.

Instead, “better” means “fairer,” or more “equal.” We may “make” different amounts of money, but we will end up with more or less similar net incomes. We may know friendly doctors, be aware of the latest procedures, and have the capital to buy blue-chip health insurance, but no matter. Now we will all alike queue up with our government-issued insurance cards to wait our turn at the ubiquitous corner clinic.
The sentence in italics sums it up nicely, for me.

Hanson is the author of Carnage And Culture, in which he argues, persuasively, that soldiers of democracies will always have an important advantage over their totalitarian opponents. Namely, each soldier is fighting for his own freedom; he has a personal stake in the outcome. Soldiers of dictatorships of the left or right could give a good goddam who wins or loses because at the end of the day they'll still get their government-issued piece of hard bread and cup of gruel.

h/t Michael Bane.

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